Letters to the editor: 12-20-2013

December 20, 2013 

Obama

President Obama never learned the first “rule of holes:” stop digging. Fresh from his Obamacare fiasco, he decided to shift gears and push for a $10/hour minimum wage, while decrying the growing national income inequality. There are several problems with his approach. How is it possible that Mr. Obama can decry income inequality yet push for both amnesty for illegal aliens and increased legal immigration? No economic argument can be made that increasing the supply of something — like labor — will increase its price.

Let’s also consider his refusal to let the Keystone pipeline move forward and the EPA’s open smothering of the coal industry. Pipeline construction and coal mining jobs pay far more than $10/hour. Finally, let’s also consider that the $1.8 trillion annual regulatory burden imposed by the Federal Government also takes oxygen out of the economy and imposes greater unit costs on small businesses than large corporations.

In summary, President Obama’s stated goals are at cross-purposes with his own policies. This used to be called hypocrisy but one wonders if the president is simply untethered from reality.

FRED BIRNBAUM, Boise

Apartheid

Nelson Mandela was jailed for being a “terrorist” because he wanted to “overthrow the government” of South Africa, yet his cause was later vindicated and he came to be regarded as a hero because once people became informed internationally, they realized the South African government was indeed one of inequality and in violation of human rights.

On Dec. 4, 1997, Nelson Mandela said: “The U.N. took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

When Bishop Desmond Tutu visited Israel he commented that what he saw there was even worse than South Africa’s apartheid.

Americans need to become informed about the inequality and violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people under Israeli apartheid. A good place to start would be ifamericansknew.org.

DEBORAH ESPEN, Meridian

Education

As I read Dr. Wesche’s Reader’s View article on education in Sunday’s paper, and it reminded me of my days as a software developer for high-tech companies. Timelines were always being tightened, not allowing for sufficient time in planning a project and then completing it. The catch phrase, not popular among management, was, “There’s never enough time to do it right, but there’s always time to do it over.”

I see a distinct parallel with the approach to education by decision-makers today. “Let’s not invest enough in the process so our students emerge with the proper talents and abilities to do well and to make a difference,” seems to be their mindset. And the continuation of the high-tech-to-education parallel continues, “But we’ll make sure there are plenty of low-paying jobs where they’re qualified. And when that’s not enough, our judicial system will take care of them when they break the laws.”

When will the decision-makers realize that the current system is failing? Look at the countries that have passed us by; they understand the importance of a proper education system. Don’t we owe our children at least the same, if not more?

STUART GUSTAFSON, Boise

Top school

The article “1 of state's top schools in Coeur d’Alene” shows how a school can become top rated in the state, and in the nation: Simply limit all our public schools to those students who are college bound, and agree to follow a curriculum that is “rigorous and not built for every student.”

While the article points out that the school will accept all students since it receives federal and state education funding, it is specifically designed to limit the students to a very select group. Public schools must provide education for all children, all abilities, all socio-economic groups. Claiming any fame for providing a top-rate “public education” program designed for the only very top-performing, most highly-motivated students in a district seems a bit like claiming to have the “most healthy patients” when you limited your practice only to young, healthy patients.

I taught in public schools, and the real top-rated schools should be those that are able to motivate and graduate all the students that probably can't make it at Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy.

MARTHA MCFARLAND, Boise

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