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Research & Commentary

‘Updating the Jones Act for the 21st Century’

“In a perfect world, there would be no Jones Act. … Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.” Those are the words of Keli‘i Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, from his chapter “Updating the Jones Act for the 21st Century,”  in the Cato Institute’s recently published book, “The

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Legislators need right job-creation map

This commentary was originally published Sunday, July 19, 2020, in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. _____________ Worried about the loss of tourism, widespread unemployment and economic slowdown? Fear not. The Hawaii Legislature plans to fix it all through its powers of legislation. That might seem a bit optimistic for a legislative body

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Maui needs a ‘road map to prosperity’ — and here it is

This commentary was published originally in The Maui News on June 23, 2020. ______________ Maui is slowly getting back to business after the COVID-19 lockdown, but for residents who are surveying the economic damage, there is a serious question to be addressed. Can the economy be “restarted” effectively? After all,

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Prosperity is possible if we follow the ‘road map’

Some of our ideas might be considered unrealistic in normal times, but these are not normal times Those of you who have been supporting us at the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii know we have been warning for six years that the state was spending too much during the good years, and

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‘The Jones Act isn’t just inefficient, it’s failed’

June 5, 2020, was the 100th birthday of the protectionist federal maritime law known as the Jones Act, which restricts cargo shipping competition between U.S. ports and adds to Hawaii’s high cost of living. A week earlier, one of the nation’s top experts on the act, Colin Grabow of the Cato Institute, was

Read More →

COVID-19 crisis a wake-up call for policymakers

After over two months of compulsory lockdowns, Hawaii’s state and county governments in May finally started reopening the economy. At the time, Hawaii had among the lowest number of total coronavirus infections and fatalities nationwide, and it still does. The state’s public health status appeared to be mostly in the

Read More →

‘New normal’ requires long-term budget thinking

Hawaii lawmakers are facing a “new normal” of significantly reduced tax revenues. In response, they should reduce long-term expenses, such as payroll expenses and department budgets, instead of only short-term expenses, such as one-time projects or more borrowing, if they wish to keep their spending in line with their new

Read More →

Start working now to adopt a meaningful spending cap

Hawaii’s existing cap is too easily ignored by lawmakers Now is the perfect time for fundamental policy changes in Hawaii, and a perfect place to start would be imposing a government spending cap with teeth. It would take a state constitutional amendment to do it, but in case it wasn’t

Read More →

The Jones Act: 100 years of failed protectionism

This article was published originally by the Mises Institute on June 4, 2020. ________________ June 5, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of the Jones Act, a law passed to protect the domestic water transportation industry from outside competition. This law has been touted as critical to the success of the

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The best reason to ‘Let Hawaii Work’ is to save lives

This commentary appeared originally in Honolulu Civil Beat on May 30, 2020. ________________ Our leaders need to move quickly to completely lift the state and county COVID-19 lockdowns Evidence has been mounting for years that prolonged unemployment in a community can result in increased deaths from suicides, substance abuse and

Read More →

‘Updating the Jones Act for the 21st Century’

“In a perfect world, there would be no Jones Act. … Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.” Those are the words of Keli‘i Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, from his chapter “Updating the Jones Act for the 21st Century,”  in the Cato Institute’s recently published book, “The

Read More →

Legislators need right job-creation map

This commentary was originally published Sunday, July 19, 2020, in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. _____________ Worried about the loss of tourism, widespread unemployment and economic slowdown? Fear not. The Hawaii Legislature plans to fix it all through its powers of legislation. That might seem a bit optimistic for a legislative body

Read More →

Maui needs a ‘road map to prosperity’ — and here it is

This commentary was published originally in The Maui News on June 23, 2020. ______________ Maui is slowly getting back to business after the COVID-19 lockdown, but for residents who are surveying the economic damage, there is a serious question to be addressed. Can the economy be “restarted” effectively? After all,

Read More →

Prosperity is possible if we follow the ‘road map’

Some of our ideas might be considered unrealistic in normal times, but these are not normal times Those of you who have been supporting us at the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii know we have been warning for six years that the state was spending too much during the good years, and

Read More →

‘The Jones Act isn’t just inefficient, it’s failed’

June 5, 2020, was the 100th birthday of the protectionist federal maritime law known as the Jones Act, which restricts cargo shipping competition between U.S. ports and adds to Hawaii’s high cost of living. A week earlier, one of the nation’s top experts on the act, Colin Grabow of the Cato Institute, was

Read More →

COVID-19 crisis a wake-up call for policymakers

After over two months of compulsory lockdowns, Hawaii’s state and county governments in May finally started reopening the economy. At the time, Hawaii had among the lowest number of total coronavirus infections and fatalities nationwide, and it still does. The state’s public health status appeared to be mostly in the

Read More →

‘New normal’ requires long-term budget thinking

Hawaii lawmakers are facing a “new normal” of significantly reduced tax revenues. In response, they should reduce long-term expenses, such as payroll expenses and department budgets, instead of only short-term expenses, such as one-time projects or more borrowing, if they wish to keep their spending in line with their new

Read More →

Start working now to adopt a meaningful spending cap

Hawaii’s existing cap is too easily ignored by lawmakers Now is the perfect time for fundamental policy changes in Hawaii, and a perfect place to start would be imposing a government spending cap with teeth. It would take a state constitutional amendment to do it, but in case it wasn’t

Read More →

The Jones Act: 100 years of failed protectionism

This article was published originally by the Mises Institute on June 4, 2020. ________________ June 5, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of the Jones Act, a law passed to protect the domestic water transportation industry from outside competition. This law has been touted as critical to the success of the

Read More →

The best reason to ‘Let Hawaii Work’ is to save lives

This commentary appeared originally in Honolulu Civil Beat on May 30, 2020. ________________ Our leaders need to move quickly to completely lift the state and county COVID-19 lockdowns Evidence has been mounting for years that prolonged unemployment in a community can result in increased deaths from suicides, substance abuse and

Read More →