As vaccinations increase daily and the country eagerly looks to the summer and beyond to get back to “normal,” I ask: What is the new “normal”?
Is it “normal” to have migrant caravans full of Hispanic “rapists and gang members” panned across news channels, African Americans gunned down left and right, and Asian American elders set ablaze in the streets of New York City?
Never mind Donald Trump. Have we as a country rallied around the flag and against an existential threat, dismissed our trivial differences, and forged stronger bonds because of our suffering?
No. The demagogue is gone but we are still a bubbling froth of political anger, division and apathy. Our generation-defining moment in the face of adversity has come and gone and we have failed. The heroes who jumped into Normandy and stormed the beaches must roll over in their graves as we argue about “freedom” over cloth masks. Shame on us. The pandemic was a dress rehearsal for more terrors to come. If you’re still crying about putting on a mask, here’s some advice: Grow up.
Minimum wage has lost much of its buying power
In 1968, the minimum waged peaked in purchasing power at $1.60 per hour. That is equivalent in buying power to $11.79 in 2021. President Joe Biden’s plan would have increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour in four years after enactment, so about 2025.
At a future inflation rate of 2%, that $11.79 would be $12.50 in 2025, so it would be a new record-high minimum wage in terms of purchasing power, but not by much.
The current federal minimum wage is only $7.25, which is one reason the poor are getting poorer. In the meantime, CEO compensation has increased from about $1 million in 1968 to $21 million in 2019. Had the minimum wage followed that percentage increase, it would have been $33.60 in 2019.
Woes of Harry, Meghan don’t amount to much
It is remarkable that CBS and Oprah Winfrey decided to allocate resources to broadcast Sunday’s “woe is me” stories of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The British monarchy has been around for centuries, and although it doesn’t currently wield the authority it once did, it is still an integral and historic part of British culture and politics. That being said, did Harry and Meghan not understand there would be rules and customs to follow and uphold? And with all the money, property and servants at their command, was the intent of the TV special to sway public opinion that life for them had become intolerable?
For all of us nonroyals who are worried about the problems that COVID-19 has caused — high unemployment, our children not attending school, hunger, death — we can only hope Harry and Meghan won’t think unkindly of us if we’re not as empathic as they think we should be.
Har failed to meet standards of a leader
State Rep. Sharon Har should resign. Her actions are inexcusable (“State Rep. Sharon Har faces drunken driving penalties she helped write,” Star- Advertiser, March 3). For someone to be such a staunch critic of drunken driving, she is completely hypocritical.
This kind of hypocrisy and complete lapse of judgment is the type of behavior that causes us to have distrust in our political system. Our elected and appointed community leaders must be held to a high standard because they are the very individuals who are supposed to have public safety and wellness at the top of their priorities.
Har is an embarrassment and disappointment. I hope she does what is best for our community and resigns, as she clearly is not someone who can be trusted to lead us.
Film crews block public access to public park
Recently, Kalanianaole Highway was shut down twice for filming. The first shutdown was for a week in February, the second for two days in March.
Shutting down a public highway is bad enough, but Lanai Lookout, a popular park, also was blocked off to stage equipment for the filming. To accommodate the production crew, the public — including visitors, locals and fishermen — was denied access to a public park. Worse still, the production equipment was placed at the site several days before and left several days after filming was complete.
This closure is outrageous. Outside enterprises are being given precedent over local residents. When will this end?
$6.1 billion outrageous federal pork spending
What an outrage (“Hawaii to receive over $6.1B in federal funds,” Star- Advertiser, March 9)! $6.1 billion?
Why does the U.S. government have to bail out Hawaii for its projected deficit plus another $444 million for county “help”?
If state and county officials can’t manage their budgets better, then the U.S. taxpayer should not have to shoulder the burden of their mistakes and mismanagement.
Shame on U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz for getting this “pork” added to an already egregious $1.9 trillion, misnamed coronavirus relief package. How much more can be added to the national deficit by giving and giving to personal pork projects before we can no longer sustain this folly?
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