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LETTERS for the November 7 issue

By Staff | Nov 7, 2019

“Made in Hawaii” is an international enterprise

Alongside traffic and coffee, news radio is a staple of my morning commute. As I flip through the stations, I’ll sometimes hear a pundit lament that “Nothing is made in America anymore.”

In reality, there are nearly 13 million manufacturing workers in the United States, including thousands in Hawaii. Some of these folks are employed by U.S.-based firms. Many others work for companies headquartered abroad.

These international companies employ more than 37,000 Hawaii citizens. That includes 2,400 employees in manufacturing jobs – or nearly 6 percent of all Hawaii jobs created by international companies.

According to the latest government data, the number of Hawaii jobs created by international companies jumped by 25 percent over the past five years. For comparison, the number of private-sector jobs overall in Hawaii increased by 11 percent.

Hawaii isn’t an anomaly. International companies created 62 percent of new manufacturing jobs in the United States over the past five years, according to the latest available government data. More than 280 different international companies employ Hawaii workers. Many of them are household names, including Anheuser-Busch, Nestle and Rolls-Royce.

International firms pay better. Americans who work for global companies earn 26 percent more compensation than the average worker in the same geographic area, according to a new analysis from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

International companies benefit all workers, not just the ones they employ directly. When an international firm sets up a manufacturing plant and creates 1,000 new jobs in America, workers in that geographic area at domestic firms experience a collective $16 million boost in wages. So for every local job that an international firm creates, the wage pool for employees in the area increases to the tune of $16,000 annually.

International companies also benefit U.S. small businesses. Over the past decade-and-a-half, international companies increased the amount of business they do with U.S. suppliers by nearly 30 percent – jumping from $1.5 trillion to $2.4 trillion, after adjusting for inflation.

In the manufacturing sector, business between international companies and domestic suppliers rose by nearly 70 percent during that same period. That is more than 14 times greater than the overall growth rate achieved by all U.S. businesses.

The economic well-being of local communities depends on international companies and their relationships with suppliers in the United States. For example, Honda operates manufacturing facilities across Ohio that directly employ more than 13,000 Ohioans. It also relies on a network of more than 600 suppliers across the Midwest, almost a third of which are based in the Buckeye State. In fact, Honda spends $10 billion in Ohio annually to obtain intermediary goods from regional suppliers.

Sourcing locally is important for reasons beyond just economics – it allows U.S. small businesses to demonstrate a commitment to social equity and environmental sustainability.

As we celebrate local manufacturers statewide, let’s recognize how international companies catalyze local economic growth – giving a whole new meaning to “made in Hawaii.”

NANCY McLERNON, President, Organization for International Investment


County officials must tackle real problems

So, our mayor is having a meeting in West Maui to discuss the subject of handling emergencies here; in particular in regard to the 2018 fire. Why the hell does it take the mayor a full year to come and meet with us and discuss what can be done?

It is about time and well overdue that our county officials handle real problems on this island. Why have these people in office if they don’t care about us residents?

It seems Mayor Victorino was more concerned about tourists on an ocean liner in Lahaina getting back to their boats during a fire than the local people getting home to their families.

Step up to the plate, politicians!



Firefighters did an amazing job

As a community of Kahana Ridge and Kahana Nui, we want to thank the Lahaina Fire Department and all the services involved that saved our homes and helped us folks so dazed and amazed at such a fierce moving fire!

OMG… the firefighters are amazing! Dipping buckets into close-by pools by helicopter! Flying so close to flames! Mahalo nui loa!!

We are so lucky to have you all near! Is there a way for those of us who so desire to donate or kokua?



Meat industry is scary

Halloween zombies, witches, ghosts and goblins lurking about didn’t scare me; what’s really frightening is the meat industry.

This is the industry that deprives, mutilates, cages, then butchers billions of cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens – animals who feel joy, affection, sadness and pain, just like us.

It exposes undocumented workers to chronic workplace injuries at slave wages, and exploits farmers and ranchers by dictating market prices.

This is the industry that contributes more to our epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer than any other, then bullies health authorities to remove health warnings from dietary guidelines.

It’s the industry that sanctions world hunger by feeding nutritious corn and soybeans to animals, instead of people.

This is the industry that generates more water pollution than all other human activities, that spews more greenhouse gases than all transportation, that destroys more wildlife habitats than all other industries.

Fortunately, our local supermarkets offer a rich selection of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses and ice creams, as well as a colorful display of fresh fruits and veggies.

According to the meat industry publication Feedstuffs, sales of plant-based foods doubled from 2017 to 2018, jumping another 20 percent from 2018-19. That’s what gives me my courageand hope.