Monday, March 26, 2007

Solving the Transportation Problem in Hawaii (Really)

After spending all that money to make those sidewalks optimally useful, we have laws that prohibit their use to ensure that they are not maximally utilized -- which is making them available to all wheeled transporters -- particularly the bicyclists.

In most places where bicycling is very popular, bicyclists are considered “pedestrians on wheels” -- and not armed with a deadly weapon, as the city forefathers seems to regard them, and so enforce restrictive and oppressive rules for the “operation” of bicycles.

The mentality of most laws in Hawaii is to make every situation into a “turf war” -- and so the sidewalks, which, thanks to ADA rules, require sidewalks to be even better than the streets, have to be maintained in pristine condition by prohibiting their use on a massive scale -- which would be bicycling in the civilized fashion if it was simply deemed so.

Large numbers of people would bicycle in Hawaii if it was simply made safe to do so -- which is not requiring them to ride in traffic with cars and the worst maintained streets in the “developed” world -- even with clearly marked bike paths, but to have them use the sidewalks which are only occasionally used, which every rational bicyclist would readily agree to surrender the right of way to the infrequent pedestrian.

However, because some people feel that every encounter with another person is a ruthless competition for exclusive primacy, domination and turf, we don’t get very far, literally and figuratively -- because all our energies are consumed in these infantile arguments over who should own the turf for their exclusive use.

Hawaii would be the perfect place for these exercises of “Aloha” -- that are expressly forbidden by ordinance. Let’s all grow up, people -- and do the intelligent thing. We don’t need just more expensive toys.

5 Comments:

At March 29, 2007 9:07 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

It’s seems now that newspapers -- and particularly newspaper editorials, are the leading source of misinformation in our society these days -- with their surveys, polls, studies, politicians, lobbyists, anonymous sources giving weight to their outrageous, misleading claims.

Today’s editorial claims that the Earned Income Credit is the best way to provide tax relief to low income earners -- over simply raising the standard deduction and personal exemptions (as the Governor recommends) so they are more in line with the Federal tax return -- and therefore, the threshold would be $8,500 rather than $2,500 -- at a glance before having to even worry about filing a tax return, let alone, getting a refund.

What the Earned Income Credit requires poor working people to do, is to figure out what their earned income credit is first, in order to get that extra $6,000 break! Raising the standard deduction as well as personal exemptions so that there is a uniform figure to use in determining tax filing liability SOLVES a whole lot of problems and avoids a whole lot of complications -- of which people at the lowest end of the socioeconomic structure are most vulnerable to. Additionally, it would give that minimal tax relief across the board to every taxpayer -- rather than determine those first, who are most worthy -- but even across the board in this fashion, the lowest income earners would be the greater beneficiaries.

The reason the Earned Income Credit is claimed by so few -- is because you have to jump through the hoops, read and understand the tax code, go through all the extra work and anxiety to get it -- first! Ignorance and anxiety are tremendous costs on the poorest people in any society. At least spare them the burden of that extra work.

So don’t be misled by these smokescreens away from the simplicity of the process and facts. The editorials whine unceasingly about Hawaii’s infamous high cost of living -- which should make it obvious even to the most simple-minded, that the lowest threshold for tax obligations of any sort, should at least be the federal standard that they insist should have a cost of living premium built-in -- and not the reverse.

I wish I didn’t have to read the newspapers wondering what is the next scam being perpetrated by the ignorance or deception of those who should be the most discerrning and discriminating readers and writers in every community.

 
At March 29, 2007 9:32 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Further testimony:


I am writing in support of HB310 HD2 SD1 (Relating to Technology).

The next world war will be fought with information. Those not connected to virtual information (the Internet) will be completely unarmed. The greatest value a government can provide to their citizens, is the best access to information -- of everything else in the world. It is the essential task of government now -- to let its citizens know about all the great resources already existing in the world -- obviating the need to create more that is unknown and underultilized.

That kind of knowledge, rather than the old one that existed merely in every individuals' head -- unconnected to every other, is the new meaning of intelligence in the world. There is no substitute for having that best of the time connectivity.

The choice is obvious -- we either provide our citizens with this capacity -- that enables every other, or we muddle along fighting all the rearguard actions in the hopes that history will repeat itself, and because we never changed and adapted, are now first. Evolution and progress doesn't happen like that.


I am writing in support of HB338 HD2 SD1 (Relating to Economic Development).

Great societies are those with the confidence to bet on themselves -- and make things a reality by funding those ideas that have never been before. That's how reality comes into being.

Even at the University, the material returns are often negligible -- but value is created because people create it. That's why we have the great institutions of government that become so entrenched that they are nothing but a drain past their usefulness -- which we allow to shut out the really valuable, dynamic new. Realizing this, we should reserve a small percentage of our government pension funds to act as the great philanthropists that cause great ideas and innovation to happen -- because we choose to make it so.

One of the most crippling aspects of culture in Hawaii is the thinking that somebody else needs to pay for what we want and value -- rather than that we should be willing to fund it ourselves -- as the greatest recognition and achievement of what we are and choose to make valuable.

That's how great ideas become reality.

I am writing in support of HB1630 HD2 SD1 (Relating to Technology Workforce Development).

