Let’s start to solve the problem

I heard an interview about COVID-19 with Paul Romer, Nobel Laureate in Economics, now at NYU. Romer reminded us that the near single reason behind the economic downturn is the pandemic. Pretty plain and simple. Sometimes I think we get lost in the numbers (new cases, total cases, deaths, etc.).

Other times we get lost in all the fighting in congress concerning what type of economic stimulus we need. But in the end, we will not save lives nor bring the economy to its proper level until we control the pandemic. Simple equation, control the pandemic, improve the economy. Not rocket science, not even Nobel Prize winning economics, just simple math/logic.

The United States has the highest per capita case infection rate in the world. India with a population approximately four times greater than ours, has a COVID-19 per capita case value one tenth of the U.S. We are arguably the richest country in the world with the worst control of the pandemic. This does not make sense.

So clearly the executive branch of our national government is failing. I would like to urge everyone to write to our federal senators and congressional representatives. Implore them to work together on developing a central pandemic control program. When we control the pandemic nationwide, we will improve the economy and we will save lives.

Please take the time to contact our elected leaders. I believe if we all take the time to actively urge them to act in our best interest, we will make progress in the control of the pandemic and our return to more normal life.

Larry Fox


In-person education at UI

We must not assume we are defenseless against COVID-19, nor should we assume planning and execution to slow and stop the spread of the virus will fail. It is scientifically unsound to assume controlling the spread of the virus is impossible. COVID is not a mystical being with super-powers that cannot be defeated.

The goal of mastering and controlling the environment in which the virus thrives is not obtuse or unintelligent. The virus can be defeated, and science has shown a way — and the University of Idaho has the bold and brave commitment to do it. UI can accomplish this.

UI is a respected institution and has some of the best minds in the country involved in the planning process. We also have a president, faculty and staff that are working tirelessly to implement tons of procedures and plans based on science and CDC guidelines, that have a very high likelihood of being successful.

With the implementation of a uniquely robust set of safety measures with Gritman Medical Center and Idaho Health, UI can safely open with in-person classes just like more than 1,000 colleges across the country including all four-year Idaho institutions and our main competitors in Montana and Utah.

With required masks, on-campus testing of every student, isolating students who test positive in an on-campus facility, physically rearranged classrooms, social distancing, temp scanning, thorough cleaning and education on these topics, we can provide safe in-person classes.

Going online could be easier in many ways, but it would be the worst possible outcome for many employees and students — and our local economy. The university is the lifeblood of this community. We owe it to ourselves to support UI’s powerful and vigorous plan to open safely.

Cindy Barnhart


Argument appears irrational

Douglas Call’s His View, “Have evangelicals made a Faustian bargain?” appears irrational to me. It is the “left” that has made a Faustian bargain expecting socialism or precommunism to turn out differently than it has every time in the past. If the left gets its wishes, only Satan wins in the short run.

Another term for repeating an action expecting it to come out different is “insanity.” For a Christian — I will use that term rather than evangelical, since the latter has become more nebulous in recent years — support for socialism would only be possible in a sinless society, which we obviously do not live in.

Corrupt socialism as practiced today generally appears to hate Christianity and wants to relegate it to inconsequential corners or stamp it out. A portion of the left is also seeking to move the U.S. into subservience to a one-world government, which has even more downsides. I thank God for President Trump. The only alternative offered is not pleasant to think about.

Yes, President Trump has some character traits that I would rather he did not have, but he has done much for the country and fought to maintain the First Amendment right of persons to practice their religions unhindered by the government. This country has suffered much during President Trump’s term of office because the deep state, the left and the mainstream media have put their socialist agendas ahead of what is best for the country and done everything in their power to make Trump look bad. They are selling their souls to the devil in the process. As Christians we are commanded to pray for our leaders, including President Trump, and to work for the good of the country where we live. That means we work and vote against socialistic and one-world government agendas.

Larry Kirkland


Little does little for schools

Gov. Little seems to have won his battle against adequate funding for Idaho schools. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his request to block Reclaim Idaho from gathering signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot that, if approved, would have increased funding for K–12 education through small tax increases on high earners and corporations.

Idaho currently ranks dead last nationally in funding per pupil. In 2019, Idaho spent a miserly $7,459 per student versus a national average of $12,994. Reclaim Idaho’s modest proposal hoped to increase per-student spending by roughly $600, thus raising Idaho from dead last to … still dead last. We’re so underfunded that even Utah, the second-from-last spender, spends $700 more per student.

This moderate change was enough for Little to fight all the way to the Supreme Court. Apparently, the $99 million he cut from our schools’ budget in May wasn’t enough.

While he did return a fraction of that amount ($50 million) to fund coronavirus protections, this appears to have been done primarily to pressure a return to in-person instruction even as cases of the virus are spiking across the state. In his own words, “It’s imperative that students return to their classrooms and interact directly with their teachers and classmates.”

Ironically, after successfully quashing public funding for education, Little posted a Tweet asking Idahoans to donate their old computers to local schools. Apparently, he does believe in Idahoans paying for education; just not his wealthy donors.

Little is willing to restrict Idahoans’ democratic rights and deny their children a decent education all to protect the wealth of the wealthy and to further the pandemic-denying agenda of his party. We deserve a governor who puts the health, well-being and educational prospects of Idaho’s children first.

Ryan Urie


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