Reform the system
Once again the Democratic Party has lost its challenge to Hawaii’s open primary system, which allows anyone to pull a Democratic ballot, regardless of party affiliation, and determine which Democratic candidate advances to the general election. Here’s a simple solution to the problem.
1. Get the state out of the primary election business. (Save the state some money.)
2. Let political parties vet their candidates in a private primary, if they so desire. (Guarantee: Republicans won’t vote for Democrats, and vice versa.)
3. Move all non-partisan elections, for example mayor and County Council, to the general election. Winner takes all. (After all, we are a republic, not a true democracy. You don’t need 50 percent of the vote to win an election.)
4. Put all candidates on the general election ballot who meet the present criteria for candidates. (Give people more choice at the polls and increase voter turnout.)
Of course, political parties don’t want to do anything that threatens their power — and therein lies the rub.
Time for an increase
I agree with Lynne Penek-Holden (Dec. 15, Your Views) that the minimum wage should be increased to at least $10 per hour, but for a different reason.
A worker earning a minimum wage should earn more than someone who is going through hard times and is on an “entitlement” (i.e., welfare), or else there is little incentive to work at all. Per the Economist, in our generous state of Hawaii, a person on welfare gets the equivalent of $45,000 a year!
This sum is the highest in the country and includes cash, food stamps, medical benefits, subsidized housing and payments for children, which in turn include food stamps and medical benefits for the keiki (the more children one has, the more lucrative it gets).
If you do the math, at present, a worker earning a minimum wage would earn $15,080 a year with a 40-hour work week. This is below the poverty level.
Generous entitlements create a cycle of amotivation and dependency that is self-perpetuating. Where is the incentive to re-enter the work force? Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich had worked out a compromise, “time-limiting” benefits. Unfortunately, our dysfunctional Congress and equally dysfunctional president have sought to keep extending the deadline.
I refer above to the able-bodied, and I do not include the elderly and the disabled in the argument. Society (and our humanity) behooves us to take full care of them.
I wholeheartedly support raising the minimum wage!