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March 23 Letters to the Editor

Taxing filing system

I wonder if there are others who share my sentiment that the creators of the current income tax system should be fired unless by next spring they come up with a system simple enough for the average person to use, without losing their mind in the process.

The current tax system probably took a fortune to prepare. Now it takes another fortune (and a good amount of the brains cells lost forever) from an average taxpayer to file. It doesn’t need to be so complex, and even if its complexity brings in extra revenue, that extra amount is probably smaller than the amount spent to get it.

Running an extremely complex system serves only one purpose — to keep the oversized IRS bureaucracy alive. To me, and I think to most taxpayers, and probably to many of its creators, the current system is more a nightmare than something meant for real life.

It is about time to get rid of the current system, which is more an academic fantasy than something that deserves a place in real life.

Jozef Niel



Choking not a game

This is in regards to the tragic story of the young man who had accidentally hanged himself while playing the so-called “choking game.” I read his friend Sean Murphy’s ill-considered comment about the choking game being “just one of those things you experiment with when you’re young.” One would think Sean were referring to skinny-dipping or sneaking a smoke in the locker room.

I’m sorry for the loss of Murphy’s friend, but the choking game is not “just of those things,” any more than setting oneself on fire and hoping there’s a nearby body of water to jump into is “just one of those things.”

Robert Klose



Lay off oil and gas

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That seems to be the president’s credo when it comes to levying new taxes on energy companies.

In his 2010 budget, President Obama proposed to repeal the Section 199 manufacturers’ deduction for oil and gas companies — and only oil and gas companies. Fortunately this punitive action was blocked.

But the president is back at it in his 2011 budget, again proposing punishment for energy companies through repeal of the deduction on domestic manufacturing income as well as the expensing of intangible drilling costs and more.

All told, the president is proposing nearly $32 billion in new taxes on the petroleum industry over the next decade.

The oil and gas industry has remained a steady employer and producer during our nation’s economic downturn. If the president succeeds in slamming the industry with new taxes, however, we will see a downturn in exploration and production and an increase in energy prices; we’ll see the industry begin to bleed jobs; and we’ll see our homeland security compromised as our nation is forced to depend more on foreign oil.

The president’s tenacity simply won’t pay off. He needs to drop the idea of heaping new taxes on the oil and gas industry.

Wayne Leach



Empowered women

I agree with BDN columnist Kathleen Parker whose March 17 column noted that “Empowering women will lead to greater prosperity and world peace.” As a volunteer for CARE, a global humanitarian organization which focuses on empowering women and girls worldwide, I am a strong believer in this idea.

Even women who have suffered unimaginable tragedies, when given the opportunity to unleash their potential, can become great contributors to society lifting themselves out of poverty and becoming leaders in their communities.

There are many ways you can get involved to help empower women worldwide and work toward lasting peace.

Visit www.can.care.org and join the CARE Action Network as well as CARE’s Voices Against Violence campaign where, together, women from around the world are speaking out against violence.

Attend the coming CARE National Conference May 11-12 in Washington, D.C. You will join hundreds of others, share your passion for ending global poverty and bring that message to Capitol Hill. I have attended the conference two years in a row, and it is a truly amazing and empowering experience. Also, read, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.” It is a remarkable book that will empower you to take action.

Alison Johnson

Birch Harbor


Kill the bill

I write regarding the March 11 editorial, “Don’t Let Reform Slip Away.”

I am appalled that this editorial uses the reputation and influence of the Bangor Daily News to urge our representatives in the U.S. Senate to support the terribly flawed health care legislation now being debated there. You appear to have lost sight of your responsibility to report objectively to the residents of Maine, a principled part of “We, The People.”

The editorial totally ignores the will of the people, as revealed in numerous recent polls, the significant majority of whom oppose the proposed health care plan. As Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen, self-proclaimed “pollsters to the past two Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton,” point out in the March 12 liberal Washington Post, “the battle for public opinion has been lost. If it passes [proposed health care reform], Democrats will face a calamitous reaction at the polls” in November.

Caddell and Schoen continue, “Yes, most Americans believe, as we do, that real health care reform is needed. And yes, certain proposals in the plan are supported by the public. However, a solid majority of Americans opposes the massive health reform plan.”

The message is clear. Even the House Democrats fear that passage of the current Senate bill will not ensure full consideration of their response to the flaws they find in the bill.

John R. Deane Jr.



Save gas, oil break

I can’t think of a time in recent history that our country was more in need of keeping current jobs and creating new ones. That’s why the proposal in President Obama’s 2011 budget to repeal part of a recent jobs bill just doesn’t make any sense.

In 2004, Congress saw fit to pass the American Jobs Creation Act, which included tax incentives for creating jobs in the manufacturing sector, including the discovery and processing of oil and natural gas.

If Congress repeals Section 199, which includes the incentives for oil and natural gas, it will be sending the message that we don’t need to keep these jobs.

This tax increase would hit the small, independent operators. The repeal would give the economic advantage to foreign firms over these American companies. It would increase our use of coal to produce energy, which would hurt our environment.

We need to make sure that Sens. Snowe and Collins know that this is faulty legislation and urge them to oppose the repeal of Section 199 of the 2004 jobs bill.

Lois Bloomer



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