Friday, Nov. 25, 2011: Maine’s senators, holy days and flat tax on Social Security

Posted Nov. 24, 2011, at 9 p.m.

Applause for Snowe, Collins

I see that our Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins did not sign Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes” pledge and I applaud them.

Dick Wands

Old Town

Holy days in common

The holidays (or holy days) are upon us as we near the end of the calendar year. This is the season merchandisers use to make up for the shortfalls of the fiscal year. They seem to capitalize on our feelings by discounting goods and services we believe we need. The true reason for the season eludes our society with each financial crisis. The honest sentiment of the day sounds more like cynicism than optimism, as if our best days remain behind us rather than in front of us.

Holy days (sacred times) call us away from the ordinary and mundane to participate in something otherworldly, usually the divine and the sacred that help define life. Historically these sacred times followed the cycles of the moon and the seasonal transitions.

These sacred times are accompanied by ritual celebrations and music, food and special attire, gatherings of families and communities to reunite in this uncommon time. The emphasis of the various religious beliefs and faith practices are marking and renewing the connection between this life and the next, heaven and Earth, people with the divine in life.

Our holy days bring family and communities together and inspire individual reflection. We express gratitude for the bounty of the year, the harvest, good health and those we value, and we eventually pledge to reform our ways as the New Year beckons us forward.

Although our heritages and cultures vary in expressing appreciation for the gifts of life, the sentiment remains the same: peace on Earth, goodwill towards humanity. Pax.

James Weathersby

Spruce Head

Wolves in sheep’s clothing

It is difficult to accept that a beloved pillar of the community may have a dark side. The thing we must keep in mind is this is what pedophiles count on. Rarely is a child molested by a stranger. It is more often a trusted teacher, coach, religious leader or family member.

A pedophile purposely creates a public image of a caring, giving person. In order to engage in such deviant behaviors, a sexual predator carefully constructs a life that appears to be above reproach. By doing this he can not only gain access to our children, but he can also deflect any accusations that are brought against him.

We do not want to believe someone we respect and trust is capable of such terrible acts, but it is necessary for us to do so if we are going to protect our children. Protecting our children should be paramount to each one of us in the community. To best protect our children, we need to accept that some people are not what they appear to be.

The Bible warns us to beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matt.7:15.) Let us heed that warning.

Leslie Dyanne

Ellsworth

Collins got job done

Have you noticed the air seems to be cleaner and the streets safer since Friday? Probably not, but they are and we have Sen. Susan Collins to thank due to her unwavering leadership to allow more productive vehicles to use the entire interstate system in Maine for the next 20 years instead of forcing them to use Maine’s secondary roads and downtown streets.

Sen. Collins has been relentless for over a decade about this issue, not because it would get her votes or because it was a high-profile problem that put her in the media spotlight. No, the reason she has been so persistent is because it has always been the right thing to do for Maine people and because she always understood it would improve the safety of those who travel on our secondary roads and the safety of those who live along truck routes.

Let there be no doubt that the path to her announcement that the president signed the 2012 transportation funding bill including her truck weight provision was fraught with uncertainty and was by no means easy. Instead of folding and moving on when things got challenging, she faced each instance of adversity with grace and cheerful determination. It is clear the reason she was finally successful was because her colleagues in Congress knew she wasn’t going to give up on this issue.

We are all extremely fortunate to have such a strong advocate representing us.

Sen. Collins, thank you.

Brian Parke

President and CEO

Maine Motor Transport Association

What Kent said

I thank Kent Ward for putting into words why I live in Maine year-round (“Thankful for things to be thankful for,” Nov. 19).

Raymond Hills

Winterport

A better Social Security fix

“Social Security and Medicare also must reflect changes… Means testing is one approach; raising the retirement age is another,” (BDN editorial, Nov. 22).

Means testing would mean that Social Security would become a welfare program with all that implies. Increasing retirement age, especially in bad economic times like the present, would condemn many, maybe most, elderly to extreme deprivation.

How about a flat FICA, Social Security, tax? When Steve Forbes or Herman Cain talks flat tax, neo-conservatives applaud. Yet a flat tax for Social Security cannot be raised in polite society. Or by the BDN.

Mean income in the U.S. is about $60,000 and a person earning it would pay a Social Security tax of about $4,000 for the whole year. High income in the U.S. is $11 million and a person earning it would pay the entire tax sometime in the first couple days of the year.

A flat tax on that $11 million would garner about $775,000. Add the employer’s share of the FICA tax and each of these 1 percenters would contribute about $1.5 million to the Social Security fund.

Yes, “Social Security and Medicare also must reflect changes.” The changes they most need are ones that establish some degree of social justice.

Karen Saum

Belfast

Respect wind opposition

I am writing in response to the article about the residents of Lexington, Concord and Highland and their decision to oppose wind developments.

We have friends and family members who live there and we support them fully. These wind developments will greatly affect their quality of life and their real estate values and we feel their no votes — evidenced by the majority of residents signing petitions — should be heard.

We hope Gov. LePage will respect the votes of the residents in Lexington, Concord and Highland. We also hope the wind developers, Iberdrola and Highland Wind, will respect the will of these Mainers and go elsewhere.

Chuck and Jo Bessey

Kingfield

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/11/24/opinion/letters/friday-nov-25-2011-maine%e2%80%99s-senators-holy-days-and-flat-tax-on-social-security/ printed on July 30, 2014