The problem of education is not that we need MORE education -- but we need a different kind of education, that doesn't just add to the burdens of being a student in the traditional way that thinks that accumulating knowledge is all that is necessary to be well-prepared for the challenges of these times.

In fact, the new mind of these times, is that which actually knows the least -- that can figure out the rest, when and only when it has to. That is the new meaning of a basic education (programming) not unlike how modern computers actually function. Computers far surpass humans in that old manner of information processing -- which was memory, storage and retrieval.

The powerful use of human intelligence and capacity, is processing real time information -- that has not been encountered before. We no longer need more memorization and retrieval capacity -- as the best use of human intelligence. We need minds trained to recognize and feel comfortable in encountering the new.

Only this education in encountering the new is valuable -- and the whole meaning and purpose of education as it was originally conceived. Merely learning the old as though that has meaning in itself -- is to have no understanding of anything truly worthwhile.

One would think that the first thing they'd do with the budget surplus, is to exempt the poorest people making less than $10,000 a year from having to buy 2-3 plate lunches a day for our legislators and all those government workers making twice the median income claiming they are the actual "poor" -- by raising the state standard deduction and personal exemptions, as the Governor recommends.

Then they should invest some of that money in private enterprises rather than more money for government fat cats demanding lifetime job security without ever having to produce anything.

I think people would get behind that.


I am writing in opposition to SB 948 (Proposing an amendment to the Hawaii Constitution to reduce the number of nominees for judicial vacancies).

Essentially what the legislature wants to do is tell the Governor she has one choice -- which is how Saddam always won 98% of the vote in their "Democratic" elections.

Despotism is a hard habit to break.

Instead of letting the people govern themselves, each despot claims to be more enlightened than every other.

Of course in this country, enlightened despots call themselves "liberals."

 
At March 29, 2007 3:51 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Most of us do not support the Governor because we’re partisan and/or Republican -- but for the reason that she usually has investigated and thought about these things so that the rest of us can feel confident of her judgment -- unless we know betterr otherwise.

One of the great problems of only having lawyers (or only professional information officers, for that matter) as the representatives of all the people in Hawaii, is that lawyers serve who ever pays them -- and thus are convinced and convincincing that the truth is whatever they can get the rest of us to believe.

There are undeniable truths.

 
At March 30, 2007 8:28 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The lead editorial in the “other” daily newspaper is a good example of why mainstream mass media is dying not only in Hawaii but pretty much all over the world. It’s not just that people are switching from reading hardcopy print to getting their “news” online -- but that these traditional sources, don’t really have a firm grasp of what they are reporting on -- and what the fundamental problem is. So the solution they provide, doesn’t solve the real problem, but only the problem they have created -- and wondering why there isn’t a stampede to award them the Pulitzer or Nobel prize.

So not infrequently, we spend a lot of money or increase the spending for already large expenditures in which the problems grow notably worse each year requiring even more expenditures, jobs, and new strategic plans.

In the following case, the writer seems to think that the problem is being able to multiply the Earned Income Credit by 20% of the Federal Earned Income Credit to derive at satisfactory tax relief for the overburdened tax payers of Hawaii.

They point out that only 14-25% of those filing Federal returns make that claim (the 14% being Hawaii’s rate). But before we even get there, why should Hawaii’s exempt income from even having to consider paying taxes be 30% of the Federal determination for that requirement? -- all the while whining louder each day about how much the cost of living is astronomically absurd for union workers making $100,000 a year. And why should somebody making less than negligible amounts have to buy their legislators 2-3 plate lunches a day?

It would seem obvious to every fair-minded person that Hawaii’s standard deduction and exemption before having to calculate their tax credit at the very end -- after filing a Federal tax return (assuming they have to), is the grossly tortuous , complicated, convoluted way to get out of doing any meaningful tax relief.

Writers should write about something they know better than anybody else -- and not simply write off the top of their heads after reading an article and having a superficial idea of the situation and then thundering pompously about their simple solutions. But first we have to determine what the real problem is and not just advocate those solutions provided to us from the creators of the bogus problems.

http://starbulletin.com/2007/03/30/editorial/editorial01.html

OUR OPINION

OK income tax credit with standard deduction
THE ISSUE
A national survey has determined that Hawaii's taxing of the working poor is second highest in the nation.

HAWAII once again is taking a deserved battering for its harsh tax treatment of the working poor. After tax changes are in place next year, Hawaii will claim the most burdensome tax policy in the nation for low-income working families. That needs to change.

The Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a survey of the 41 states and District of Columbia that have income taxes, ranking Hawaii second-worst to Alabama. Hawaii is on track to become the very worst in some respects with changes scheduled to take effect next year.

The Legislature is considering proposals to increase the standard deduction or create an earned income tax credit at 20 percent of the federal credit. A combination of the two would give a boost to the working poor while providing tax relief to middle-income families.

The Lingle administration opposes the tax credit, although championed during the past three decades by Republican White Houses. Kurt Kawafuchi, the state tax director, says it would affect too few taxpayers, is prone to error and is not user-friendly.

Figuring the credit amount on state tax forms could not be more user-friendly: Simply take the given percentage -- 20 percent or whatever -- of the federal amount.

A state tax commission in December found that 72,000 individual or family tax filers in Hawaii -- 22.3 percent of those with incomes of less than $30,000 -- claimed the federal earned income tax credit. Those are the very families that need help the most.

 
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