Feb. 17, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Posted Feb. 16, 2009, at 8:06 p.m.

New way to create jobs

You want to create jobs? I know a lot of 62-year-olds who would retire right now with partial Social Security benefits, if they could get Medicare health insurance at 62 instead of at 65. If these younger baby boomers retired, that would open up jobs for young bucks who would work for less pay. A lot of older workers tell me they are growing to hate their jobs more and more, because they have to become more and more computer literate. Does this lead to a business being more productive and better able to compete against Chinese businesses? Probably not.

To prevent creating a long-term structural deficit in Medicare, this could be a one-time offer that could be repealed in a few years when the economy recovers, except for the people who signed up to retire right now. We have millions of 62-year-olds who would retire right now if they could. We have millions of young bucks who are unemployed or underemployed, and they want a job right now.

I say if you are going to go on an $800 billion spending spree in the hope it will create jobs, this might be the cheapest way to do it.

Administrators already exist at Social Security to handle the checks for retirees. Administrators already exist to process Medicare claims. No new bureaucracies need to be created to administer this program.

You want to create a job for an 18-year-old? Help a 62-year-old retire.

Joseph Normand Grinnell

Grand Isle

• • •

Financial literacy

Everyday one of the first things I do is read the newspaper. By the time I have finished I am discouraged because most of the news is bad.

However, the lead article in the business section on Feb. 2 burst through like a great ray of sunshine. It was about a course taught by Sharon Hathaway at Leavitt High School called “Money.” The article goes on to say that they study such things as credit cards, insurance, car loans, budgeting, etc.

I think that Sharon Hathaway (and any other teachers doing what she is) should be given special recognition for her/his efforts. She should be an inspiration to other schools to offer similar courses. Maybe if we start educating our current population of high school students in how to intelligently handle money they won’t be in the poor financial condition that many citizens find themselves in today. Let’s go back to educating our students, teaching them to think, to find answers rather than teaching them how to score high on tests.

Dave Thompson

Orono

• • •

Revisit Pony Express

I recently received a package mailed from Tennessee through the U.S. Postal Service. I assumed it was for my birthday, but it was a few days late. I then noticed the box was postmarked Jan. 26 and had two priority mail stickers on it. I received it on Feb. 3. That’s nine days at priority mail speed which seems a bit slow to me. Even when I factor out Sunday, it still seemed slow.

So I did the math – 1,532 miles from Tennessee to Maine, divided by eight days comes up to a warp speed of 192 miles per day. Now considering the Pony Express traveled from St. Joseph, Mo. To Sacramento, Calif., and then by boat to San Francisco in 10 days, that’s a distance of 2,120 miles. That figures out to be 212 miles per day. So according to these figures, the Pony Express was 20 miles per day faster than Priority Mail. We’ve really come a long ways in the last 150 years. I wonder how the new five day a week proposal will work out? I think it’s time to bring back the ponies.

Bobby Brenn

Dover-Foxcroft

• • •

Single-payer solution

Now that New Delhi has begun to hire urban Indian cowboys to corral its free-ranging sacred cows, isn’t it time for us to confine the American sacred cow, free market competition, to areas of its competence and social benefit?

Our sacred cow should be excluded from the healthcare field, which private insurers have trampled for 60 years while inciting fear of the slippery slope of socialized medicine.

Americans are sick of the freedom to shop for healthcare. We want freedom from fear and frustration. Professional caregivers and pharmacists want freedom from serving as lackeys in the for-profit insurance maze that impedes their delivery of care.

The private healthcare industry and its client politicians have milked the sacred cow while suppressing evidence of its intrinsic incapacity to solve the problem of cost, coverage and administrative simplicity. The only comprehensive solution, a single-payer system, seems beyond the imagination of those for whom the reconstructive theology of hybrid social capitalism is anathema.

President Obama’s choice of leader for healthcare reform must not bow to sacred cow zealotry that keeps a single-payer option off the table. Since Obama professes impartial devotion to “What works” and to abandonment of failed policies, his grassroots troops must hold him to that promise.

Sue Salm

Blue Hill

• • •

Miracle in my lifetime

As I watched Barack Obama be installed in the most powerful position in the world, my mind went back to Atlanta, Ga. In the summer of 1943, I was on the streets of Atlanta and I saw the black people come out to shop on the day designated as “Nigger Day.” The black people were pathetic creatures, dressed in rags and avoid-ing eye contact with whites. When you met them on the street, they would stop off the sidewalk into the gutter to avoid eye contact, which they seemed to fear. When I referred to them as “black people”, southerners would correct me, “you call them back people, you must be a nigger lover!”

I was so ashamed for all of us white folk, for the way the black folk were treated.

In my wildest imagination I could not phantom that in my lifetime one of them would have the intelligence, charm and determination to gain the most powerful position in all the world. I sat in awe of this magnificent young man who accomplished this seemingly miracle. Then I realized what a magnificent country we have where all of this could happen.

In a religious moment, I thanked God for the miracle that he had made to come to pass so that all of this could happen. I wrote my children about this so they could savor this miracle which happened during my lifetime which shows how fortunate we are to have been born in such a country that makes possible this miracle to happen.

Floyd Harding

Presque Isle

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