May 24, 2018
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Those Acadia ‘holes’

By Alan Boone, Special to the BDN

Everybody loves Acadia National Park. The private lands referred to in the editorial “Filling Acadia’s ‘Holes’” (BDN April 1) should be incorporated into the park. The BDN is right.

No one wants to see housing developments or ugly windmills filling these places. They can be bought with the relatively small sum of $4 million, but whose dollars?

Acadia was given to us through the philanthropy of the Rockefellers and others. The price referenced for purchase of the “holes” is small change for some of the summer residents of “The Island,” evidenced by the numerous business jets at the Hancock County Airport and the hundreds of expensive yachts in the harbors around the area in high season.

Why shouldn’t there be a campaign to raise this money privately? “Summer people” should have a very big stake in the outcome.

We have as a society come to believe government should pay for just about everything. While the sums mentioned above are relatively trivial, this country’s financial boat is taking on water at an alarming rate. We have as a nation tripled our debt in just a few years to something like $14 trillion (that’s with a “T”) and this year’s deficit is close to $1.4 trillion — unheard-of numbers until very recently, and they are absolutely mind-numbingly huge.

We are asking, no, demanding that our children and their children pay this debt and its incredible interest probably for the rest of this century and possibly into the next.

We learn that about 46 cents of every dollar the federal government spends is borrowed (or printed). What happens when foreigners, who don’t like us much anyway, lose confidence in us due to our profligate ways and stop buying U.S. Treasury bonds? What happens when the rest of the world decides that our dollar should no longer be the medium of international trade? This prospect may not be far off and is not a good one.

As a nation we have come to act like spoiled children. We want it all now, and when we are denied it some of us throw a tantrum, or write a pleading editorial. Uncle Sam will take care of us, just like in a European “social democracy,” except they don’t have to look after the rest of the world, and we do.

Time to grow up. Something has to give, and more and more Americans realize it.

Those who agree with the editorial that we must oppose “mindless budget slashing” are living in a fantasy world. Budget cutting — and this includes entitlements — is far from “mindless” if we are to avoid another, probably worse, financial crisis.

There may be a chance yet to turn around this ship of state before it sinks, and head back to the safer port of fiscal restraint. A reading of history should not be comforting to those who believe this country cannot fail.

The sums referenced needed to buy these island properties are indeed relatively small when contrasted with our nation’s deficit. But multiply this by countless other items that are nice but not vital to our national security and you get the picture.

The U.S. Senate majority leader made headlines recently by decrying the loss of funding for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Out in cowboy country this may seem as important as adding to Acadia National Park is to the people who love Maine. If enough of us keep on acting like Harry Reid we’re done for.

The Rockefeller donation was private money, and private money should and can expand the park. Why should we ask the folks in economically struggling communities across the land and their children’s children to pony up for this added borrowing?

Our federal government is broke. Let’s use some common sense and take a better route to the laudable goal of enhancing this beautiful heritage.

Alan Boone of Bangor is a retired physician.

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