April 12, 2006


Around this time of year, you may feel a little like the man who, when he claimed the federal government as a dependent on his tax return, was disappointed when they disallowed the claim because he wasnâ??t contributing more than half his income to support it. In April, taxes can seem particularly onerous. With the tax cuts of 2001, 2003 and 2004 still in effect, 75 percent of federal taxpayers fall in tax brackets of 10 to 25 percent. While these cuts have contributed to significant economic gr… Continue Reading

April 05, 2006


Our national character includes two abiding principles: one, we are a nation of immigrants; and two, we live under a peaceful system that upholds the rule of law. Within our borders, every culture and ethnicity in the world is represented. Almost all who live here can easily trace their ancestry to a foreign country, often with great pride. For most, this pride is integral to, not in conflict with our American citizenship. Our political and economic stability is rooted in a deep, very American r… Continue Reading

March 22, 2006


During the recent debate in the Senate over the federal budget, Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and I introduced an amendment that would stop the United States government from raiding the so-called Social Security Trust Fund. I highlight the term â??Trust Fundâ?? because itâ??s misleading. Every year the federal government uses the surplus deposited into the Old Age Survivors and Disability Income (OASDI), more commonly referred to as Social Security, to cover expenses incurred in other go… Continue Reading

March 15, 2006


While she was putting her eleven younger siblings to bed, word reached the house: the British were burning Danbury, Connecticut, 25 miles away. Sixteen-year-old Sybilâ??s father was colonel of the local militia and his men lived throughout a wide area around their hometown of Fredericksburg, New York. The responsible young patriot knew what to do. Convincing her father to let her go, Sybil rode her horse 40 miles that dark April night in 1777 to sound the alarm. The men she roused from sleep arr… Continue Reading

March 08, 2006


The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered.Moral: When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.-Robert Fulghum (1937- ) American writerFebruary is a month associated primarily with Valentines Day--a time when many of us share love, friendship and encouragement with family and friends. It is a time when caring for others is at the forefront of our thoughts an… Continue Reading

March 08, 2006


English historian Arnold Toynbee wryly observed, â??America is like a large, friendly dog in a very small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.â?? Notwithstanding Toynbeeâ??s conceit, he alludes to an indisputable truism: when America takes military or economic action, at home or abroad, the rest of the world is affected. Our grand history has prepared us for this role and means that our nation carries a responsibility regarding to world affairs and stability. United States&… Continue Reading

March 08, 2006


She was sixteen--the age when many teenage girls are involved sports, music, school, church, close friendships and first dates. This would have been her... Was it just a year ago, maybe 18 months? How things had changed--standing in the county jail, eyes sunken, hair patchy, skin covered in open sores, rail thin, waiting for her brand-new baby to be taken for medical care for methamphetamine addiction and then foster care. What had she done? It was just a little hit less than two years agoâ?¦Thi… Continue Reading

February 15, 2006


â??At present, two worries are paramount. That despite publicity and government educational efforts, many of those participating remain in the dark about what it will and will not coverâ?¦As to the first problem, it is perhaps unavoidable that some persons remain uninformed despite good intentions and earnest efforts. Whatever the arguments have been and will be against it, Medicare deserves a fair trial.â?? San Angelo Standard-Times This observation is a little dated--almost forty years to be e… Continue Reading

February 08, 2006


Prioritization is key to responsible personal and business budgeting. Financial needs should be carefully examined keeping in mind current realities and the longer view over years. Funding sources must be evaluated for their reliability. When it comes to the federal budget, the process gets even more complicated. Priorities must be established. Tough fiscal realities face us at all levels, dictating allocation of scarce federal funding resources. Unlike employment or business income these source… Continue Reading

February 01, 2006


Times of testing and trial reveal a number of truths. Character becomes evident. Priorities are defined. Hearts are revealed for what lies beneath the surface. Leaders emerge, as well as those willing to follow with wisdom, discernment and honesty. President Bush called this time in history â??a time of consequence.â?? Never easy, choices made now, as he told our nation in the annual State of the Union address, define Americaâ??s future at home and abroad.We choose courage in the ongoing battle … Continue Reading

