When I grow up, I want to be an editorial writer for the Honolulu Advertiser. What a sweet gig that would be. I’d just have to get up in the morning, come to the office, change around a few sentences in a press release from some favored organization (or on a really strenuous day, check in with the head of Hawaii’s Democratic Party for the official line), then head out for a good lunch and a refreshing siesta.
What? You say there’s more to it than that?
You’re right. Sometimes I might have to go to staff meetings. But still . . . .what a great gig.
Too harsh? Well, perhaps you should consider the Advertiser’s recent editorial on the OHA suit against the state (mentioned in Wednesday’s post by the way). Titled “Real leaders find a way to pay debts,” it is little more than a rearrangement of OHA’s press release, accompanied by the wonderfully obvious title point. I’m sure that in response, Hawaii’s leaders are slapping themselves in the forehead and saying, “Of course! It’s all so clear now! Since we aspire to be real leaders, we’ll just hand over the $200 million tomorrow! I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before!”
It’s just so darned easy to be a left-leaning editorial writer. The Hawaiians deserve their money. Teachers deserve to be paid more. The environment needs to be protected better. The state of our health system needs to be improved. Government housing is a scandal. There isn’t a problem under the sun that can’t be addressed by the state treasury. Unfortunately for the actual real leaders involved, there isn’t a money tree sitting outside the state house. (Believe me, I’ve looked. Something has to explain the way the rationale of the state budget process.) And Hawaii’s taxpayers–though mellower than many–still have this weird desire to hold on to the bulk of their earnings. So sometimes, no matter how much something is deserved, there is no easy solution. Because that $200 million owed to the Native Hawaiians doesn’t come from some mysterious fountain of gold coins in the Governor’s office. It comes from our paychecks. And a lot of us have seen those paychecks take a hit lately. So we’re hurting. And the state is hurting. And it makes the whole thing a lot more complicated than OHA or the Advertiser want to admit.