Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011: Voting, the GOP and taxes

Posted Aug. 09, 2011, at 9:40 p.m.

Voting efficiency

I support efforts to restore Election Day registration, about which I have a question and comment.

It seems that same-day registration could save states money, since modestly paid poll workers would be processing the forms as opposed to salaried state or municipal employees. Is this true?

Bob Talbot’s (“Don’t go backward on voting rights”) petition to re-institute same day registration might gain greater support by promoting the position as a way to increase government efficiency.

Justin Martin

Orono

Voting justified

I hope that Matthew Gagnon’s future articles are more sensible than his inaugural effort, the subject of which was the foolishness of the same-day voting debate.

While I agree that the entire episode was foolish and self-serving for both political parties, I strongly disagree with Mr. Gagnon’s statements that “I would prefer it if fewer people voted,” and “The only people I want anywhere near a ballot box are those who have demonstrated they are actually invested enough in the process that they want to vote.”

Based on my understanding of the Constitution, every individual 18 and older has the right to register and vote early, on the day of the election or absentee. And unless Mr. Gagnon’s understanding of the Constitution is different from mine, no one has to justify their reason for choosing why and when to vote, not even to Mr. Gagnon.

Mark D. Roth

Bangor

Skeptical about GOP

After reading Republican legislator Beth A. O’Conner’s OpEd in the Aug. 6-7 edition of the BDN advising us to be patient because Republicans are turning Maine around I felt I should respond.

She stated that we should look at both sides of every issue and advises us to dig deeper than our local news. Does this mean that we can’t trust what we read and hear from our local news outlets? Should we take more stock in what we hear from outside entities like the Heritage Foundation?

She proudly proclaims that the Heritage Foundation came out in support of the Republican plan on health insurance reform. Is that supposed to give us all a warm and fuzzy feeling? What credibility do they have?

Another one of Ms. O’Conner’s statements was that empirical evidence shows minimum wage laws are bad for poor people and it’s just “feel good” legislation to get more votes. A group of economists has come out recently in favor of raising the minimum wage to help our stagnant economy and their studies also show that this would not have a negative effect on hiring.

When it comes to the Republicans turning our state around, Ms. O’Connor, paint me a skeptic.

Mike Avery Sr.

Milford

Tax, spend wisely

Now that our representatives have solved the debt crisis and allegedly put us on the road to economic recovery, I suppose we should show our appreciation that they have done this without raising taxes — or should we?

Those among us who were not enamoured of the Bush dynasty dwell on its various failings. Maybe we should add another to this list, the harm done by the “no new taxes” doctrine.

Time was when taxes were likened to a visit to the dentist — unpleasant but necessary. Now this outlook encourages the belief that taxes are sinful and hence to be detested and resisted. Unfortunately if one doesn’t think this through, it sounds appealing and gets votes.

A year ago when the health debate was going on, a European friend told me, “You Americans don’t deserve a universal health care system because you are not willing to pay for it,” an opinion echoed by several of my Canadian friends. Now it seems we are also willing to let our roads, bridges, etc. deteriorate further rather than raising the money to fix them.

Money can provide jobs, cuts won’t.

One is reminded of Churchill’s remark “You can rely on America getting it right — after trying everything else.” Regrettably we are deep in the throes of the “everything else” and until we change our mindset on taxes and send representatives to Washington with the courage to defy lobbyists and raise taxes we are likely to remain in this never-never land. Tax and spend — wisely!

Eric Charlton

Camden

Debt limit fallacy

Now look where the United States of America is. Raising the debt ceiling is akin to me opening another credit card account because all of mine are maxed out and start spending away — yet again.

If I ran my household like the U.S. government is running this country, I would be living under a bridge in a cardboard box with my possessions in a shopping cart.

America, please wake up!

Shirley A. McCormack

Bar Harbor

Support, but no money

I don’t understand the acrimony in Congress over the federal budget. Under the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, all spending bills are required to originate in the House of Representatives. No president, not Barack Obama and not George Washington, could spend a nickel unless the spending bill originates in and is approved by the House.

Our House of Representatives voted to adopt certain programs. Now, many representatives are voting not to fund the very programs they adopted. It’s like running up credit card debt, then, when the bill comes due, deciding not to spend the money to pay it.

The Democrats blame the Republicans for slashing social programs that benefit the middle class and the poor. The Republicans blame the Democrats for irresponsible spending on welfare, while they vote to preserve tax loopholes that dramatically reduce government revenues. What appears to be happening with both parties is spending first and then arguing about taxing or borrowing to pay for that spending when the bill arrives.

Could this tempest all be nothing but a ruthlessly calculated political charade aimed at incumbents’ re-election? Politicians promise social programs that people want and have been promised, like Social Security, Medicare and aid to education, then they go on record as voting to cut the very taxes that pay for the social programs the politicians themselves voted for.

To paraphrase a line from “Hello Dolly,” they stand for motherhood, America and a hot lunch for orphans and promise to vote against spending any money to pay for them.

Brent Slater

Bangor

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