January 25, 2006


According to national research, thereâ??s a very real chance that about one-third of teenage girls in high school or middle school have been hit, punched or kicked by a boyfriend. Itâ??s highly likely that this violence didnâ??t just come out of the blue, and that verbal and emotional abuse preceded these attacks. If youâ??re a parent, are you aware that this happens regularly? Did you know that boys are also victims of dating violence? Did you know that teen dating violence has ended in death, … Continue Reading

January 18, 2006


For years now, landowners, environmentalists and state and federal agencies responsible for implementation and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have been working to improve the Act. The status quo is not producing the best possible outcome for species or people. And although stakeholders continue to advocate for meaningful improvements, the stalemate goes on. In the meantime, the survival of one species after another, and one ranch or farm after another is called into question. Th… Continue Reading

January 11, 2006


During my tenure in Congress, I have served on both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees. One of the most valuable tools I have discovered when preparing to write a farm bill is organizing a series of statewide town hall meetings. These meetings give me, my staff and agency staff the opportunity to gather information about the strengths and weaknesses of the bill from those who are most affected by farm policy on the ground in Idaho. This is valuable first-hand information that provides t… Continue Reading

January 04, 2006


When Alexis de Tocqueville, in his quest to learn more about our new country toured the United States in the early part of the 19th century, he noted in his diary that Americans were ready and willing givers to charity. Something he considered rather unique. He said that Americans saw a need, for a school, a hospital or a church, or any other kind of service, they formed an association and began to work on raising private funds to help. No one had to prompt them and there was no government invol… Continue Reading

December 21, 2005


On December 15, 2005, I introduced the bipartisan Collaboration for the Recovery of the Endangered Species Act (CRESA). For years now, Iâ??ve heard from many individuals and groups about the need to improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As we debate this bill in 2006, I look forward to working with all who have concerns and suggestions on this critical issue. Over the years our state and nation have fiercely debated the merits of the ESA. But there is one fundamental concept on which all agr… Continue Reading

December 14, 2005


It is hard to believe that weâ??ve come to the close of yet another year. For many of us, the days, weeks and months have fairly flown by and now we find ourselves in the midst of December, perhaps wondering how weâ??ll be ready in time for our holiday celebrations, or for the really organized, thrilled to be done with most of the preparations. December provides an opportunity to think back on the yearâ??s events and look ahead to what 2006 will bring. Idahoans have seen both the departure and t… Continue Reading

December 07, 2005


Winter has come early to parts of Idaho this year. The grey snowy days, slippery roads and no small amount of shoveling might seem oppressive at times, but these cold winter days also bear the possibility of relief from the drought that has gripped Idaho for years now. Similarly, in the aftermath of the dot-com collapse, September 11 and the ongoing military efforts in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the economy has been in an ongoing state of recovery that may have seeme… Continue Reading

November 30, 2005


Simplicity just isnâ??t a word synonymous with taxes. With nearly $150 billion spent annually on compliance, federal taxes are a confusing web of seemingly arbitrary rules, endless line items, schedules and worksheets. Even with multiple instruction books, maneuvering the maze of the tax code is costly and time-consuming. Individuals and businesses must participate in a national discussion about a simpler tax system, one that collects sufficient revenue to meet appropriate federal responsibiliti… Continue Reading

November 23, 2005


December is a time when we gather gifts for family and friends and for those in need. This generosity is generally understood in the context of a one-way actionâ??a true gift comes with no expectation of something in return. Our gain is the knowledge that the gift has brought someone else joy, respite or relief from trouble. The surprised and excited cries of children on Christmas morning; warm embrace of a loved one on a candlelit evening; or, knowing that a child or family somewhere else is wa… Continue Reading

November 16, 2005


HEARTY, HEALTHY AND HAPPY THANKSGIVINGGuest opinion submitted by Idaho Senator Mike CrapoThanksgiving is just around the cornerâ??for many, a time of family, friends and food. Every family has its own special blend of dishes, as diverse as our proud American heritage. As we prepare for and enjoy our Thanksgiving dinners or provide for those less fortunate, itâ??s also a good time to think about our health as November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.Type 2 Diabetes accounts for 90-95 percent… Continue Reading

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