For Sunday, December 23, 2012
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 23, 2012
Pay package for Jay is way too generous
Considering the fact that the University of Hawaii athletic program has a net deficit of more than $11 million and an athletic director was just hired for $293,000 plus other benefits, why would the UH administration offer him bonuses for doing the job he is expected to do? Balancing the budget should be a minimum requirement of the job, not grounds for a bonus.
And, why should he get an extra $5,000 if women's volleyball participates in the NCAA tournament, which is something it does every year?
Success in competition is a reflection of the work of the coaches and the athletes they recruit, not that of the athletic director.
In addition, letting him take his wife and three children to eight mainland events each year is another excessive concession.
I do not blame Ben Jay for negotiating a goodcontract for himself. However, it is obvious that the people who were negotiating for UH knew very little about what they were doing and, once again, gave away the store.
Food products should have truthful labels
While the federal government has jurisdiction over labeling our foods, a short-term multinational corporate agenda has been substituted for a healthy, nutritious, transparent food security policy.
The regulatory role of our government has been "captured" by this industrial food agenda through which our politicians, both federal and local, have become local agents of that same industrial machine. None of this is controversial.
What is controversial is the letter writer who rails against "misinformation" yet dishes out the same while suggesting that an inconvenient democratic meeting notice process stands in the way of progress ("Anti-GMO crowd hijacked hearing," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Dec. 8).
Transparency is a bedrock principle, a core right of citizens in a democracy. Food is a fundamental common need for survival.
When it comes to our foods, all humans have a duty and right to both demand a truthful label and to know precisely what is in our food and its source.
Krugman's analysis defies fiscal reality
According to Paul Krugman, "We are not having a debt crisis … The U.S. government is having no trouble borrowing to cover its deficit" ("GOP's existential crisis is about politics, not debt," Star-Advertiser, Dec. 16).
How did Krugman pass Economics 101, much less get a Ph.D.?
He advises me not to worry about my continual overspending as long as I can put it on my credit card and pay the interest. And, of course, the U.S. government has no trouble paying its interest because it prints its own money. What a deal!
I have news for Paul Krugman: Credit cards have limits and history shows that governments have limits, too. Stop castigating those who want fiscal sanity.
U.S. afflicted with too many firearms
The National Rifle Association and its irrational opposition to any reasonable gun control policy will tragically condemn us to decades of senseless slaughter of innocent people.
The recurring spate of murderous shootings is the direct result of the unchecked availability of guns to anyone who wants to commit unspeakable harm on others.
Logically, there should be no reason to permit assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which have no legitimate purposes.
But, even the absurd availability of legal weapons — without reasonable controls — makes murderous assaults possible due to the sheer abundance of now legally accessible guns.But as we have painfully learned in the Newtown tragedy, even lawfully purchased guns can fall into the wrong hands.
When the U.S. suffers 12,996 murders by firearms in 2010, compared to 11 in 2008 in Japan, 18 gun deaths in the United Kingdom in 2009 and 158 in Germany in 2010 — all countries with stricter gun laws — it takes no brains to conclude that reasonable gun safeguards, like trigger locks, banning certain firearms and stiffer registration requirements may reduce our absurd level of violent deaths.
It is way past time to restore sanity to our gun laws.
Francis M. Nakamoto
Guns, mental illness both issues of concern
The massacre in Connecticut has raised numerous questions: It involves all types of weapons.
One person wrote in and said it wasn't a weapons problem but the guy's brain. That is partially correct. However, if his mother's weapons had not been so handy, the story may have been different and may not have occurred at all.
It seems that our country has a monumental problem involving both weapons ownership and mental illness.
It will require a herculean effort on the part of the entire country to attack the problem.
Gun-control clamor spurs buying frenzy
What the heck — doesn't the president and the rest of the country get it?
All this clamor about gun regulations and stricterlaws has created a feeding frenzy with the gun shops.
Have you seen the line lately at the Beretania Street police station of people trying to register firearms? Out on the sidewalk.
We're getting a reverse effect with all the purchases.
We need a gun turn-in program to counter this frenzy.
It's like announcing an oncoming tsunami or hurricane, and everyoneis out buying ice, gas, rice, toilet paper, in a total panic.
We need tocorrectthe access to the mental health files, as this is the stickler across the country. This restriction should be lifted, if one is applying for firearms.
In the latest incident, in Connecticut, the guns used weren't locked up and, really, it was the fault of the victim/mother who coincidentally taught her challenged son how to shoot these firearms.
Maybe we need some form of mandated insurance or bond with the purchase of these weapons.
Mortgage deduction is two-edged sword
Last Sunday's Star-Advertiser mortgage interest deduction story, "Loss could imperil real estate, economy," raised a number of issues.
While limiting or eliminating this popular deduction would upset those currently benefiting from it, including commission-driven Realtors and homeowners, tax revenue projections to the government are probably inflated.
If we accept the analysis by Aloha Tax Service's Bob Thue that a typical homeowner might incur an additional $432 each month in federal tax liability, this would represent about $100,000 (present value) over the course of a 30-year loan.
In an efficient market, house values would immediately drop an equivalent amount in response.
Subsequently, new mortgages would also decline, slashing theoretical interest deductions (now tax receipts) by around 25 percent.
In short, the government would receive less than expected, and Realtors and current mortgagors would suffer.
On the plus side, plummeting prices would make housing more affordable.
Capping total deductions seems a better choice.
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