• Democrats and the Economy: The New Slaves of Hawaii

    June 19, 2021

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Posted in: #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage


    We don’t have to ask what happens when Democrats mess with the economy. We have Hawaii, frozen in COVID fear, a wonderful laboratory with the “what” as clear as a petri dish full of bacteria. It stinks. A case study in Democrats and the Economy.


    Hawaii exists in distinct state-lets, enclaves, socio-economic islets, maybe microbiomes. The Hawaii most people know is of course beautiful Waikiki, a place that if the darn Russians had not coined the term Potemkin Village would have taken the name for itself. Waikiki is fake, joyously fake, a kind of mellow version of the Vegas swindle, as if Ikea was the designer instead of 1950s mobsters. It exists only to separate tourists from their money. The beach is indeed gorgeous (but man-made, even that is fake) the ocean delightful, and prices are kept reasonable enough that it is accessible to a large number of people, as opposed to say Tahiti or Aruba. And for the most part the only locals a visitor will encounter are there to serve them. Back to Waikiki in a moment.


    A small but very important sector behind the facade of Waikiki are the wealthy, people whose two bedroom apartments near Honolulu are in the millions and whose stand alone homes on the Windward shore are in the multimillions. They live on the beaches tourists don’t visit, just barely maintaining the illusion of government-mandated public access to that soft white sand via thong-wide hidden paths between their walled compounds. The Obamas bought such a place, though many of the other super wealthy are from Asia. A careful look at names on tax records allows one to map the various Asian bubbles and recessions, with clusters of Japanese there, Chinese here, Koreans nearby, etc.
    These people have nothing to do with the rest of the Hawaiian ecology except one crucial role: they are the apex taxpayers who fund the extensive social welfare system semi-taking care of much of the rest of Hawaii. Benefits packages in Democrat-ruled Hawaii are the highest in the nation, an average of $49,175, and untaxed. For the last nine years Hawaii spent more on public welfare benefits, about 20 percent of the state budget, then it did on education. More than one out 10 people in Hawaii get food stamps, plus free lunches at school and for the elderly. Hawaii already vies with California for the nation’s highest state income tax.

    The other sources of revenue are Federal defense spending (not part of this safari) and tourism. I told you we’d get back to Waikiki soon. Visitors to the paradise of Oahu may or may not notice all those decaying apartments outside their Uber’s window between the airport and Waikiki, the tent villages on the remote beaches or along the surface roads. Few tourists get off the highway and explore, and few diverge from the round-the-island one day rental car pilgrimage to poke deep inland. It’s OK, tourists are not supposed to, and in fact are really not too welcome in many spots. This is where the bulk of Hawaiians live in a cross between what resembles rural West Virginia in per capita rusted cars and one of the nicer third world countries like Jamaica, deep in poverty but gaily painted.

    Hawaii is nearly always one of the top states in terms of homelessness, poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and diabetes. The people behind those statistics live in a relationship with the ultra-rich that is mostly like those little fish that swim inside a shark’s gills. Unseen and unminded, somewhere between symbiotic and parasitic, depending on your politics. It is precisely such relationships which define the Third World.


