Evan Barrett

The Honorable John Q. Corporation

Jul 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July – Independence Day – tomorrow.

But the old red, white and blue looks a little more tattered this year compared to the past.

For today, thanks in great part to the US Supreme Court, John Q. Citizen, the human being citizen who is the bedrock our unique experiment in self-governance, is being replaced by John Q. Corporation.

Fixing the Student Loan Mess

Jun 5, 2014

I do not accept, carte blanche, the reigning conservative belief that higher taxes directly shrink the economy and reduce economic growth.  However, that macro-economic premise drives decisions in Congress that have made it virtually impossible to approach our economic challenges in a balanced manner.  As a result, the only balancing that has been occurring is the balancing of our economic solutions on the backs of middle and lower income families.  Meanwhile, money is allowed and even encouraged to continue to “trickle-up” to the wealthy, increasing income and wealth disparity --

Medicaid Expansion – Good Jobs, Good Health

May 8, 2014

Seldom, if ever, has such a big win-win proposal been put before the Montana Legislature as the opportunity in 2013 to enact an expansion of Medicaid coverage to thousands of Montanans under the Affordable Care Act.

Producing more than 10,000 jobs while at the same time making Montana and Montanans healthier, the bill was a policy bonanza that should have easily passed the Legislature, but was narrowly defeated based upon political dogma, not facts.

Living Up to the Legacy

Apr 10, 2014

Twenty years ago, Billings, Montana set a national standard for community rejection of hatred and bigotry.  Almost as one, the community shouted a loud “NO” to ultra-right-wing extremist behavior that was racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic.

The Northwest United Skinheads and, police believed, elements of the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation, were equal opportunity bigots, targeting for abuse and intimidation anything that wasn’t “white, American and Christian.”  Whether you were black, Latino, Indian, Jewish or gay, you were not welcome in their America, or their Billings.

A True Montana Melodrama

Mar 17, 2014

A True Montana Melodrama

A Montana Public Radio Commentary by Evan Barrett

March 13, 2014

Much has been said about the appointment of John Walsh to the US Senate including comparisons to Montana’s earlier Senate appointments.

It’s interesting to look at the actual historical facts of the earlier situations.

Educators as Leaders

Feb 14, 2014

What do Mike Mansfield, Pat Williams, Jon Tester, Bob Brown and Angela McLean have in common?

Mike Mansfield, Senate Majority Leader longer than anyone in US history, led a US Senate that was arguably the most productive in US history.

Pat Williams, elected Montana Congressman for nine straight terms, more than anyone in our history, had a record of legislative accomplishment in fields as varied as labor, education, the arts, wilderness and public lands access.

Giants Among the People

Jan 16, 2014

When I was young, there were three pictures in my parents’ hallway -- Jesus Christ,   Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers Union.  These men informed my family’s political and life perspective.

Three Lumps of Coal for the Working Poor

Dec 19, 2013

Three Lumps of Coal for the Working Poor

A Commentary from Evan Barrett

I ended my commentary last month this way:  “Here’s hoping that the onset of Christmas will result in some Christian values rising up in that ‘millionaire class’ that we call Congress so that we might, by year’s end, see the minimum wage go up.  But I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Well here it is, almost Christmas, and so far Zippo from Congress.

Raise the Minimum Wage

Nov 21, 2013

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Next Thursday is Thanksgiving.

Events surrounding these two separate dates coincide to make a strong point about the challenges facing America's working poor.

The Stink Coming Through the Revolving Door

Oct 24, 2013

When one reflects on the recent federal government shutdown and Congress’ near “default” on the “full faith & credit” of the US Government, a whole lot stinks.

Buried in that stinking pile of refuse is a small item that reminds us of a big problem -- the pervasive power that special interests have through their lobbyists and the benefits they gain from the revolving door between Congressional members and staff and those same special interests.