Former Gov. Ben Cayetano on Hawaii's Fiscal Mess and Stupid Rail Plan

"When the special interests become too powerful," warns Ben Cayetano, "the voter only has the collective conscience of the people who are in public office."  

Cayetano was a popular two-term Democratic governor of the state of Hawaii who held office from 1994 to 2002. In 2012, Cayetano became alarmed by what he saw as out-of-control spending and special interests run amok. He came out of retirement and made a failed bid to become the mayor of Honolulu, Hawaii's largest city.  

Cayetano opposed the city’s $5.26 billion rail project, which he says costs too much and will not address Honolulu's traffic problems. The massive system and inevitable cost overruns, he fears, simply piles more debt on a government already straining under unfunded liabilities for public-sector pensions and benefits. "They are going to end up raising taxes," Cayetano told Reason TV. "Or the city will go bankrupt."

In a wide-ranging conversation, the 73-year-old Filipino American discusses the Aloha State's fiscal mess, the trouble with Hawaii's one-party government, and why he believes social issues are distracting voters from more pressing economic problems. 

5:30 minutes.

Shot by Sharif Matar and Zach Weissmueller. Edited by Sharif Matar.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    It hasn't been the same there since Magnum returned to active Navy duty.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Are you saying 5-0 is not up to the task?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Actually that mayor looks like the dude from the original series.

  • Pro Libertate||

    McGarrett was referred to as governor in Magnum, P.I..

  • Chance J. Alaimo||

    my best friend's step-mother makes $85 an hour on the laptop. She has been fired for 9 months but last month her pay check was $17064 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Here's the site to read more... www.Snag4.com

  • Moe19||

    My son’s barber’s neighbor’s dog’s veterinarian’s ex-step-cousin-in-law used this weird trick to make eleventy billion dollars each second on the laptop.

  • Aresen||

    Let me tell you about my partner in Nigeria who needs some assistance transferring money to the USA....

  • Sevo||

    YOUR partner?!

  • 34lbs||

    Would you be surprised if the spammers and trolls were all one fat guy in his mother's basement who has some grudge against Reason.....

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Click for Phone Sex.

  • sarcasmic||

    "the voter only has the collective conscious of the people who are in public office"

    I thought a prerequisite of attaining public office was to have no conscious. Or is that the point.

  • Almanian!||

    Unconscious could be good.

    It's that "conscience" thing that pubtards are always missing.

  • sarcasmic||

    jinx

  • Almanian!||

    double jinx can't tag back

  • sarcasmic||

    *conscience*

  • josh||

    the idea that we don't require mental exams for public officials seems to be a major flaw in our election process.

  • Almanian!||

    "Kam Fong as Chin Ho"

    Still the greatest credits ever to appear on TV.

  • MJGreen||

    The rail project is such a fucking joke. Everyone knows it's a joke. But money will continue to be spent. Even if it's never finished, the project will probably never be officially canceled.

    Traffic is indeed terrible, and The Bus is a pretty great service that is the best folks can hope for in terms of public transportation.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    I presently reside in the state of Marylangia. They have this quaint idea that, no matter how much they waste on under-investing in state workers pension plans or offshore wind farms, they will be able to fund it with GAMBLING. Really, they truly believe that. A slot machine here, a crony casino there -- Balanced budget in three years.

    So I say, Mr. Hawaii man, turn your island paradise into a den of gambling, prostitution and drunken debauchery ... then watch the bucks and yens flow in.

  • Almanian!||

    Just see Detroit for how that works out.

    GAMBLETOPIA!! Balanced budget, world-class public works, renaissance of the city!

    Oh, wait...

  • T||

    Every podunk town in Lousiana seems to have a 'casino' now, even if it's just some slot machines in the VFW hall. It doesn't seem to have resulted in great prosperity flowing across the land there, either.

  • Zeb||

    No, but it helps the state keep paying for a bunch of stupid bullcrap.

