Stagnating Reporting at the Idaho Statesman

Over a month ago, in a post entitled The Right to Work for Low Wages, I discussed the impact the 1986 “right to work” legislation had on Idaho workers. Rather than spread myths about how RTW legislation would bring high paying jobs to Idaho, I cited evidence from Elise Gould and Heidi Shierholz, researchers at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), showing the opposite:

[O]ur findings — that “right-to-work” laws are associated with significantly lower wages and reduced chances of receiving employer-sponsored health insurance and pensions — are based on the most rigorous statistical analysis currently possible. These findings should discourage right-to-work policy initiatives. The fact is, while RTW legislation misleadingly sounds like a positive change in this weak economy, in reality the opportunity it gives workers is only that to work for lower wages and fewer benefits. For legislators dedicated to making policy on the basis of economic fact rather than ideological passion, our findings indicate that, contrary to the rhetoric of RTW proponents, the data show that workers in “right-to-work” states have lower compensation — both union and nonunion workers alike.

Today’s Idaho Statesman features a cover story in their Business Insider section entitled:   Idaho’s Wages Have Stagnated for Three Decades.  Here’s Why

The author of the story, Bill Roberts drags out the usual suspects to answer the “here’s why”. Jobs in the “extraction” industries, mining, forestry have disappeared. High paying tech jobs have left to be replaced by low paying service jobs. Idahoans refuse to go to college.

What factor is conspicuous by it’s absence? There is no mention of the passage of right to work legislation. Over at Fort Boise, Tom von Alten makes an addition to the Statesman graph to make the point.


When a flood of comments pointed out that the story made no mention of RTW legislation, here is what Roberts said:


That’s right- “Regarding comments on right to work ‘s affect on wages. We talked to people about it and the sense was that it may have had some effect, but it was hard to measure how much”. I wonder who those “people” were? There were lots of direct quotes in the article, but none about the impact of RTW. And, of course, the article doesn’t attempt to “measure how much” effect any of the other “causes” had on wage stagnation.

This is just lazy journalism on Robert’s part. He lives in the Republican echo chamber and is unwilling or unable to do any real research. If I were an Editor at the Statesman, I would demand that Roberts (and Rocky Barker) follow Dan Popkey around for a month or two so they might be able to figure out what it means to be a reporter.



  1. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way in all situations in life.
    Buying a car is no different! That means you need to read advice from experts, as detailed below, to ensure that when you shop for that car, you really know
    what you’re doing and how to get the best deal.

  2. Great blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog shine.
    Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Thank you

  3. It’s actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you shared this useful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Memory is quite important to your health and pleased! This short article will supply you with the information regarding the memory you need.

    Do not overlook every little thing, find out all that
    you simply are in a position to!

  5. Simply desire to say your article is as surprising.

    The clarity in your post is just cool and i can assume you are
    an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me
    to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming
    post. Thanks a million and please continue the rewarding work.

  6. I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read!!
    I definitely savored every little bit of it and i also have you book marked to look at
    new stuff on your site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s