Wondering About Responsible Government-Shoots from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii – Feb. 18, 2005

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Sometimes one has to wonder, what does it take before the majority of the public, as well as those in government and the main-stream-media, will see the truth? The examples of the failure of government planning abound yet they keep going back to the same trough for solutions that are never forthcoming.

Government schools, especially in this state, are an abject failure, yet nobody wants to admit this truth. The roads are a wreck and even with changes in local administrations there appears to be no improvement in sight. Sewage spills are common every time we get more than a bit of rain, and this too shows no sign of improvement. Again, one wonders when the next round of fines, meaning the taxpayers, you and me, will be penalized to recompense the failure of our elected officials to deal with these problems.


The latest indication of such failure is the pitiful redemption rate of the bottle bill. As of this writing a mere fraction of the redeemable bottles and cans have been turned in. Instead of reporting this as the abject failure that it is, nearly every mainstream media outlet here in the islands has tried to put the best face on the dismal numbers. That the program is a poorly crafted law and an utter failure is just never considered.

This scenario is endlessly repeated. Government continually charges more and seeks more funds to administer the same programs and services that it previously has undertaken. When these funds prove to be insufficient to address the original problem, ways are found to increase the revenues. It is in this fashion that we now have a bus system that is subsidized to the tune of $140 million a year.

The shell game is endless. If a program is profitable, then shift the revenues to the general fund to pay for other programs. If it isn’t then raise taxes and fees to make it revenue neutral. No matter what, never lower taxes and fees. And, on top of that, continually create more programs that require more increases in taxes. Never mind the damage to the economy.

With all the mistakes the government makes you’d think people would learn not to trust it. Sure, there are those who live in denial, like those who don’t see the Social Security train-wreck coming, but this cannot be the majority. Then again, maybe it is, and this is a sad thought.

So before we hand government even more projects and programs to implement, like rail, shouldn’t we demand that it properly account for the ones it is already responsible for? Is this really too much to ask? In other words, before creating a rail line between the Leeward side of the island and downtown, why not make sure those in government can handle something as simple as the bottle bill first. If they cannot handle the latter, what makes anyone think they can properly administer the former? When will the people ever learn?

”’Don Newman, senior policy analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Hawaii’s first and only free market public policy institute focused on individual freedom and liberty, can be reached at:”’ mailto:newmand001@hawaii.rr.com

”’This editorial is intended to provoke thought, discussion and an examination of issues. It does not reflect official policy of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. See the GRIH Web site at:”’ https://www.grassrootinstitute.org/

”’HawaiiReporter.com reports the real news, and prints all editorials submitted, even if they do not represent the viewpoint of the editors, as long as they are written clearly. Send editorials to”’ mailto:Malia@HawaiiReporter.com



Daily Policy Digest


Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005

Conservation of natural resources is better left to the private sector, according to a report published by the Reason Foundation.

Michael DeAlessi, Director of Natural Resources Policy, argues that federal oversight of environmental protection is ineffective for many reasons:

Federal regulations are more process-oriented than results-oriented; for example, the Endangered Species Act has recovered only 10 of 1,300 species over its 30-year life span.
Public ownership of land, such as National Parks, provides little incentive for individuals to care for it; indeed, one-third of American land is owned by the federal government, but much of it is deteriorating.
Special interest groups influence the policy-making process in order to create gains for themselves, often at the expense of other groups.
However, private initiatives make all groups better off. When property rights are well-defined, individuals are more likely to care for resources for a future return on their investment. For example:

Ducks Unlimited, a private organization founded by California sportsmen in 1937, works to restore and improve wetlands to ensure continued populations of waterfowl for future hunting.
The Louisiana chapter of the Audubon Society earned almost one million dollars in the early 1980s by allowing oil and gas development on Rainey Sanctuary, a 26,000 acre nature preserve owned by society.
Private initiatives show that economic development and habitat preservation can peacefully co-exist, says DeAlessi.

Source: Michael DeAlessi,