For Wednesday, July 20, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 20, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 2:23 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011
Solar subsidies are a bad deal
As Hawaii taxpayers we will subsidize 35 percent of California-based SolarCity's cost to build solar collectors on land donated by Hickam.
As federal taxpayers we will subsidize an additional 30 percent of its cost and pledge to buy its electricity for 20 years at a fixed price that guarantees SolarCity a profit.
All to produce 5.6 million kilowatts per year, enough to keep about two 150-watt light bulbs per home burning for a year.
Plus, producing anything with a subsidy (i.e. at a loss) means the value of what's produced is less than the value of the labor, capital and natural resources consumed to produce it. To me that crosses the line from silly to suicidal.
When government forces us to pay more than is necessary or competitive for electricity, the barrels of oil we "save" stay on the market, increasing the supply and decreasing the cost of oil for others — including China, which is building a military-industrial complex with which it expects to crush America someday.
George L. Berish
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Rally to the flag of ‘less is more'
When a comic character like Rat in "Pearls Before Swine" (Star-Advertiser, July 18) starts talking revolution, it's a sign that the people's disgust with our corporate-controlled government has become fully mainstream.
Rat is right: We need a revolution. But we won't fight with guns. We'll use our dollars. We won't buy fruits and vegetables — or bottled water — that has to be transported on a ship or plane. Buy fresh and local at the farmers' markets. Drive less. Walk and bike more, but stay alert for inattentive drivers. Exercise should also keep us healthier, saving more money.
Reduce, reuse: lots of good pre-owned stuff at Salvation Army and Savers.
And pay off credit card balances. We are not just consumers; we are human beings, and quality of life is not measured in material possessions. Less is more.
Defaulting could help in long run
Since World War I, dozens of nations have defaulted on their sovereign debt, including Japan, Germany and Russia, the last two having done so twice each. Portugal and Greece have defaulted five times, and Spain seven times. All these nations survived.
The advantages of repudiating our national debt are hard to ignore.
We will wipe out a $14 trillion debt in one swoop.
The "full faith and credit" of the U.S. government will evaporate overnight, and no one will grant us credit for a long time to come. We'll be forced to live within our means, which is probably the only way we will ever do so.
Democrats will be forced to accept reductions in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Republicans will be forced to accept new taxes. We will no longer be able to interfere in the affairs of other countries. The list goes on, but this should be enough to convince the tea party to hold the line.
Sinclair Library joins 21st century
Congratulations to the Sinclair Library at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, on the installation of a set of solar panels on the roof above the study-writing-honors program lounges of the first floor makai. They're just the thing to defray the costs of the AV and the computer-room air conditioning, building lights and the ubiquitous fans that hum away all the day long.
Old 1950s-era Sinclair Library, sepia hued, ain't quite so stuck anymore in a yesteryear funk. So kudos to UH. The 21st century, it would seem, has arrived.
Stop spending; save U.S. dollar
We are hearing fear stories of what will happen if the debt ceiling is not increased. No one knows if these fears will come to be. One thing is certain — what would happen if the U.S. dollar is devalued. All of us will be devastated. The dollar has lost some of its value, but is still the world's reserve currency. Most world trades are paid for in U.S. dollars, such as oil. However, this is changing. Russia and China now use their currency to pay for products that they buy from each other. Several countries are proposing use of different currencies or gold.
The U.S. is the only country that can print money whose face value is accepted. In the past two years we have printed more than $1 trillion without revenue to support it. Is the dollar really a dollar?
Congress and the Obama administration need to stop spending. Save the U.S. dollar.
Social Security not in danger
The article reporting on the AARP Hawaii's lobbying trip to Washington references a statement supposedly made by President Barack Obama that "he cannot guarantee that Social Security checks will go out on Aug. 3" as well as a statement that "AARP will not accept any cuts to Social Security … as part of a deal to pay the nation's bills" ("Local AARP defends benefits on Washington lobbying trip," Star-Advertiser, July 16).
Because Social Security benefit payments come from the independently administered Social Security Trust Fund, and the fund enjoys a substantial surplus, why either one of these statements was made is befuddling. Neither Congress nor the president can unilaterally compel the fund's trustees to cease making benefit payments. Similarly, no politician has proposed legislation to reduce benefits being paid to existing Social Security recipients. Instead, the debate has been limited to the wisdom of modifying benefits for future recipients.
Suggesting (wrongly) that benefits paid to existing recipients may be in jeopardy seriously clouds the debate regarding this issue.
David L. Mulliken
Chinatown residents besieged by brazen, irresponsible homeless
The story about rounding up the homeless tells the truth about our homeless ("Roundup of homeless feared during APEC," Star-Advertiser, July 17).
I am concerned about the many more who have entrenched themselves in Chinatown, which has not gotten the attention about how these homeless folks have affected our businesses and residents. They don't feel any sense of responsibility to clean up or to fold their tents to allow people to pass along the sidewalks. Sidewalks become personal storage areas. Buckets sometimes serve as toilets. Human waste is dumped into our streams or left for others to clean up.
Too many camp out day and night, and the River of Life mission has attracted many more, since they provide three meals a day. Visitors are confronted each day with solicitation by homeless drug addicts and alcoholics asking for money — not for food, but for drugs and alcohol.
We are the victims of easy access and tolerance, but we have reached saturation point.
Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock
President, Chinatown Business & Community Association