Just too big
The outrage over bonuses for AIG employees (who caused the need for its bailout) is the result of the deregulation of past years. After the Great Depression, the federal government imposed restrictions on businesses to control their growth and prevent another catastrophic depression. These restrictions have been removed over the past 50 years (and businesses have wiggled around others) until we again have businesses “too big to be allowed to fail” and we again find ourselves in the horrible position of having to spend our hard-earned money to bail them out. If they are too big to be allowed to fail, they are too big.
We need to go back to the trust-busting laws of the 1930s and keep these businesses small enough to be controlled by market forces, and we need to enforce these laws. At 81, I am old enough to remember the pain and suffering the Great Depression brought.
This current recession has not brought us anywhere near those depths and with luck we will be able to pull out before it does. I doubt we will repeat the errors of the Hoover era but we should be alert to this possibility.
The banking, investment and insurance industries were supposed to be regulated by federal agencies but businesses wanting more freedom wiggled free, aided by dishonest auditors, credit ratings and descriptions. For example, AIG called its insurance “credit default swaps” and its bonds were given AAA ratings. I believe this was deliberate obfuscation.
Welcome to Oz
Are you appalled by the bonuses AIG paid to employees? Are you angered by corporate America? How do you feel about those corporate jets? How about CEOs with massive contracts leading underperforming corporations? So, the government “of the people” poured “our” money into the economy without any significant mechanism of control, and you are shocked that it didn’t go well?
Our government professed that if we did not have this stimulus package immediately, the consequences would be dire. The largest transfer of wealth and power in our history was signed into law without the opportunity to debate or truly understand it. How is that working out for you?
The total of bonuses paid to AIG employees per pre-existing contractual agreement is approximately $165 million. The 8,500 earmarks approved in the last spending bill add up to approximately $7.7 billion. Where is your attention focused? The representatives of the government, who have government-supplied jets at their disposal, asked CEOs why they had used private jets to come to the hearings?
Our government, currently running massive spending deficits, is adding to them at an exponential rate, and is tasked with oversight of financial institutions, questioning Wall Street on financial mismanagement. Government representatives responsible for the creation, oversight, and perpetuation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are question banking officials regarding their errors in judgment or potential fraud?
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
Rebuild Route 2
Route 2 in Hermon is in bad need of repair. It is creating damage to the front ends of my vehicles as well as to the two ambulances in the town.
This state-owned road needs to be rebuilt, not just patched. In the last couple of weeks I have seen Maine DOT with up to two groups (dump truck and a van of workers) working together putting hot and cold patch down on the road. When are they going to rebuild the road instead of putting hundreds of man-hours and tons of “patch” into the same holes over and over again?
I-95 has a load limit lower than Route 2. Now there are heavy trucks traveling on Route 2 in a dangerous state of repair. When and how many will get hurt before someone takes care of this disaster waiting to happen?
Thoughts on pike
The current controversy regarding northern pike in the Penobscot River is a little reminiscent of 1974 when the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River breached. The state, based upon the recommendation of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, allowed the dam to be rebuilt without anadromous fish passage facilities due to the fear of allowing European carp below the dam access to the river above the dam. Oddly, when the state joined the bandwagon to remove the Edwards Dam 25 years later the issue of carp never was mentioned.
If, or more likely when, northern pike gain access to the Piscataquis River and other areas of the Penobscot drainage it will undoubtedly be by the same illegal method that was used to introduce the species to Pushaw Lake. I trust that our law enforcement agencies will find whoever has committed this dastardly deed and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.
Finally, the recent comments of my friend and former colleague from IF&W regarding the movements of invasive species are much ado about nothing.
Blocking natural fish passage for native species will not stop the spread of non-native, invasive species such as pike. Mr. Johnson can undoubtedly confirm that the several non-native species introduced to Moosehead Lake on his watch surely didn’t migrate up the Kennebec River.
Scriptures in context
I am growing very weary of the conservative Christians who condemn same-sex marriage citing Scriptures which identify homosexual relations as “an abomination.” My guess is that some of those who have written letters to this effect have no qualms about eating cheeseburgers (an abomination), wearing mixed fabric clothing (an abomination) or having contact with their wives during their menstrual cycle (an abomination).
People understand these old strictures within the context in which they were written and realize that they are not relevant given the information now available to us. Or perhaps it is just convenient for them to ignore those abominations, while imposing strict enforcement on ones which have no impact on their lives.
In a country founded upon religious freedoms, it is time to stop using one group of Christians’ interpretations of Scripture as the litmus test for our laws.