    The thing is in many ways this eco-econosystem sort of worked pre-COVID. Because it lacks the racial tensions that burden places like New York (whites are a minority in Hawaii at 25 percent, blacks only two percent) crime is almost all intramural, people victimizing each other inside their own neighborhoods. Think of Hawaii’s poor more as herbivores who occasionally fuss over territory when really necessary and New York’s as carnivores always looking for a fresh killing grounds just because. Drugs are a horrible problem off the beaten path, but in the eyes of the rich, not really a problem as the drugs stay “over there.” Until recently when Mexican imports began arriving like invasive junk fish in a cargo hold, even Hawaii’s favorite drugs — weed and meth — were even a local product.
    COVID upset the finely-balanced system. Suddenly fear gave government the chance to run fully amuck, with nothing to limit even the stupidest ideas. Everything was done by emergency decree, no debates, no votes, no process.
    Step One was a decision to slam the door hard on Hawaii’s second largest industry, tourism, once accounting for 24 percent of the economy, and throw tens of thousands of people out of work, crippling the businesses down the food chain from them where they spent their money at the same time. Did those workers come from the Gold Coast, the multi-million dollar homes of Kahala or the always voted one of the world’s best beaches areas near Kailua? Of course not. The working poor lost their jobs. But Hawaii already had in place a robust unemployment insurance system, whose benefits were made fatter by Federal supplement money. None of these workers missed the benefits from their old job as they never had any benefits in the first place.
    Fast forward 16 months of COVID and now the Hawaiian government would like some tourists to please come back and leave money. The government would also like workers to return to their Waikiki jobs to dance hula, serve drinks, and rub suntan lotion on all those white fish-bellied visitors. The old workers are mostly saying no, and the media is awash with articles about how the jobs are unfillable and woe is us if the tourists cannot be served. Lacking capitalism’s favorite cheap labor solution, massive numbers of usable illegal aliens, the jobs are so soulless and pay so little the only way to fill them is to force people by cutting unemployment benefits and no politician in Democratic-controlled Hawaii seems ready for that.

    Those “unfillable” jobs pay about $10-12 an hour, and so the employer can stay exempt from paying into Obamacare, limit workers to under 20 hours a week. That’s $240 a week, before it being fully taxed and with social security deducted, plus the costs of going to work, such as transportation, chipping away at the edges.

    Because the Hawaiian government still restrains trade by holding bars and restaurants to limited capacity and opening hours, any job working for tips is artificially capped. As the Hawaiian government is the only U.S. state left which still requires COVID tests for entry (that program alone has cost the state over $60 million in direct costs, even as travelers are saddled with paying $120 or more per test) and is among the dwindling few that still requires full masking, many tourists stay home. Arrivals are down some 50-75 percent overall, with the once-lucrative Asian trade hovering at zero. Everytime a plane lands some media flunky headlines “Tourism is back!” but they’ll be saying it for a long time. Think cargo cult.
    The way 25 other state governments found to force people to work for low wages is to do away with the Federal supplement portion of unemployment, so people can choose between about $130 a week unemployment or $240 a week working. Hawaii, as committed to its social welfare state as any college political science sophomore is committed to his vision of socialist utopia, has no plans to drop the Federal unemployment money. While everyone thinks on what’s next, the economy is dependent on unsustainable Federal  funding, such as a bailout of $196 million in “Biden Bucks” via the American Rescue Plan Act. Another “solution” to the lack of willing workers is for the government to restrict tourism, and/or charge tourists higher fees to visit popular sites because no one can imagine that would send holidaymakers to Disneyland instead.
    Meanwhile, Hawaii has long had a brain and brawn drain problem, with both tradespeople and college graduates moving out to the mainland U.S. COVID restrictions have only made this worse as the state clings to its masks like it is still 2020. Running underneath it all like a bass line are some of the highest gas prices in a long time and accelerating inflation, the latter another example of what happens when Democrats muddle in the economy.
    At some point the Hawaiian government is going to have to decide if it will loosen COVID restrictions to flood in more tourists, and/or give out less unemployment money (because ain’t nobody got time to raise wages) if it want to return to a running economy. Or maybe Biden will do it for them, as he plans to end the Federal supplement everywhere in September to mark our second lost summer. If not, thanks to government intervention all along the system, the media will be running labor shortage articles until someone on the Ron Burgundy Action News team figures out $400 in unemployment money is a bigger number than $240 cleaning toilets.


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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Following your migration pattern, looking for a better life, is Korea on your list? And you did know all these things about Hawaii BEFORE you moved, right?

