State program will be costly to taxpayers
One of the arguments being presented to Idaho is that if we create our own health insurance exchange, it will be fundamentally different from one set up by the federal government. This argument is fraught with problems and it will cost us.
Whether its a state exchange, a federal exchange, or a hybrid model, the exchange must meet new federal requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or Obamacare). These include minimum coverage levels, essential health benefits, and other qualified health plan requirements. Louisiana is not setting up an exchange due to uncertainties over potential costs. KPMG estimates Idaho will pay $77 million to set up an exchange.
Also, if a state creates an exchange, its citizens and small businesses will be subjected to new federal taxes. The PPACA gives the IRS taxing authority, but only for exchanges established by a state. Oklahoma is challenging this and other aspects of federal overreach.
To slap a made in Idaho label on something designed by the federal government, filled with new federal rules and taxes, as well as costing $77 million, makes no sense.
STEPHEN M. STEVE ACKERMAN, Kuna
Political terms are part of Republican scare tactics
The fiscal cliff is a myth part Republican scare tactic, part media hype.
The prospect of spending cuts and tax increases is a political crisis brought on by a GOP attempt to take the economy hostage. Republicans are manufacturing this crisis to pressure Democrats to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and accept cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
If Congress does nothing, all the Bush tax cuts disappear. Beginning Jan. 1, public pressure on House Republicans to extend the middle-class tax cuts (already passed by the Senate and supported by the president) will mount. When middle-class tax cuts are renewed, the top 2 percent will contribute $823 billion more revenue.
Sequestration is another political creation a set of cuts (half to a bloated military budget, half to important domestic programs) designed to make both parties hate it so much that theyd never let it happen. These cuts can be reversed in 2013 without causing damage.
Nothing happens to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid on Jan. 1 unless Republicans force benefits cuts in exchange for tax increases on the wealthy, which happen anyway if Congress does nothing. Benefits cuts need not be part of the discussion right now.
GARY E. RICHARDSON, Boise
Humiliation doesnt help
Regarding the fourth-grade teachers actions: really! There is a problem with bullying in schools and hazing in college. What could make these actions OK?
I dont think humiliation and isolation is a good motivational tool to be used to teach confidence and a sense of personal achievement on any level. I went through Marine Corps boot camp and it is a effective tool in that environment because of the overall objective of the training: life and death under the worst conditions imaginable, to function as unit and rely on each other. The end result of that is a positive one.
JAMES L. SIZEN, Nampa
The new minority
The American profile and ideology are undergoing a landmark change. Former minority groups dominate large population centers as well as rural areas, and they are positioned to control elections and the direction of government. Hopefully, they will strive to reestablish a vibrant economy and will not let the country drift into a welfare state.
For better or for worse, Anglo Saxons and Northern Europeans whose ancestors made this country the greatest nation on Earth are now a minority with dwindling influence in government, politics and culture.
CHET BOWERS, Boise
We must preserve our great system of governing
In some respects the great American experiment in government has lost its way. Congress has its lowest rating in history, majority rule has given way to the filibuster in the Senate, compromise is a dirty word and presidential elections dont honor the vote of every person because of the Electoral College system. In addition, the prime objective of most elected officials is to get re-elected.
These indictments of our government system clearly suggest that democracy in our great republic has become dysfunctional in many ways. It is a sad commentary on the noble efforts of our constitutional forebears who sought to create a more perfect union through compromise as well as sweat and cheers.
The preamble to our great constitutional document identified establish justice, provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare as basic objectives. It also provided for a representative democracy that is now surely in jeopardy. Although we probably do not want a parliamentary system, it would at least provide for dismissing those in power without waiting four years. We must preserve our great system in spite of the dangers that persist.
HARRY A. DENNIS, Boise
Some races not covered
I was disappointed and mystified why complete coverage of western Idaho political affairs, by a self-proclaimed regional newspaper, was ignored for two days following the election. Candidate races in District 9, of interest to Canyon, Payette, Washington, and Adams counties, could and should have been included in the detailed results of Treasure Valley voting results. Surely these areas of western Idaho fall in the Statesmans regional sphere.
Perhaps there arent sufficient subscriptions to your paper to justify the coverage. If so, perhaps I should re-consider my subscription.
BRAD BROWN, Parma
Patrols are welcome
I dont know if it is hearsay, but I have heard that Mayor Tammy De Weerd, along with Chief Jeff Lavey, is considering the organizing and funding of the Meridian Volunteer Police Patrol for the new Kleiner Park. Smart move on their part.
The mere presence of the patrol will keep crime out before it starts. The patrol needs a patrol vehicle and uniforms. I think this is a reasonable investment for the work that the men and women will do in patrolling the park.
Good work, Jeff and Tammy.
GEORGE OLSEY, Meridian