The Economy And Government

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - October 26, 2011

The relentless assault of troubling news continues, and it’s understandable that angst and anxiety remain on the increase here at home and across the nation.

Recent unemployment numbers are on the rise in Hawaii, now at 6.4 percent, the highest in 10 months. The national jobless rate still hovers at 9.1 percent despite some creative spinning by the Obama administration. Remember last month when we were told there was an uptick in new jobs of more than 100,000 when, in fact, there were 40,000-plus striking workers returning to Verizon?

Who’s in charge of labor statistics? David Copperfield?

The European Debt Crisis may not be on the top five list of things on your mind, but maybe it should be. The tentacles of failing nations like Greece, Portugal, Ireland, et al., snake their way into every economy in the world. The fiscal uncertainty of the European Union (and its liquidity) weighs heavily on the minds of other nations and investors.


The root issue lies in the lack of real solutions to what ails these challenged countries. Although Germany and France are trying to provide some sense of stability by cultivating international financial support and infusing cash, they clearly will have to curb their participation when their own citizens cry out, “What about us?”

Then what happens?

Foreclosures, upside down, short sale, eviction these words describe an unfortunate reality for millions affected by the terrible convergence of a recession-like economy and loss (or dramatic reduction) of income. Perhaps it’s the inevitable outcome for misguided consumers who took advantage of lax mortgage requirements during the homeowner heyday and are suffering the consequences of basic math.

Regardless, the importance of the real estate industry vis a vis the health of our economy is well-documented. The irony is that irresponsible lending was at the heart of the economic tumble we experienced a few years ago, and an irresponsible lack of lending is the centerpiece of our stagnation. The overcorrecting by lending institutions is debilitating an already challenged real estate sector while damaging ancillary industries by denying the life blood of any economy: cash.

The cautionary tale in seeking respite from this storm is not found in the president’s plan to again spend more money.


The solution is not redistributing wealth from one taxpaying citizen to another who financially benefits simply by association with a particular organization (read “union”). Our government was not founded on the principle that its role is to guarantee us a livelihood or a lifestyle. We have a reasonable level of expectation that government should create the environment for individuals to thrive and reap the rewards of their labor.

At the core of what troubles us is one common denominator: the government itself. By overreaching into areas of our lives where it shouldn’t, the opposite of a healthy and nurturing environment has been created. It’s become one of entitlement and dependency.

If we are truly determined to return to prosperity, we should demand that our government embrace the original tenets of our founders and retreat from the notion that our country is defined by our government when, in fact, our government is defined by us.

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