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August 5 Letters to the Editor

No forced settlements

It is an outrage that Kenneth Feinberg is acting as if he is BP’s attorney by forcing people to make a choice that they were promised they wouldn’t have to make: accept an immediate payment and, by so doing, forfeit their right to go to court.

These people have suffered enough at BP’s hands. Stop this now.

Mike Sherwood



Your Social Security

Nowhere in former Bush official Neel Kashkari’s July 28 OpEd does he define his target. So beware: When Kashkari and his ilk talk about cutting entitlements, what they mean is cutting Social Security — absolutely indispensable to millions of older Americans.

Make no mistake about it, this is something very like a conspiracy. Wall Street financiers, the Republican Party and not a few deluded “moderates” have concluded that reducing the deficit is the paramount national goal. A National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is tackling the problem, and its chairs are floating Social Security “reform” with distressing regularity.

But is this not responsible? After all, the government has to live within its means, “just as the average family does,” goes the argument. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Except that the government is not a family and can run a deficit for good reasons.

And, more important, nearly the entire current deficit and for the next several years is caused by two increasingly senseless wars, Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy and the Wall Street-related global recession.

Stop the wars, let the tax cuts expire and restore economic growth via a number of agreed-upon means. Social Security does need tweaking, but this can be accomplished without wholesale changes, by hiking the limit on payroll taxes enjoyed by those with high incomes, for example.

When you see the names Neel Kashkari, Peter Peterson and Alan Simpson, look out. No matter how they phrase it, they are after your Social Security.

Kent Price



A real governor

As I read the BDN’s coverage of the Mitchell camp crying foul because of informal remarks made by Paul LePage, I ask voters to ask yourselves these questions:

Do likable politically correct candidates who never utter an unscripted word always make good governors? I’m pretty sure we’ve had them before. How’d that work out?

Have you ever made a comment in jest, when you thought you were among friends, that was used against you? Have you ever characterized a situation without using the exact facts? Do you want a governor who is a human or a politician?

I know what I’ve been hearing: “Enough with politicians. We need an outsider.” Well, this is how an outsider acts. Like us.

A state’s governor is like the governor on an engine, which keeps it from accelerating too quickly or stalling out completely. For this reason, the governor can veto legislation, and he can introduce it. He appoints commissioners. He does not have absolute power to impose all his beliefs on others.

We need Paul LePage as governor, rough edges and all, because fixing Maine’s problems won’t be easy, and it won’t be pretty. We need a governor who can still relate to working people and who understands businesses, which, after all, are the direct or indirect sources of all the tax revenue in our state.

We need a governor who can do his job very well, even if he trips up on the campaign trail.

Rep. Dianne Tilton



Saying no to ‘no’

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins deserve our thanks for breaking with their party on two important votes. They both voted for an end to cloture on financial reform legislation and on the extension of unemployment benefits, which allowed the votes to move forward.

I appreciate that Maine’s senators recognized the cause of this deep economic recession — a broken financial system with little regulation.

Their votes protect consumers and help to ensure that Wall Street doesn’t create another economic meltdown.

Second, they recognized that regular working people have been paying for Wall Street’s mistakes through foreclosure, unemployment, underemployment and economic insecurity. Their votes in favor of the unemployment extension will provide millions of Americans and thousands of Mainers with benefits to meet their basic needs.

So, thank you, Sens. Snowe and Collins for breaking with the “party of no.” I hope that you both will continue to vote in the interest of Maine’s working families.

Kelly Bonnell


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