Healthy people before deer
The March 19-20 edition of the BDN has a great article about the plan by the governor and his administration to devote money and attention to preserve deeryards. Of course in addition to the environmental benefits, this will help to boost the sporting industry.
What about putting money and attention on the health and welfare needs of Maine’s people? There is an economic benefit to having a healthy population able to be self-supporting and pay taxes. This would necessitate continuing substance abuse rehab programs, providing the general assistance programs that give families a helping hand when needed, continuing to provide needed medical care for low income families, mental health programs and such.
The same paper had a article about two Washington County nurses arranging for 10 free colonoscopies for people without insurance. This is great, but how much better if people had adequate health insurance, and Maine wasn’t trying to undermine state and federal attempts at health care reform. By the way, all those people slated to lose jobs in health and human services programs also pay taxes.
When is the governor going to fulfill his promise to put people first? Oh, yes, my sister lives in Perry, as does Sen. Raye, and has 11 deer regularly in her yard and sleeping next to her deck. Friends in Eastport had six deer in their yard this morning. The deer all seemed to be well and healthy.
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Preserve the predators
The administration’s comments about Maine’s diminishing deer herd (March 18) reveal both contradictions and ignorance.
Habitat loss to mindless, shortsighted development, without proper zoning, is generally the most important cause of the demise of many species, yet the LePage administration opposes bonds to protect the environment.
While the emphasis on protecting deer yards is encouraging, the comments about controlling coyotes are alarming. After all, the reason we now have coyotes in Maine is because of the foolish eradication of our native predators, cougars and wolves. Furthermore, the long, cruel dreary history of attempting to control coyotes in the western states proves its futility.
Coyotes, more intelligent than humans by a factor of about 10 (just look at who we elect to office) are brilliant survivers. Of course they do prey on deer at times, but they target weak and sick specimens, while hunters naturally prize big bucks, the main genetic strength of the herd.
One might hope that Maine could finally learn the lesson that preserving wild predators, as well as deer, is crucial to ecological balance.
Belfast• • •
Krauthammer’s insecure rhetoric
In his March 11 column (“The fallacy of a lock box trust fund”), Charles Krauthammer claims the Social Security Trust Fund “contains — nothing.” I beg to differ. The trust fund contains government bonds. These are securities backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, just like the bonds we sell to foreign creditors and other investors seeking a safe refuge for their money.
Mr. Krauthammer no doubt has part of his retirement savings invested in similar financial instruments, which here he dismisses as “little pieces of paper.”
If the Social Security trust fund surplus represents “a fraud,” as Krauthammer claims, then here are some other frauds he should know about: savings bonds, certificates of deposit, savings accounts, and for that matter, paper currency. As Krauthammer surely knows, our
entire financial system runs on “little pieces of paper,” each of which represents a binding contract.
If I understand this column correctly, Social Security will have no trouble paying all promised benefits until 2037 — unless the federal government defaults on its bond obligations to the trust fund. Is that what Krauthammer suggests?
Social Security may well require reform in order to remain healthy beyond 2037, so let’s have an honest discussion of what needs to be done to keep a solid footing under this essential program. But let’s first dispense with the nonsense that the trust fund is broke because it contains only the solemn promise of the United States to repay, with interest, the money it borrows.
Belfast• • •
A responsible budget
I applaud Gov. LePage’s recent budget proposal. Our state faces serious fiscal challenges in the coming two years, and Gov. LePage has put forward a proposal that actually increases funding to education by $63 million and invests in roads and bridges without borrowing. Along with this, it will bring much needed sanity to our welfare system, with true welfare reforms.
On top of these accomplishments, it will provide $203 million in tax relief to Maine families
in the form of larger personal income tax deductions, elimination of the marriage penalty, and a lower tax rate for tens of thousands of Maine families. It also provide incentives to employers to invest and create jobs in Maine.
It addresses Maine’s unfunded pension liability in a balanced manner without cutting pensions, and saves Maine taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years.
I believe it is time for the state to stop kicking the problem down the road or “paying off the Visa with the Mastercard.”
It’s about time Maine started budgeting just like hard-working Maine families have to do.
Brewer• • •
Dorothea Dix needed
A psychiatric diagnosis means a lifetime of medication adjustments, cycles of greater and lesser need for services at all levels and a safety net for when all else fails and that is Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center, the former BMHI, in central and northern Maine.
People don’t go to DDPC for fun or because they are bored with community’s services. They go because the community services have failed them, not once but repeatedly. They needed what the community couldn’t provide – a safe haven for recovery.
We have not yet answered the questions raised in the 1980s by the massive downsizing that happened then. Until we can answer those questions, especially how does society ensure the right to safety for the person, the family and the community at large, how can we even think of closing a facility that strives to do just that?
I do not want to hear any more tragic stories related to a lack of psychiatric services for those in need. I have read about too many tragic events happening because people could not access needed mental health services.
Most of all I don’t want to hear about yet another committee to study the fate of DDPC; every governor since Longley has wasted taxpayer money with such committees. It is a vitally needed in central and northern Maine.