Editor’s note: Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.
March 24, 1916: An S-R editorial with the headline “Eleven States Are Considering Health Insurance” notes:
“Individual insurance not only can not cover the needs of society, but can not even cover those of all individuals. It leaves the classes unprotected that most require protection. The cost of sickness or casualties falls mainly upon those who can least afford the loss.
“Since society has considerable to do with creating or continuing their industrial conditions, and since the state benefits from their industry and suffers from their misfortunes, it follows that state insurance forms self protection to society.”
March 24, 1946: An editorial (“We Have Faith In Reclamation”) notes the “dream of a fruitful, well-populated Columbia basin” is coming closer to reality.
“In building dams, laying our irrigation districts, bringing water to the land, placing reputable citizens on the farms and orchards, encouraging individual enterprise and initiative and in making these public projects self supporting, the bureau of reclamation is an agency unique in our present-day government.
“Its long-time service for the common good of vast numbers of people is an encouraging contrast to the many Washington boards, commissions, administrations, authorities, and whatnots which in recent years have regulated, controlled, pampered and spoon-fed a once virile nation.”
March 24, 1976: In the category of “The More Things Stay the Same,” there is this opener to an S-R editorial:
“The Washington state legislature is like the man who came to dinner and stayed a week. Except the legislature came to Olympia to spend about 40 days and has been there almost twice as long. … In all that time, the legislature hasn’t been able to iron out school financing or clean up differences over tax proposals and budget matters.”
“Now the House minority whip, Rep. A.J. Pardini of Spokane, sees the possibility the legislature may be called back in May to consider special levy relief. … The only problem is, in session after session, the legislature never gets down to the business of special levy relief.”
March 22, 1986: An S-R editorial is unsparing in its criticism of the administration’s determination to get involved in Nicaragua’s civil war. It begins:
“If Ronald Reagan is a Contra, as he claimed to be during his feverish but unsuccessful push for U.S. taxpayers to arm Nicaraguan rebels, perhaps Congress ought to give him a machine gun and a plane ride south.”
It continues: “Reagan may have lost Thursday’s vote on $100 million in U.S. aid to the Contras, but he’ll be back, he says. Never say die.”
Ultimately, some administration officials would go around Congress by secretly selling arms to Iran and sending the proceeds to the Contras. It was a scandal that would introduce the world to Lt. Col. Oliver North and tarnish the Reagan presidency.
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