Star-Advertiser readers offer their top issues for Barack Obama to tackle in the next two years
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 30, 2010
Two of the top priorities to be tackled in the next two years:
» Immigration reform: Please consider granting those who are undocumented, but who have been gainfully employed for a period of time, a visa and/or citizenship, if they report their earnings during that time period and pay federal and state taxes on their past earnings. Not only would it eliminate a significant portion of the underground economy, it would reduce the federal deficit, add to the Social Security trust fund and help states balance their budgets.
» Income tax cuts for the rich: The recent debate was whether to continue the tax cuts for all Americans or continue them for all but the top 2 percent of the wealthiest Americans. However, the top 1 percent of Americans are very wealthy, so please consider a true compromise on this issue by increasing taxes on the top 1 percent while maintaining the Bush tax cuts for the rest of the population.
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Inspire us to rebuild our nation. We, the people, look to you for guidance during these adverse times.
I urge you to be the broker between those who are thriving and those who are merely surviving. The financial crisis has generated class polarization and hopelessness. We elected you at this precarious time because we want to be the "united" states again.
We require your ability to convince our legislators to assist communities by providing environments that support small businesses, industry and public education.
Our faith in the possible has diminished. The paramount task for you is to activate all citizens to contribute to the greatness of which we are capable.
Hawaii should be the first place to be powered completely by clean energy.
Not only do we suffer from the highest electricity prices in the nation, much of our electric infrastructure is outdated and should be replaced soon.
People want it and most politicians made it a priority in these elections. What has been lacking is political will and following up bold statements with budget allocations. Here is how you could make a difference for us:
» Declare it your goal that Hawaii will be 100 percent powered by clean energy in the next decade;
» Support this goal with easily accessible, low-interest loans or loan guarantees;
» Re-enable PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing, so that every homeowner can get solar and save money.
Hawaii has all the ingredients to make clean energy a success.
I suggest that you do away with the old Washington model of growing the federal government to expand the breadth and scope of central bureaucratic control and instead honor the 10th Amendment. Trying to micromanage the diverse nature of our states' economies and societies from Washington is unconstitutional and impossible.
Since you grew up here in Hawaii, you might be familiar with one provincial response by our local politicians to questions from new arrivals to our state. If there is any truth to the contention that "We do things differently here than on the mainland," then maybe Washington should heed the advice of local wisdom and stop twisting the Commerce Clause to usurp states' rights and the rights of the individuals who live there.
Education must continue to be a priority. Currently there are sweeping changes in education, with 48 states agreeing to common core standards and Race to the Top incentives.
Also, never has the time been more perfect to join the rest of the world in adopting the metric system. Our students need a level playing field to compete globally. They cannot be taught one chapter once a year and be as proficient as a native user. Our students, and society as well, need to be fluent in the language of math and science.
This is the time, Mr. President. Make it your kuleana.