LePage’s ‘bully’ pulpit
The dictionary defines “bullying” as being “habitually cruel to others weaker than themselves.” But there is more than one kind of bullying. There is what might be called Type I bullying, in which individuals taunt, harass, abuse and otherwise undermine the self-worth of others more vulnerable.
To his credit, Gov. LePage has been eloquent and forthright in denouncing this type.
But there is also Type II bullying, in which whole institutions gang up on the vulnerable. Here the governor has become Augusta’s head bully. Not content with rewarding themselves with unneeded tax cuts, the governor and his fellow bullies now propose a DHHS budget that attacks the least powerful and most vulnerable among us: children, working parents and young adults living below the poverty level; those with disabilities, seniors and childless adults; children with serious emotional or behavioral problems; and Maine’s entire Head Start program, to name just a few.
As in the past, the attack will come accompanied by pious statements about the need for austerity, belt-tightening and sacrifice. But as we face the coming winter with families without adequate food, homes without adequate heat and citizens without adequate medical care, rest assured that there will little or no belt-tightening or sacrifice among Gov. LePage and his fellow bullies. For them, sacrifice is for the weak, not the strong.
Single mom smear
Kudos to the Bangor Daily News for smearing mud all over millions of hardworking single mothers who are struggling to raise their children. This, by publishing the completely unsubstantiated rantings of Christine Rouselle, who complains that as a cashier for Walmart she saw welfare recipients buying toys, candy and jewelry. As if welfare recipients don’t have a right to spend their funds as they wish, within the confines of the law.
Rouselle goes on to complain about food stamp recipients buying lobster, as if food stamp recipients are second-class citizens whose diets, and dignity, should be determined by 20-year-old Rouselle. I find it abhorrent that while the poor are under intense, vicious attack by Gov. LePage and his ilk, the BDN sees fit to put Rouselle’s anecdotal, unsubstantiated rants anywhere in its pages, let alone on the front page.
Shame on Rouselle and shame on the Bangor Daily News.
Pay now, or more later
Our governor says it gives him no pleasure to take away vital supports from poor people, but he set us up for just that by passing his big tax cut for affluent people last year, so he must at least feel satisfied!
It’s part of the playbook of the right wing: diminish government income by cutting taxes and then tell us there isn’t enough money for social programs. Killing those programs is their goal, and pretending otherwise is dishonest. Cutting taxes is their admitted way to get there.
Will we actually save money? I can save money now by not changing the oil in my car, right? But when the engine is ruined, will I have saved any? A mechanic can turn me away if I ask him to install a new engine that I can’t pay for. Hospitals, though, are not allowed to turn sick people away, so those with insurance see their rates soaring to cover those costs.
Which is cheaper in the long run: paying for various forms of preventive care, or paying later for the predictable bad results?
The governor’s plan does more than just shift costs to other payers – it increases them! Those costs are going to be paid somehow, and if not by government, then in some less efficient way. That’s a big problem with our health care system – it costs way too much because money is siphoned off for corporate profits. Unfortunately our governor seems to like it that way.
Successful wealth redistribution
Amazing. The pope says something that even a fervently lapsed Catholic can applaud: redistribute the wealth.
Maybe he read about Rick Perry’s $7,000 monthly pension on top of his governor salary. Or was it Newt’s $500,000 Tiffany bill that motivated the pope to speak out? Possibly even Bishop Malone’s new $600,000 mansion in Falmouth.
Actually, the Republicans have been redistributing wealth — upward — since the Reagan years.
Now the Pope should tell us how much Newt paid for his marriage annulment.