There is no question that Hawaii is a tropical paradise, particularly if you get out of the big cities and gaze at the beauty of a setting clearly created by a magnanimous Creator. It is, however, also a hard Left political state and as is the case in all such environments. plans are being hatched to try and solve employment problems with universal income.
Why are they even considering such a radical step? Simply put, the huge majority of the employment on the islands is in service jobs and the future will find many of these jobs being automated as business continually fine tunes operational strategies to improve the bottom line. Think about it, automated devices don't talk back and they don't go on strike, and they will perform just as programmed until some type of major glitch happens, but that in itself is a story of its own. So business figures if the McDonald's counter can be automated, and it is being done in earnest all over the nation, why not automate hotel check-in. And this is also now being considered in the trucking industry and delivery system with the use of driverless trucks and drones, not to mention automated personal assistants. It's all done to be more efficient and speed up necessary processes yet in the back of my mind I can't shake the memory of Hal telling Dave in 2001, A Space Odyssey, that he was now in control. Be careful what you wish for, it just might be your next nightmare.
So, I guess you can see that I'm not overly keen on the idea and I do value personal service, enjoying contact with a live human instead of a machine of whatever variety. But I can understand why a business might consider it, particularly now that their operation is becoming more and more directed by government edict, including determinations of pay more and more. Who wants to own a business without having the autonomy to make those decisions which determine success or not? Money is, after all, a driving factor and even a number of government entities are now learning the fallacy of an inflated minimum wage. The minimum wage was never intended to be a sum which would allow you to support a family, it was merely a starting for unskilled new workers, giving them the opportunity to get their "feet wet" in the working world.
State Representative Chris Lee recently introduced into the Hawaiian legislature a bill to guarantee a ten thousand dollar income for all those who become displaced by automation and who have no additional skills to market in a heavy leisure activity marketplace. After all, not everyone can be a physical trainer on the beach creating videos to sell. And the legislature seems somewhat amenable to doing something like this yet they have no idea where they can get the money to do it. And, as always, that's the crunch, how do you pay for something which is really a utopian dream in a state which already has a twenty billion dollar unfunded pension liability bill?
Tom Yamachika, head of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a group dedicated to lowering taxes instead of merely spreading the wealth, reports that if Hawaii were to give a ten thousand dollar minimum to each of the state's working citizens it would cost ten billion dollars annually. He talks of this approach because if it is only selectively applied it would likely be challenged in the Hawaiian court system. And while there is a foundation offering a large contribution to start such a program, that would just be seed money which would have to be duplicated many times over to work. And what would it provide? Well, likely a highly upset working class who is footing the bill so that a huge new crop of beach bum surfer dudes (and dudettes) could overpopulated the beaches.
Ken Wilderquist, founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (really, there is such a group?) thinks he has the solution. Put the tax on the hotels that cater to tourists. After all, they take the biggest cut of tourist dollars with their full service operations including side trips. But, as always, there is a huge problem. To raise ten billion would require each family sized group (two or more in the party) to accept an increase in the average bill per stay of three thousand four hundred dollars to the average bill. I guess there goes the tourist industry. You really can't make this up, folks.
Remember, liberalism only works as long as it has money taken from others to pay the freight and this is one freighter that would sink before it got out of the harbor. Let's hope that common sense infects the Hawaiian politicians before the anger of the taxpayers finally takes hold. Sooner or later it will and when it does it will be the politicians who will be jumping off the ship.
Hat tip to zerohedge.com