  • ||

    That mayoral race was weird -- basically having to choose between three Democrats, one of whom was more fiscally irresponsible and less Democrat-y than the others. Uber-Republican households were sporting Cayetano signs.

    That rail is just a jobs program for the labor unions who rule the state. If hardly anyone ever rides it, the 55% of Oahu voters who want will be fine with that outcome.

  • califernian||

    Hawaii is at least as bad off as illinois and california. They are fucked.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Awww, isn't that so cute? The fat island man thinks public employee unions are about serving the citizens and not raiding the treasury.

  • Aresen||

    Not to be impolite, but just what kind of spending did Mr. Cayetano support to become a 'popular two-term governor.'

    The fiscal crises of governments are generally decades in the making.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "Not to be impolite".

    I know you're not new here so what's up with that?

  • T||

    He's Canadian, he can't help it.

  • Art Vandelay||

    Fucking Canadians, eh?

  • Aresen||

    I try to get as much fucking as possible.

  • T||

    "When the special interests becomes too powerful…the voter only has the collective conscious of the people who are in public office,"

    Welp, I guess we're all fucked. Do trash fires give enough light to read by?

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    It's like watching a five year old play SimCity, only without infinite money cheats.

  • Paul.||

    This guy keeps referring to himself as a liberal democrat, but I liked every word that fell out of his mouth. Is really that liberal?

  • Aresen||

    In general, Libertarians consider themselves "Classical Liberals."

  • ||

    He is fiscally conservative for a Democrat, and is actually liberal on some of the stuff liberals are supposed to be liberal about. He wasn't awful as governor, which is pretty high praise for Hawaii.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Does the rail line connect different islands? That would actually be useful if they could do it.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    It's intercontinental.

  • YandMand||

    So who comes up with all that crazy smack?

    www.GoAnon.da.bz

  • Kolohe||

    "Cayetano was a popular two-term Democratic governor of the state of Hawaii who held office from 1994 to 2002."

    So popular that the damage to the Democratic Party's brand he caused allowed a Republican to ascend to Governorship for the first time since statehood.

    Where's Weigel when you need him?

  • yonemoto||

    Whoa, whoa, let's be clear here: the democrats lost because they were dumb enough to put up a slate with a japanese governor and a japanese lieutenant governor in a state where it turned out that racial identity politics can matter more than one-party affiliation...

  • yonemoto||

    and yes, I realize that the lieutenant governor and governor are elected in the primaries separately.

  • 34lbs||

    Ohhhh... PINOY AKO! Also, i can't believe the orwellian overhaul in terms of political speech in the United States.. 80 years ago, Reason Magazine WOULD be the Liberal Magazine, if you look to Europe it is still that way.... Also, i'm seeing a trend of libertarian politics penetrating, unprotected, traditionally leftist establishments, and impregnating them with liberty babies...

  • BMFPitt||

    High a big rail system in...Hawaii?

    Wow, that make's California's plan sound brilliant in comparison.

  • JWatts||

    "High a big rail system in...Hawaii?"

    Well, by big they mean the cost, not the actual usefulness.

  • Sonderegger||

    The massive system and inevitable cost overruns, he fears, simply piles more debt on a government already straining http://www.chaussuresfreefr.co.....-c-31.html under unfunded liabilities for public-sector pensions and benefits. "They are going to end up raising taxes," Cayetano told Reason TV. "Or the city will go bankrupt."

    In a wide-ranging conversation, the 73-year-old Filipino American discusses the Aloha State's fiscal mess, the trouble with Hawaii's one-party government, and why he believes social issues are distracting voters from more pressing economic problems.

  • eyeroller||

    Kudos to Reason for showing that the phenomenon of "occasional person who actually wants to cut spending" is not exclusive to the Republican Party.

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  • ygsrf||

    Kickoff to you with the online store 2013

  • Big Chief||

    It would be nice if the podcast for this actually worked!

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