Main Street gets bill
Let’s see if I have this straight: Fraser executives get rewarded with large bonuses for bringing the company to the verge of bankruptcy. And the rank and file save it from bankruptcy by agreeing last week to take an 8.5 percent pay cut. Haven’t we already heard this same scenario multiple times already? Failure gets rewarded if you’re a top executive, and Main Street America pays the price.
As the old saying goes, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” How many more times are we going to tolerate this? When are Americans going to start fighting back for the integrity and sanity of our country because whether or not you want to admit it, what we are experiencing is truly madness. And it’s clear Congress isn’t going to help us out, because they’re all too busy bickering like small children.
Make your voice heard, even if it’s something as simple as writing a letter or calling your senator or local representative.
L. Jessica Brooks
Cut military spending
Congress appropriated another $136.8 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gov. Baldacci cut spending by $63 million, primarily from education, long-term health care, home health, mental health and funds for developmentally disabled.
What will happen to our most vulnerable citizens, much less everyone else? President Obama recently announced a freeze on domestic spending; exactly opposite of what is needed. We need vigorous debate about how to fund our communities and it should include reducing military spending.
What can safely be cut from the military budget? Dr. Korb, a businessman and defense expert who served in the Reagan administration, found that America could save $60 billion by eliminating Cold War era weapons systems and programs not useful in defending our country against extremists or the other threats we now face. Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would save $137 billion, and closing half of the 800 military bases outside of the U.S. would save another $51 billion. Imagine what we could have instead.
We owe it to our brave men and women in the military not only to give them the safest and most efficient equipment to do their jobs, but also to maintain our communities at home. They will return to live in the same neighborhoods as us, drive on the same roads and their children will attend the same schools. We owe it to all Americans, including our brave military, the elderly, the mentally ill, the disabled and ourselves to fund our communities.
Profile in courage
I must take issue with state Sen. Carol Weston’s assertion (BDN letters, Feb. 16) that Sen. Susan Collins is putting national security above politics.
I suggest that both our U.S. senators are following the Republican Party dictum that says that if President Obama is for it, we’re against it. The administration treated the underpants bomber exactly the same as the previous administration dealt with the shoe bomber and over 200 other arrested and convicted terrorists. But like everyone else in her party, Sen. Collins argues that Obama somehow is doing things differently and therefore the nation is at risk. What nonsense.
What the country desperately needs is a Republican politician (or two or three) to stand up and say, “No more hypocrisy.” We need a Republican who understands the need for a profile in courage moment and has the courage and fortitude to do the right thing. Unfortunately, our two senators are not up to the task.
RSU dead ends
Recent education decisions in Augusta will plunge the towns making up SAD 25 into an even deeper depression than they already face. The administration has directed a cut of $192,000 ($68,800 of which is punishment for not forming an RSU) in state subsidy to SAD 25.
Tightening our belt is one thing, but hanging us with it is quite another. Our district caved in under threat of large fines and voted to form an RSU. Our neighboring communities voted the RSU down, leaving us no partners.
Most in our area can be described as unemployed, under-employed, disabled or retired. When the food bank is open, you would think Hannaford just opened a new store.
Our teachers are among the lowest paid in the state. Our cost per student is among the lowest in the state, a claim no RSU to date can make.
Increasing property taxes will not fill the $192,000 gap in the school budget; it will only result in more people being more delinquent.
We want to join our neighboring district of Southern Aroostook to form a smaller RSU of 860 students but the state says that isn’t big enough and shot the idea down before it could start. Perhaps the state should also write the new budget to how to operate with $192,000 less.
Every two years, Anthem jacks up our health insurance premium, even when we have had no claims.
This year, they want to raise our monthly rate from $770 per month to $1,084 (that’s over $300 increase per month). Anthem requires that we shell out over $18,000 before it will pay one penny. And that’s just if one of us gets sick. If both of us get sick, we would have to spend an additional $5,000 before Anthem would pay one penny for the second person on our policy. How can Anthem justify this? How can we afford to pay this?
If we drop our health insurance and get sick, we could lose our home. We don’t want welfare. We want to have an option to purchase health care coverage from a company that doesn’t rake in billions of dollars in profit at our expense.
Obama’s plan may not be perfect, but we have to break the status quo or all of you with health care coverage through work will soon be facing what those of us in the individual market now face. Health care costs are predicted to rise and will nearly double again by 2019.
Hold the politicians noses to the truth of the situation, not the politics. And hold their feet to the fire on passing health care reform.