      06/19/21 12:11 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Bauer- it would indeed be somewhat inexplicable if PVB has indeed moved to the Hawaiian Islands. He has defined the cluster of islands a classic liberal failed state. Will he refer to the new locale as just another APO? Bezo, Musk and Branson while away from their earthly home will need a new Acronym- SPO (space force post office)

      06/21/21 1:06 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Hawaii is just a stop over until I finish constructing my own spaceship.

      06/21/21 3:31 PM | Comment Link

    • Joe said...


      @PVB Now here’s an interesting thought experiment prompted by your various recent mentions of how defense spending is propping up Hawaii’s fragile economy: *What if* the Federal Government were controlled by a single party, which could decide to divert some defense spending into things like job creation or infrastructure development? Oops, wait, that’s currently the case isn’t it? But that party is super busy with more important matters, like investigating the riot/fascist coup attempt at the Capitol that almost toppled our great Democracy and creating new Federal Holidays. (Boy, we missed the boat on that last one, huh? Cha-ching!)

      And anyway, cutting defense spending in Hawaii and elsewhere might leave our great Democracy open to another Pearl Harbor, right? Oops, wait, referencing December 7th, 1941 might be misconstrued as #AsianHate, so best not go there. Which means insinuating the Chinese could be a threat is out too, plus they’re still busy looking for that first bat that naturally evolved a strain of COVID lethal to humans. So how about we go with: the current Administration needs to keep Pearl strong so the *Russians* stay out of Hawaii? I mean, those wily Reds are simply everywhere – Rachel Maddow said so! So it just can’t be done; wow, what a fun thought experiment.

      So with that all sorted out, here’s an even better question – is pineapple on pizza considered normal in Hawaii? Maybe the MSM will devote some time to that puzzler, along with other important stuff like the passing of the President’s dog. RIP Champ!

      06/21/21 3:30 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Peter is playing the long game. If the world economy is crushed, Hawaii ain’t too bad a place to be homeless. Teach a man to fish…

      06/21/21 7:50 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      We are thankful for Joe (Stalin) WMW comments, as they save US having to read RT for the current Russian prop talking points. Keep up the comments, Joe. And give Putin a big kiss from all of US. Trump misses his Putin it in.

      06/22/21 7:10 AM | Comment Link

    • Joe (Biden) said...


      @Rich Bauer – Great job as always Rich, the Party and I are proud of you. Just remember to stick to the narrative no matter what, and to also keep taking your meds – I know I do! A mind is a terrible thing, especially when you’re wasted! And I should know right, thanks to my damned son Hunter. But no questions about him and Ukraine or China, and especially me, got it? That’s just crazy conspiracy talk. Try to keep the focus on Trump, even though he’s been out of office for months now – the mid-terms are just around the corner and there’s only so much I’m allowed to do, even with the House and Senate on my side. Alright, I have to go do … something or another now, maybe approve another new Federal holiday. Keep up the great work Roger, the Party needs guys just like you; you’ve helped get our great Democracy to where it is today!

      06/22/21 10:52 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Joe (STALIN),

      At least you are now honest to admit King- for -life Putin pays you to come here regularly. Me? I have to pay exorbitant internet fees to comment here. Peter at least gets to deduct it from his taxes.

      You and your fellow Russian trolls would have more standing if you admitted you work for King razPutin. Hell, the Repugs have a more favorable rating of Putin than any democrat. So be proud, take ownership, and not like the “patriot” Capitol rioters who wont admit what they did.

      PS: the Hunter laptop conspiracy is so cheugy.

      06/23/21 8:19 AM | Comment Link

    • Joe (Goebbels) said...


