People do best when their governments embrace economic freedom

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By Keli‘i Akina

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and the freedoms that all Americans enjoy are well worth celebrating.

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Of course, Hawaii tends not to be known for enjoying great amounts of economic freedom — at least not compared to most other states in the U.S. But it appears that finally we might be on the cusp of change.

This year especially, our freedoms were expanded with the passage by our state lawmakers of important legislation. Those expansions covered taxes, housing and healthcare — and I’m hoping that won’t be the end of it as we move forward.

The importance of freedom is that it is the key to both personal and economic fulfillment. Whether you want to be an artist, homebuilder, truck driver, farmer, doctor, professor, athlete, inventor or whatever, freedom is what allows you to follow your path.

The more freedom we have, the more we can be ourselves, whether as individuals or as members of our families and broader communities.

This is why I focus so much on trying to get our legislators and other policymakers to appreciate the wonders and benefits of freedom, whether it is about lowering our taxes, making it easier to build homes, or even loosening regulations on beekeeping, cottage foods or other small business activities throughout the islands.

It has been gratifying to see signs of change in Hawaii. Freedom is having a moment.

But that moment can easily slip away.

That is why I urge all of us to keep the momentum going. Together, we must encourage our lawmakers to continue adopting policies that will expand our freedoms.

As economic research has shown again and again, the people of states and nations do best when their governments embrace greater economic freedom — lower taxes and fewer regulations.

This Fourth of July, I hope that you will join me and raise a glass — or a hot dog or a sparkler — in celebration of greater freedom in Hawaii.
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Keli‘i Akina is president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

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Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market and accountable government. Through research papers, policy briefings, commentaries and conferences, the Institute seeks to educate and inform Hawaii's policy makers, news media and general public. Committed to its independence, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii neither seeks nor accepts government funding. The institute is a 501(c)(3) organization supported by all those who share a concern for Hawaii's future and an appreciation of the role of sound ideas and more informed choices.

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