John Livingston

Silencing the Free Market Lambs

Cronyism at its worst in Idaho-Pay up to get paid back.

I am no longer associated with the Idaho Freedom Foundation. I believe in their principles, and I believe in their commitment to small government and liberty ideals. Ron Nate has been an incredible addition to the organization, and it will be because of people like he and his wife that will enable the (IFF) to grow and adjust to a changing political environment. In testimony last week before The Senate Commerce Committee that was considering (HB24) — The Idaho Launch Program, Professor Nate who is a professor at BYU Rexburg in the Department of Economics, made a short, cognizant, reasonable argument based on well excepted economic principles: The meat of his argument can be seen in the fourth paragraph of his printed presentation:

Replacing market forces with a government bureau trying to fill industry demands will lead to distortions, including deficiencies in other industries. Farmers will find it more difficult to find qualified labor when some workers are being bought off by a government training handout for more preferred industries. 

What happened next comes out of the Liz Cheney Adam Schiff playbook:

Professor Nate was simply pointing out the corruption in our State—and let me be clear corruption does not need to be illegal to be harmful to individuals, businesses or to the political process. Behind the scenes leverage with campaign contributions to individual candidates or to political action campaigns marginalizes the voice of “We the People”. When Professor Nate pointed out specific cases of such influence like campaign contributions by lobbyists representing corporate interests, he was simply demonstrating how these activities lessen the impact that an individual campaign contribution has in a legislative election. His point was well taken because the Committee Chairman asked for a police officer to escort Professor Nate from the podium. “Me thinks he doth protests too much”. The virtue of EQUANIMITY was certainly not in the Chairmen’s toolbox.

The symbiotic relationship between lobbyists and the corporate interests they represent, and elected officials and heads of government agencies that are charged with regulating the businesses that are exerting undue influence of the process of governance, is drowning out the “voice of the people”.

The people on this list are all to be respected for the achievements of their lives. I do not respect them for exerting undue influence on the political process. The blame doesn’t rest with them however, it rests with the people who were elected to represent us. Corporate interest has replaced the interest of the citizen and that’s wrong. Corporate materialism is replacing capitalism in Idaho. Just like what has happened in Silicon Valley and why people are fleeing so many “Blue States”. When they come to Idaho they may be in for a big surprise. The list:

The following individuals are appointees on the Workforce Development Council, and here are some details of how they have helped Governor Little in recent campaigns:

  • Denise Hoehne, Winco Foods, chair of the WFDC – personally donated to Brad Little’s campaign.
  • Ben Davidson, Idaho Central Credit Union – his company donated over $100,000 to ICULAC which supported many establishment candidates and Brad Little’s campaign.
  • Sarah Griffin, Idaho Power – her company donated over $20,000 to Friends of Brad Little PAC.
  • Tom Kealey, Idaho Commerce – personally donated over $5,700 to Brad Little’s campaign.
  • Liza Leonard, Ball Ventures – her company just last month, donated $20,000 to Friends of Brad Little PAC and $168,000 since 2020 to campaigns for establishment legislators, many of whom voted for H24.
  • James Pegram, J.R. Simplot – his company donated over $20,000 to Brad Little’s campaign.
  • Matt Van Vleet, Clearwater Paper – his company donated $8,000 to Brad Little’s campaign.
  • Daniel Puga, In Time Tec – his company donated $5,000 to the Idaho Prosperity Fund, run by the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI), which is promoting this bill.
  • Marie Price, Idaho Forest Group – her organization donated $5,000 to Friends of Brad Little PAC and even more to the Idaho Prosperity Fund.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. How can a government organization embedded in the Department of Labor increase its’ budget from $33 million to $100 million in a short couple of years. Look at the organization chart below.

A picture is worth at least 717 words. See below:

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