Uncommon Ground

Uncommon Ground

Founding Farmers

More than 200 years ago, the political convictions of our founding politicians were based in agriculture. Not only did former Presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison all believe that farming was a noble occupation, they were also avid food growers. The first presidents helped craft a nation of laws but were […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Ending Medicare

What Congress chooses to debate sets a political tone for the nation. Today, elder statesmen must speak to middle class values if people hope to protect programs like Medicare from the U.S. House. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s single-payer health care insurance plan provides health care coverage for people over 65, nearly 50 million seniors, including […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Legislative Recess

Politics today is more about ideology than hometown representation. A legislator blindly following party bosses and not listening to constituents is wrongheaded and indicates that the middle is losing ground. The budget debates in the Montana Legislature and the U.S. Congress have been transformed into social engineering classrooms. In Helena and Washington D.C., the new […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Forgotten Homeowners

The days following the 2009 Legislature, editorials noted the failure to reform homeowner property taxes. The observations were spot-on, judging by the homeowner outcry. But anyone paying attention could see it coming. Property taxes are directly tied to the free market growth of a locality. And the Flathead’s market was hopping for much of the […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Failed Rhetoric

It becomes more and more apparent that corporate politicians are doing the bidding for multinational corporations. Our political landscape has drastically changed, with middle class workers left on the sidelines. The debate appears less about Democrats versus Republicans, though there are plenty of glaring differences between the parties. Today’s debate is historically reflective of middle […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Economics of Food and Farm

You can smell the scent of spring in the air, see it in the yellowing willow, and hear it in the chirping birds. Spring signals a turning point in life and growth of all things renewed. The produce at the local grocer suddenly looks smaller. This is an indication that newer crops are being planted […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Halftime Shows Leadership Void

“Theatre of the Absurd” was coined by Martin Esslin to express senselessness and the inadequacy of any rational approach by the abandonment of sensible policies and discursive thought. Politics has long been viewed as a mix of comic and tragic theater, with public debate seldom moving a vote. If the first half of the 2011 […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Montana’s Positive Returns

“We conclude first and foremost that this crisis was avoidable,” said Phil Angelides, chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). In last month’s report the FCIC said the financial crisis that spread to Montana could have been avoided. The FCIC contends that the causes of the crisis lay with the federal authorities, under presidents […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Nixon’s Environmental Legacy

In 1974 President Richard Nixon resigned, stating that “the interest of the nation must come before any personal considerations” and acknowledging that some of his private actions were wrong. Those were strong words, but the president’s policies still have meaning today. Nixon enacted Title IX, which says, “No person in the United States shall, on […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Buckling Down on Debt

Montana’s Constitution assures the Legislature can’t spend more on services or tax breaks than the state collects in revenues. This simple declaration by the people keeps our books balanced. And balanced they have been, making Montana one of just two states in the nation to remain in the black. Nationally, the debt situation is bleak. […]

By Mike Jopek
Uncommon Ground

Prioritizing Schools in Taxpayers’ Best Interest

If there is any interest group that can traditionally wade through the partisan divide of Montana politics, it’s children. For many legislative sessions the mantra for passing bills in the Legislature is the same: “It’s for the kids.” This simple declaration paved the way for all-day kindergarten and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Both […]

By Mike Jopek

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