Dec. 13 Letter to the Editor

Posted Dec. 12, 2008, at 5:43 p.m.

GOP union busters

The auto industry’s mess is being attributed to United Auto Workers. And who is stirring the pot? Republicans! Surprise, surprise.

The fault I have with labor leaders in Detroit began in 1980 when many who enjoyed benefits from collective bargaining jumped ship, joining the pernicious Ronald Reagan. Reagan forgot where he came from when he signed on with the party of wealth, dragging with him many UAW workers calling themselves “Democrats for Reagan.” One of his first of many failings was when he killed the air controllers union and had them fired, save for a few scabs who remained behind.

Republican politicians have attempted to gut programs that help working people by opposing efforts to increase the paltry minimum wage. Since its inception, Social Security has been their enemy. They strive to unbalance labor laws to favor business.

We are exposed to those Republican inspired commercials regarding “workers rights.” These are union busters hoping to gain yet more advantages for those who actually work.

God bless Barack in his plight to clean the disgraceful, offensive trashing that Bush and his Bushnicks have rendered against the weakest amongst us. Backwards. That’s conservatism.

George F. McCann

Kenduskeag

• • •

No airplane rental

Often when you are in the public eye, people will say or write something about you that isn’t true. It has happened to me before, and it happened again in a Dec. 9 letter, “Solving state’s woes,” from Jacqueline Huggins of Alton.

In her letter, Ms. Huggins made a factual error. Contrary to what she wrote, I have never rented my personal aircraft to the state of Maine or to any other governmental entity.

Some government-owned aircraft do sit idle at Old Town Airport. Two aircraft owned by the Maine Forest Service wait to respond when fires break out on the 17 million acres of Maine forest they protect. If by chance there are fires in the Maine woods, those airplanes are deployed immediately by trained MFS ranger pilots to fight the fires.

Since the fuel price spike, we in state government, including the Maine Department of Conservation, have reduced our travel to the minimum. The governor of Maine has reduced his travel. I have reduced my travel more than 60 percent in 2008. Maine Forest Rangers have reduced their travel by 12 percent in one year, 163,137 fewer miles.

I have been reimbursed for the use of my personal vehicles at a rate of 40 cents per mile during work-related travel. All of this information is available to the public.

We are cutting our budgets and reducing our travel and have been for many years.

What is factual is that we have added more than 1 million acres of conservation land for the Maine public to enjoy in many different ways: hiking, hunting, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, boating and exploring.

Patrick McGowan

commissioner

Maine Department of Conservation

Augusta

• • •

Bailout workers

Every day someone talks about the big bailout. Great things are going to happen, they say, and I just shake my head. When will people and our great government wake up?

We bail out Wall Street, which doesn’t produce any income. And the auto companies. What good is that if the only ones being helped are the workers in the auto companies and a few parts stores? So we help a million people and say tough luck to the rest of the world. Now that is something we can be proud of.

The bailout money is our tax dollars, there to work for us, not for our government to give away without asking the people who put that money there. We are not given a choice to pay taxes, but we should be the ones to make the choice on what is done with it. I say stop the bailout now.

Be smart. Give the money to the people if you want to bail someone out. Without us there is no one to spend money or to produce the products. Take our pride away, and you have nothing. Take the demand away, we don’t need the companies building the autos. They will rust before you can sell them.

Brian Robertson

Corinth

• • •

Buy American

The home office of the American auto industry is moving to Washington, D.C. Congress is appointing a car czar to run the show, subject to the oversight of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

The CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler will remain in Detroit, twisting slowly in the wind: “We’ve got to punish these nasty capitalists who had the nerve to show up in their corporate jets looking for a loan to save their companies.”

The U.S. treasury secretary and treasurer will issue some checks, and the federal car czar will make sure the money is used to produce the cars nobody wants to buy: electric and other environmental toys. I doubt any economist believes such action will stop the bleeding. Only fast and drastic action by the automakers and the American public can save the industry:

Suspend, or threaten to suspend production pending the re-negotiation of union contracts to cut costs, reduce sticker prices and increase rebates. Without sales volume these companies are dead. Pricing power evaporated in the winds of NAFTA.

And how about a surge of economic patriotism? Buy American! That’s how to help restart our economy, save Detroit, and reduce our trade deficits. We cannot afford to import more product value (exporting money) than we export (importing money) while our economy shrinks and our budgets expand.

Carle G. Gray

Sullivan

• • •

Legalize and tax weed

In these difficult financial times when governments are struggling to meet the basic needs of the people, there is one step that would turn a major expense into a major source of revenue, but few are advocating it so far.

We are spending millions of dollars on the state and federal levels trying unsuccessfully to control marijuana. If instead we legalized it and taxed it as we do alcohol and cigarettes, the governments would receive millions of dollars of income, and there would be other benefits as well.

I am not a fan of smoking pot, but I see little evidence that it does more damage than alcohol or tobacco, of which I am not a fan, either. In addition, the plant has a number of beneficial uses, particularly for fiber. One of my favorite shirts is made of hemp, which had to be imported because of our ban on marijuana. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and many others grew marijuana, which was used among other things to make the rope that allowed the golden age of sail.

Prohibition of alcohol was an expensive failure. Now the government makes millions of dollars by taxing alcohol. Our current prohibition of marijuana is similarly an expensive failure, and the sooner we recognize it and start benefiting from all the good uses of the plant, the better off our economy will be.

Lawrence E. Merrill

Bangor

http://bangordailynews.com/2008/12/12/opinion/dec-13-letter-to-the-editor/ printed on September 21, 2014