The straw legislature of 2021

Idaho’s most powerful politicians want us to believe that we need solutions to problems that don’t exist. While the Legislature rejected some of our precious rights – such as our right to citizen initiatives – the supermajority politicians focused their energy and our attention on the wrong issues. Today, Idaho is on the verge of being known more for its “straw” than for its potatoes. I’ll explain.

A prominent Republican noted that Critical Race Theory (CRT, which was never taught in Idaho schools) consumed the most legislative time this year. Misguided political leaders feared that white students would be trained to be ashamed that their ancestors supported slavery and that some people were denied opportunities because of their skin color or ethnicity.

In the hours following the demand for the radicalized forums, the Idaho Education Board, appointed by Republicans, disputed the allegations. Yet even though CRT never existed in Idaho’s lesson plans, they passed unnecessary bills and spent an enormous amount of time in a frothy and heated debate.

Here’s where the straw comes in.

Strawman Theory is a form of weak argument with three simple steps: 1) the politician creates a problem that does not exist; 2) they develop an unnecessary solution and 3) they take credit for solving the “problem”. The invented problem is that of the “straw man”. This is what the super-majority legislators have just done to us.

Now watch how they take credit for solving problems that never existed.

No more straw

As a businessman, I have known that there has been a labor shortage in Idaho for over a decade. But recently, you may have heard some say that the labor shortage in Idaho is the result of the federal government paying people more to stay home than to work. It is simply not true.

A stabilized workforce (no shortage, no overabundance of workers) represents around 5% of unemployment. We hit historic highs of around 11% during the pandemic, mostly in the service sector, from hotels to restaurants. Today, Idaho’s unemployment rate is around 3.5%, at pre-pandemic levels. The Gem State simply does not have enough workers – for many reasons. One reason is that nationally about 63% (2020) of high school graduates attend college or trades school, while in Idaho only 38% (2020) of students ” continue to improve their skills and grow in numbers. marketable. This number has decreased over the past 10 years! Another reason is that a record number of Idaho students “move” to neighboring states for higher salaries.

It is a mistake to attribute a long-term labor shortage to short-term unemployment insurance. The bottom line is, Idaho residents are working in record numbers. Many have two jobs. We are running out of workers because we discourage higher education and attack the very education system that produces the workers Idaho businesses need.

Sadly, there is political gain to be had by calling the federal government a straw man and cutting unemployment benefits for ordinary Idaho families.

No more straw men

Governor Little and his legislature feared the people of Idaho would threaten the political power structure by adopting citizens’ initiatives. A straw man, stuffed with dreadful and false claims that the Idaho campaign was somehow being abandoned, quickly came to life. The solution to this imposing straw man was to make it almost impossible to qualify citizens’ initiatives by ballot.

As the supermajority politicians screamed about the CRT, they threw individual rights on fire. And so, again and again, this year a Strawman has been deployed.

I had lunch with a senior Republican leader recently and the subject of voter fraud arose. He raised his hand and said, “I don’t understand the protections in place that prohibit voter fraud – but there is something about voter fraud.”

I explained that each elector receives an affidavit number and that the ballots carry this number electronically. This system ensures that the voter only has one vote counted.

“It sounds too simple,” said the chef.

Nonetheless, the legislature then spent more time creating and passing unnecessary laws to solve another non-existent problem.

This is how the supermajority of the straw man “serves” the public. Now watch them go home to take credit for protecting Idaho’s voting systems, which have long been the most secure and secure systems in the world of democracies.

But let’s challenge these selfish politicians whenever we have them. Let them tackle our real problems with real solutions. Let’s stop them from making Idaho the “famous straw state”.

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