Chris Kipfer: Appealing to fear


— Richard Rickerson’s appeal to fear and anger (“Immigration and the ballot initiatives,” Oct. 20 Steamboat Today) is emblematic of this political season in America, and reminiscent of the 1930s. In Germany, a different minority was identified as the cause of all woes. In this country, we had Father Coughlin and his anti-Semitic followers. If you want to spend some time researching the cost of illegal immigration, you can find statistics that range from Rickerson’s extreme to those of a number of respected economists who assert that there is a net economic gain from illegal immigration based on the payroll, income and sales taxes that are paid by them.

Of course, nonpartisan studies by the National Academy of Science, the Public Policy Institute, The University of California-Davis, etc., are easily dismissed if superstars like Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs don’t endorse them. Fear mongering about immigration, terrorism and Islam becomes an easy sell to frustrated, unhappy citizens.

The fact is that immigrants had no more to do with the worldwide financial crisis now than the Jews had to do with the crisis of the 1930s. In both cases, it was caused by too little government attention and regulation of the financial markets.

Having survived the earlier crisis with the massive intervention of government and the largest deficit in percentage of GDP that we have ever had leading to years of prosperity, I can only hope that this country still has the grit and good sense to tune out these purveyors of fear whose real agenda still is unknown.


hereandthere 6 years, 7 months ago

Excellent comments. The small minded and imbittered have always been able to find some "other group" to focus their fear on; be it the Irish, the Jews, the Italians, the Communists, the Blacks, the Mexicans, the Homosexual, whatever. Let us stand fast and act as the wall that these fear mongers run up against.


seeuski 6 years, 7 months ago

I get sick and tired of the Progressives like the letter writer who find it their right to use the suffering of others as their vehicle and sledge hammer in a debate such as the open borders on the Mexican, US border. I am angered by the comparison of my views about the crisis we are currently in regarding illegal's and the drug Cartels and what my people went through during the Holocaust. STOP USING THE JEWS AS YOUR SCAPEGOAT! Remembering terrible incidents like the MS St. Louis and the innocent people who were sent back to their deaths at the hands of the Fascists/Socialists and my family who perished in Ludz Poland is in no g-damn way comparable to the dilemma we face in these current day issues. I despise the use of this tact by Chris Kipfer and am more determined than ever to stand up against the Socialists that are now setting their sites on the US as they did in Europe. Speak to any old timer who escaped those times and came to the USA to find the freedom to live, work, pray and travel without fear and they will tell you, as they have me, that they see the same symptoms today that were in play during the 30"s that led up to the disaster that this letter writer uses in his ideological viewpoint expressed here. In summation Mr.Kipfer, thanks for the talking points but I have seen this garbage expressed by the usual sources and the hypocrisy is palpable, especially when the same left wing groups blame the Jews for the actions of the terrorist activities perpetrated by Jihadis, whether it is Rev, Wright or Farrakhan or any of the Progressive org's that rail against Israel, we have heard this line before and it is old. Use the Jews on one hand and then blame them on the other, just argue your position and leave them out of it.


sledneck 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes, Hereandthere, They are all a bunch of small minded, imbittered, hate-speaking, anti-semitic, racist, homo-phobic, fear- mongering, commie hating, nazis. Excellent investigation. I bet that took months of research to confirm all those "facts".

Thomas Sowell painted your portrait in his book "Intelligentsia in America". You are royalty, we are the peasants who exist to serve you. How dare we voice ANY opinion, much less one that differs from our masters!


ybul 6 years, 7 months ago

How about the group of the largest percentage of debt to GDP today, versus the largest percentage of deficit to GDP. This countries economic condition more closely resembles Germanys prior in the late 20s than any other time.

Let us see who the "progressives" demonize. Even many whites despise what the "white" people have done. We have been taught to despise this country.

This all the while failing to see what the foundations of this country are based upon. Too bad that we are not taught that this country was founded on Iriquois principles largely.

The fear that most I see is of a government run amok, that wants to RFID all of my chickens, horses and probably all of my family members. Unfortunately the socialists feel that we are not able to govern ourselves. However, they want the freedom of choice to choose what to eat, drive, read or what. That freedom of choice will go away, when it is determined by good, bad or biased science that beef is bad, tofu is good or whatever.

Maybe the idea is that we should strive to allow people to live their lives, make their own choices (even it causes them harm as they will learn from those choices) and try to ensure that others do not harm anyone else's property, be it through theft, pollution or whatever you can think of. That is the role of government to ensure that others rights are not trampled upon.

By the way, the programs of the thirties did nothing to pull us out of the depression. Why did we not need similar policies in the 1870's to pull us out of that depression. What about the other depressions that occur about every 70 years or two generations. These are caused by a populace that is forgetful of the side effects of debt/leverage. Great thing when it is working for you and awful when it is unwinding (as it is today for most americans as debt was used for not productive investments) We consumed the capital that our forefathers saved and some of our children's capital that still needs earned. We are at a point we need to go back to the well and work hard to get back to a prosperity level that had been enjoyed before.

We need to go back to the source of wealth (solar energy) and work towards building upon that near endless supply of wealth to rebuild some of what this country enjoyed in the past. Taking the base wealth and adding value to it.


sledneck 6 years, 7 months ago

ybul, Well said. The role of government is to protect our God-given, in-alienable rights, not to be a sugar-daddy, passing out newly imagined "rights" that depend on robbing society.

