Fiction and paranoia in Idaho paper editorial

Editor: 

I don’t know how much fiction is acceptable in a feature guest editorial, but the one you ran on Monday shows that a lot of paranoia and French-fried lunacy is being cooked up in downtown St. Maries, Idaho. Let’s take the merely misleading first. While it may be true to say that the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of wages and paid 49 percent of income taxes, that is the lowest contribution they have made since the Roaring Twenties. That’s just before the world economy collapsed, empowering an autocratic bully and leading to World War II. Ring any bells? Pity the poor billionaires even though they have captured all income growth in the economy since 2008? Ask us to believe that billionaires accumulate wealth on wages alone? Seriously? You might get away with selling that to spud pickers in Idaho but most of us making the same real wages since the ’70s know better. Any self-respecting 1-percenter will tell you wages are for suckers. 

The creative paranoia? Hillary and Bill will bring demons to the visions of any informed voter with the collective $113 million of contributions from Wall Street, their penchant for truthiness, outright lies and deference to the police state, but the last I read a felon she’s not. In the good old USA, unless a verdict is rendered, we don’t know. That’s why Henry Kissinger, George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfield can still walk around the USA even if they can’t go to Europe for fear of arrest.

The real whopper of an outright lie, of course, is the statement that socialism doesn’t work. So here’s how our version of capitalism ranks in the world: 43rd in life expectancy, 37th in health care, 20th in political stability, 34th in childhood poverty, 94th on the Global Peace Index, 13th in social ability (you know, the pulling up by ones bootstraps thing) and 22nd in business environment.

When you actually do real research, you find that in infrastructure, life expectancy, family paid leave, health care, social mobility, income inequality, political corruption, government efficiency, economic stability, childhood poverty, student debt, water quality, education, prosperity, happiness and even Internet speed, you find that we don’t make it into the top 10 in any one of these categories. 

Social democracies work, and people in them thrive in comparison to us by any measure. I don’t really care that in I -D -Hoe they form a circular firing squad when it comes to truth and how they see the world, but asking people to shape opinion based on lies, mistruths and fictional characterizations is Fox’s business. It does a disservice to your readers. I have both conservative and liberal friends, and both can make solid factually based arguments for their point of view. What you presented subverts the expression of factual discourse and polarizes our town. We have enough of that already and don’t need the imports.

Bob Hamre
Livingston

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