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Opinion Column
For the week of April 4 through April 10, 2001

Idaho Lawmakers: 
Loco logic at work

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

Never underestimate the Idaho Legislatureís uncanny capacity to outdo itself with yet a new madcap idea.

Priding itself as "the nationís most Republican Legislature," this body established a new high in political egocentricity.

After deciding to shell out $64 million more or less to restore and repair the aging state Capitol, legislators then continued to defy a court order to adequately fund repairs for aging, rundown public schools, and instead sarcastically dribbled out repair funds.

If that seems odd, catch the Legislatureís loco logic in another maneuver involving the public purse.

After appropriating several hundred million dollars of state funds to match other hundreds of millions of federal dollars for state social programs, Republican legislators inserted a not-so-fast proviso.

Agencies helping needy children, the mentally ill, victims of domestic violence, the deaf and hard of hearing, and others are instructed not to spread the word of their services.

By trying to keep Idahoís social programs a secret, Republican legislators hope not so many of the needy will show up for help ĺ thus saving Idaho money on programs set up by the Legislature to help the needy.

But why stop the craziness there?

Skinflint Republicans could instruct all state agencies to de-list their telephone numbers in the next edition of the phone book. Ditto for legislative phone numbers where constituents call for help. Phone calls unquestionably would plummet.

In time, the Legislature could shrink the number of agencies offering assistance to taxpayers. And then lawmakers could rent empty state offices to lobbyists to improve state revenues.


President Bush II has chosen a smart strategy for dealing with his mangling of the English language: heís poking fun at his clumsy speech.

He wisecracked the other day that some folks suspect Yogi ("It ainít over `til itís over") Berra is his speechwriter.

For this, millions of future young men should be grateful.

When parents complain that their male offspring are sliding through college on weak grades (as Bush did), partying like college frat boys into their 30s (as Bush did), and speaking without polish (as Bush does), the boys will have a response:

"Chill it, folks. This is how George Bush prepared to be President of the United States."


Over the past several months, tens of thousands of U.S. workers have lost jobs after corporate CEOs decided that pink-slipping employees would improve company profits.

Now, hereís some news that should make jobless workers wonder about motives of ex-employers.

According to the New York executive compensation consulting firm of Pearl Meyer & Partners, CEOs of the nationís top 200 corporations received an average ĺ repeat, average ó compensation of $10.89 million last year, a 16 percent increase over 1999.

So despite falling stock values and lower profits, business is plenty good if youíre the CEO of even a company thatís in bad shape financially and laying off other employees.



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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.