Frederic Bastiat explained it perfectly in his priceless, timeless work, "The Law".


Chris Kipfer 6 years, 6 months ago

Any chance that you or yours are collecting Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid? Do you support current levels of defense spending? Those items constitute 95% of the big federal government. Our current problem with the growing national debt can only be solved by reducing spending on these items and increasing tax revenues. The bipartisan Debt Reduction Commission appointed by executive order will report back after the election. Mitch Mcconnel's Republicans who blocked any legislative Debt Reduction Commission will soon have to consider these recommendations,like it or not. So, distract the voters with some scape-goating,and lies. They were afraid of asking any sacrifice from the voters,especially the wealthiest ones, just before an election,so they allowed the congress to have another year at the trough.

I was in high school when Eisenhower took office and the highest tax rate on the top income was 90% during his administration. Unemployment was so low that summer jobs were plentiful, and no one worried about Mexican workers.. I had my pick of jobs in 1958 graduating from college. In those days the wealthiest citizens believed in a system based on Freedom WITH Responsibility. Do you enjoy the Interstate Highway System? That was stimulus without the current Republicans at the trough.

A true conservative libertarian employer would be for the best qualified hardest working employees. There are businesses in this town that need them. This is a terribly politically incorrect but true. The biggest problem in our economy is a shortage of workers trained to do high value high paid work. If we are afraid of Mexicans taking our jobs then our country is in an awful state. We need to address the problems in our education system. More importantly the attitude that children should be coddled from birth to unemployment and praised for minimal performance has to change. Parents who complain that their children have too much homework should be laughed at. Education should be seen as training toward high value employment first,intellectual development second. Germany has recovered rapidly from the financial crisis and currently needs more immigrant labor. Why? They have a supremely well trained labor force. 50% of their labor force has gone through work-study subsidized apprenticeship programs. They don't have to worry about their jobs being exported or taken by Turks or Mexicans. 50% of S&P American Corporate income is now generated and taxed outside of the USA. This is why big donors like the Koch Brothers sponsor the Tea Party. Gridlock in Washington is good for the share holders,and even better for the Executive Class. Voting for more of the same appears to be the direction of this election,ironically in the name of Change. The Republicans made change or compromise impossible for the last two years,and and God help us if the Tea Party continues the trend.


Chris Kipfer 6 years, 6 months ago

By the way YBUL, My Aunt Emma in Peoria thought that the stimulus programs of the 30's were pointless,but then she also thought that Hitler was doing a better job until the invasion of Poland. By 1936 my parents were optimistic enough to have another baby,me, thank goodness employment was recovering. No, the 30's efforts of the Roosevelt Administration were not enough. We needed the largest deficit in per cent of GDP that we have ever had with WWII as justification. The restucturing from agricultural to manufacturing economy was accelerated further in the post-war economy by a big government program called the GI bill that along with Corporate training programs created the well trained highly skilled workforce that sustained the average economic growth rate. Only a few young people are eligible for GI bill help today,and concentration on next quarter profits has doomed corporate training programs. We felt that we lived in the most freedom in the world back then: with those big government programs.

In my youth there still was considerable prejudice against jews,even after the holocaust there were many people in this country who blamed jewish bankers for causing WWII. Obviously as absurd as blaming Mexicans for causing unemployment.


ybul 6 years, 6 months ago


The problem today Chirs, is that today we are a debtor nation as was Germany in the 20's (they learned their lesson), in the 20s we were a net savor. We have consumed our wealth. Maybe as opposed to simply trying to throw money at the problem we should be focused on building wealth generating jobs.

I have seen none of that in the stimulus. I see roads which facilitate the transportation of goods made overseas to the nearest Walmart for sale. Set up a business loan program at the federal level to help small business compete. Get rid of the current mechanism for funding unemployment as it only taxes those who employ people yet rewards those who ship our jobs overseas.

There are many different ways for people to come together and unite to rebuild the country, however, we sit in grid lock, saying these guys are bad or they were. It is time to find common ground and move forward based upon that common ground. One item at a time as opposed to bills that are so large that they are impossible to read without weeks of invested time so that hidden agendas can be injected into them, ala the health care bill.

Unemployment funding is an easy item as it is breaking most states today. Yet to increase the tax to fund it will create more unemployment and drive more jobs away. Have a sales tax fund this one item, unconstitutional as it is. This way anything made in the states and shipped out does not pay into the pie and stuff made elsewhere and brought in does.

What topic next, renewable energy, global warming? Tax those industries which pollute, yep going to irritate See, but if they are taking away from the health of others then they should be forced to pay an impact fee which then can go to help cover health care costs. This helps to bring back balance to a free market. This also makes wind energy more competitive so that the government does not need to subsidize it.

How about agriculture, we seem to be funding an agenda which is making us sick. This also consolidates power in the hands of a few. Get rid of the DoA that would save a bunch of money and also go to help out thrid world farmers who are being put out of business because they can not compete with our subsidized grains.

Also this benefits from not taxing employers for their employees for unemployment. This as with subsidies and the added cost of employees tractors make it less expensive to grow crops mechanically. In addition those subsidies are skewing our diets from what traditionally was consumed and making us sick because our food has lost so much of it nutrient density that we are forced to eat twice as much or more to get the same nutritional content because our farming methods have depleted our soils.

What else?


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