Tag Archives: Boise

Place and Politics: Idaho’s Spirit of Localism

Tim Woodward

Last year, former Idaho Statesman political writer Dan Popkey demonstrated his willingness to shill for a corrupt sheriff in more than one way. But despite aiding and abetting an illegal release of information for political purposes, Popkey continued to write for the Statesman until very recently. Thus, it was with my faith in the newspaper’s integrity and judgment severely damaged that I recently picked up a book by now-retired Statesman writer Tim Woodward. Like Popkey, Woodward has been formally recognized for his writing achievements; fortunately, that’s where the similarities end. Continue reading

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Obamacare Customer Service or: How to Rig Idaho’s Job Market

Media sources in Idaho cheerfully announced the arrival of 1,800 new jobs last July when Virginia-based firm Maximus, Inc decided to open a call center in Boise. Aside from a couple threatening notes that caused its building to be evacuated for several hours, Maximus has been out of the spotlight in Idaho. This isn’t particularly surprising, considering Maximus employees are forbidden to speak of the company, even on social media, without permission.

Providing obamacare customer service

This “help” ain’t cheap

Who is Maximus? Its motto is “Helping Government Serve the People” – which sounds harmless enough until you remember some of the egregious ways the federal government “serves” the people of Idaho. As a government contractor generating over $1 billion in revenue for 2012, Maximus handles the profit side of the increasingly familiar crony capitalist equation. Continue reading

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Why Localism?

By Tate Fegley and Jackson B. Archer

hyde park

Hyde Park Book Store by Thickstun Fine Art

Can a nation ever become too large? Can there be too many people living under the same government? How many people can a representative government truly represent? Aristotle, among other great thinkers, taught the importance of “human scale;” i.e., that there is a proper size for all useful things, including governments, and that this size is relative to the human person. Although it is not commonplace to do so, we ask whether the United States today fits this definition.

The problems facing us today give us reason to believe that the US has vastly surpassed the maximum size

of what could be considered human scale in terms of its ability to govern justly, be held accountable, and allow communities to live as the individuals within them choose. In the place of such centralized power over such a large number of people, we advocate “localism,” the idea that power should devolve to the most local level that is practical. Here are a few good reasons to support localism:

Localism is Neither “Left” nor “Right”

There are disagreements about the role of government in our lives. Whether you consider yourself politically left, right, or neither, we think local officials should make decisions rather than bureaucrats thousands of miles away. And whether you believe government should have a more or less active role in governing the environment, won’t the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality have a better assessment of local environmental issues than the EPA? We certainly think so. And consider: It’s possible that the endless disagreement about what should be taught in schools could be solved by simply putting control of curriculum at the most local level; then parents can make choices rather than a centralized entity dictating a one-size-fits-all program. In the face of ideological and political disagreement, localism is the best means for bringing out the best solution each person has to offer. Continue reading

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