Letters to the Editor, 01-01-2014

January 1, 2014 

New rich

I read with a sense of shock the front page article in the Idaho Statesman (Dec. 4), titled “The new rich: 1 in 5 Americans affluent at some point.” I checked three times, but the bold print of the introduction to the article really did say, “This little known group may be the biggest barrier to reducing income equality!” “Income equality” is a goal of government now? I thought the goal was free and unfettered capitalism, with some social welfare programs thrown in to protect and aid the most vulnerable. When did it become politically expedient to espouse communism as a goal for the United States of America?

I agree with James Lott, quoted in the article as saying, “In this country you don’t get anywhere without working hard.” It is not a legitimate role of the federal government to mandate that the 25 percent of citizens who make up the “new rich” be stripped of their wealth in a quest for “income equality!”

Helping lower-income Americans to be “upwardly mobile,” and to improve their circumstances through education and hard work is a laudable goal. Forcing others to finance that change through taxation or other misuse of power is not.



Idaho’s first governor’s message Dec. 9, 1863, by Acting Idaho Territorial Governor William B. Daniels, Lewiston:

“It cannot be necessary to argue the necessity of education to the preservation of our free institutions. ... All the gold in these mountains will not save us from the fate of free nations that have gone before us if we do not educate our children, but rather make our decline more swift and sure. … Who does not know that it is to the ignorance of the many, operated upon by the ambition of the few … .”

Some 150 years later, Idaho still debates and underfunds what Daniels described as the cornerstone of a free society — our children’s education. Slipping to last in the USA on spending per pupil, Idaho legislators have chosen the path of listening to “the ambition of the few” at the expense of our future. How ironic that after 150 years, we still contest the wisdom of Idaho’s founding fathers.

GARRY BUSH, Lewiston

Christmas displays

Create a directory of Christmas displays.

Someone should create a website detailing all the best Christmas displays in the area with addresses.

In the Bay Area of California a website was created called lights of the valley. The website has grown over the years and is quite impressive.

How about lights of the Treasure Valley?

I’m not computer savvy enough to create a website, but I’m sure someone out there is!


Mark Patterson

I want to comment on the Mark Patterson story. I do think the Statesman points out a great issue of conflict with Sheriff Raney. I am sad that Patterson resigned at the pressure put on him. We as a society need to re-evaluate our values. The whole reason for withheld judgment is to give redemption to individuals. Plus, we’re talking about something that happened 39 years ago. If this is such an issue should we go through all the state leaders and remove them because they committed crimes? For example Butch Otter for his DUI charges, that is just as serious as what happened with Patterson. Why does Otter get a pass? When do we as a society say OK you did this, here’s your punishment. When that is done you’re back as an equal member of society.


Cuts to veterans

Recently the Senate passed a budget deal that reduced the pension of current military retirees through reductions in cost-of-living adjustments. The reductions are significant; for example, this would reduce the pension of an E-7 by $82,000 over 20 years.

I believe most veterans do not want special consideration and are willing to do their part to help reduce an unsustainable budget deficit. Where most of us take exception to this is the discriminatory nature of how the only federal employees subject to this cut are military retirees. Last year, the Government Accountability Office identified $250 billion in government fraud, waste and abuse, yet our political leaders could not take the time to cut $6 billion from it to maintain the promises to our vets, let alone cut any of it to help with our serious budget deficits.

The bill was pushed through for political expediency without due process of committee review and debate. What does it say about solving our serious national fiscal problems? What does this say about the value our nation places on those who give the most?

RANDY WHIPPLE, Lt. Col. USAF, Ret., Middleton

Other guy’s fault

No matter the problem it is always the other guy’s fault. If you are a Democrat blame the Republicans, and if you are a Republican blame the Democrats.

Those who watch Fox blame those who watch MSNBC or CNN. Those who watch MSNBC and CNN blame Fox.

The truth is we all hear what we want to hear, most of us have our minds made up as to what we believe. The other guy is the one that should change, not me!

CHUCK EGAN, Meridian

Gas prices

The recent “Another View” was right on. “Highway Robbery: Your gas taxes fund California lifestyle.” Highway taxes are now slush funds, like the one proposed in Idaho. We can’t tell you in advance what we will use it for, but give us lots of money and then we will decide. If the bosses would give me an exact project work plan, which will not be changed after they get the money, I would consider it. But another slush fund, no way.


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