How do we address our deficit crisis? The answer should be found in the Pentagon, but since it has its tentacles tightly around our supposed democracy we cannot solve this crisis.
What is the ideal solution? We have military bases in almost every nation in the world. In fact, we’re now building a new Marine base in Guam. We now have two wars and are gearing up to invade two more countries. Our government is pretending to de-escalate the war in Iraq but we will still keep a sizable presence there.
The president is now claiming that we will be de-escalating the war in Afghanistan, not next year as earlier announced, but in 2014. The generals are warning us not to believe him. They say that we will be in continuous war for at least as long as any of us are still alive. I quote Gen. Petraeus: “This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”
Besides, I understand Defense Secretary Gates said that the military’s defense budget has nothing to do with the deficit. Really?
The ideal solution? It is of a president who will stand up to the Pentagon and shut down those off-shore bases, bring our troops home and end this demand for endless war.
Sorry, that is an impossible dream.
Eliot J. Chandler
Pay cut is bad form
The Piscataquis County commissioners have a difficult job to perform during any budget season and this year is particularly difficult. With that said, I strongly disagree with the proposal to cut Sheriff Goggin’s salary and I am very concerned with the manner in which it was done. This particular budget cut appears to me to be, in the sheriff’s own words, “vindictive.”
The sheriff was ambushed with this announcement at a public meeting. That is highly unprofessional. Even more egregious is the statement that the sheriff’s salary is being cut “to align his pay to the level of his performance.”
Which brings up two points: Except in very special circumstances, any negative discussion of a person’s job performance should be held with that person only, not in front of an audience. This is common courtesy.
The sheriff is an elected official. By state statute, county commissioners can set the salary of elected officials, but they don’t have authority to evaluate their performance. That authority rests with voters — and apparently a majority of voters approve of the sheriff’s performance because he was re-elected last month.
At best, commissioners have shown a disturbing lack of professional courtesy toward Sheriff Goggin as well as an amazing lack of political situational awareness in this matter; at worst, commissioners are conducting a personal attack against him. The sheriff and citizens deserve better.
With our blessings
Living in downtown Bangor is a pleasure for the 26 families who live at the Franklin Place Condominiums on Franklin Street. We are looking forward to the festivities during the holiday season and have joined in by decorating our building inside and out to celebrate.
In the early morning hours on Monday, a large wreath was stolen from the front of our building and we are assuming that someone needed the wreath for their home. We wish whoever stole the wreath has a very happy holiday season.
Franklin Place Associates
Prove wind benefits
I have written two previous letters in which I asked the proponents and opponents of industrial wind energy development in Maine to come together and debate the merits of their respective positions on this important and controversial issue. Proponents have not responded to my requests. However, through substantial research, I have been able to educate myself.
On Nov. 16, the Morning Sentinel editorial staff presented a piece that extolled the benefits of industrial wind energy development, and asked Gov.-elect Paul LePage to support the industry.
I submit the following in response to these events.
I challenge the proponents of industrial wind energy development to present irrefutable evidence which supports their unsubstantiated claims on the benefits provided by these industrial developments.
I challenge the media to examine this subject in an unbiased and truly investigatory manner.
Gov.-elect Paul LePage is to be congratulated for taking a more pragmatic and far less self-serving position on industrial wind turbine development than did his two most recent predecessors.
Proposals to create industrial wind turbine developments in Maine have become the biggest scam to come down, or in this case up the pike, since “Dr. Doolittle’s Amazing Cure-All Elixir,” and they promise about the same result.
Therefore, to Independence Wind, First Wind, Patriot Renewables, TransCanada, Iberdrola, and all other proponents or developers of industrial wind facilities in Maine, I ask: Why are you not willing or able to provide undeniable proof that supports your claims?
Fix Medicare now
Over a decade ago, Congress created a badly flawed system to pay doctors for the care they provide for those on Medicare. As a result, doctors treating Medicare patients are scheduled to see a 25 percent pay cut starting next month. These cuts are so steep that thousands of Maine seniors may lose their doctors.
One in five Mainers — or 262,000 — relies on Medicare for insurance.
Baby boomers are entering the Medicare program in increasingly large numbers. The physician payment problem must be addressed or existing and new Medicare patients won’t be able to find doctors.
It’s difficult enough now to find doctors who will accept Medicare patients. At just 14 physicians per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries, Maine is below the national average. Almost half of Maine’s physicians are over age 50 — an age at which many doctors consider seeing fewer patients. If the drastically lower payment goes into effect, the odds of finding a doctor who will accept Medicare are slim.
Seniors have kept their end of the bargain and have contributed to the funding of their Medicare benefits over a lifetime. Congress created this situation. They need to take responsibility for fixing it. What is really needed is not a temporary patch but a responsible long-term solution.
Preventing this pay cut so seniors can continue seeing their doctors would be at least one meaningful sign that Congress is taking responsibility for their actions. I urge our congressional delegates to see that it is accomplished.
AARP Executive Council