      @Rich Bauer – Herr Bauer: I am writing to commend you on the work you’ve done in your current mission (vis. discouraging, commandeering or preventing any sort of meaningful discussion in the comments section of the little “blog” you’ve been assigned to disrupt.) Your recent work in response to the mere *mention* of Herr Biden’s wayward son is particularly noteworthy, since it was a wunderbar example of a concept conceived by the Fuhrer that I (humbly) was able to weaponize – the “big lie.” Meaning that when complete censorship fails (as it usually does , unless you’re able to “classify” some inconvenient truth and prevent “whistleblowers” – though I know you’re trying!) the best course of action is to start loudly yelling “it didn’t happen!” or “it’s a conspiracy theory!” until the masses forget what is being talked about and/or think it’s not worth the time to find and examine the information you want to suppress. (Such as your target blog’s coverage of the, shall we say *awkward*, actual contents of a certain lost laptop.)

      Having offered you these sincere words of praise, I’m sadly unable to recommend you for some sort of commendation because your efforts have been somewhat shoddy of late, reminding me of mein Fuhrer in 1945 instead of 1939. So in order to help you regain some, shall we say *coherence* in your work on behalf of *your* Party, I have convinced Herr Biden to begin using Party funds (of which there are no shortage, at least until the “mid-term” elections) to start paying for your medication. No need to thank me mein freund since we really are kindred spirits, despite some minor cosmetic differences in how we portray ourselves to the masses – all they need is a “strong guiding hand,” whether it comes from the right or the left! Guten tag Richard, and keep up your fine work on behalf of Authoritarianism in America.

      06/23/21 10:26 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Comrade Joe,

      If You and your fellow Russian trolls get paid by the word or just the number of websites you visit, razPutin aint getting his rubles worth. The Trump Cult doesn’t have the attention span to read more than a tweet, as you know Trump’s blog demise proved. So keep your thoughts down to a reasonable sentence or two.

      06/24/21 5:51 PM | Comment Link

    • Joe (Stalin) said...


      @Rich Bauer – Comrade Bauer: I am pleased to inform you I have recommended to Comrade Putin that you be made a Hero of the Russian Federation for your work on our behalf! Instead of forwarding the entire recommendation to you I will instead try to summarize it using small words, since I am told you have a limited attention span.

      As everyone knows the beloved Soviet Union which I created is no more, and Holy Mother Russia is now but a regional power. But by constantly working to make Russia seem like more of a threat to you than it now really is, you have helped us to accomplish two important goals:

      1. You have made Comrade Putin seem even stronger within Russia and around the world. As a former autocrat myself, I can assure you that being universally perceived as a “strong man” is absolutely crucial to retaining a grip on the masses – I was known as the “Man of Steel” for a reason!

      2. More importantly, your tireless work helps us to keep your country divided, confused and above all distracted from its real problems, which is absolutely *crucial* to our long term strategy; we are a patient people and can learn from our mistakes. In the 1980’s your “Cowboy President” helped bring about the USSR’s unfortunate demise largely by doing only as much as needed and allowing us to collapse from within – we are now of course hoping the same happens to you.

      Now if you were doing everything you do because you truly believe all you are saying, then you would be just another “useful idiot.” But since I know you are a true supporter of your Party, it is once again my pleasure to welcome you into the ranks of the Heroes of the Russian Federation. Dasvidanya tovarisch!

      06/25/21 9:30 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Time out! I’ve appointed myself a referee to break up all this rancor. For a possible chuckle check out Triumph the Insult Dog’s appearance at the American Idol auditions in Hawaii a few years back. His comment to a Japanese fellow wading off Waikiki is devastatingly clever. We need more of Triumph’s type of endearing insults today.

      06/25/21 11:10 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Joe, JP, or Moscow Mitch,

      To suggest I support any political party is to ignore every comment I have made on WMW. Political parties everywhere are funded by special interests who want a return on their investment. The oligarchs in Russia don’t bother to hide their intention, just their money in Panama and elsewhere.

      And guys, remember to work on your brevity, soul of wit, you know. And give my regards to Putin. If he ever wants to sell the Trump peepee tape, I can find him a buyer.

      06/25/21 9:15 PM | Comment Link

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