LETTERS

Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012: Tax the rich, candidate endorsements and education

Posted July 31, 2012, at 4:33 p.m.
Last modified July 31, 2012, at 4:51 p.m.

Sensible solutions

It is past time to reform our tax system. Our government is spending money it doesn’t have and cutting government services that we all — but especially middle-class and poor people — depend on, everything from schools to roads to medical care.

I’m no Warren Buffett, but I could (and would) pay more taxes if our system were reformed to make sure the well-off are truly contributing their fair share. In my case, if dividends and capital gains were taxed at the same rate as wages and salaries, I would be on the hook for a bigger payment to Uncle Sam each April. That would be my “fair share.”

America cannot continue to run up more debt and thus endanger our country’s credit and standing in the world.

We’ve decided through the democratic process that our government should provide certain services — how can we decide at the same time not to pay for them? That’s where I, and those much more fortunate, come in. We need to pay our fair share. The lower middle class has enough to do just to get by — the government should not look to them for more taxes.

But through measures such as allowing the Bush tax cuts for that portion of a family’s income that exceeds $250,000 expire (only 2 percent of households make that much money), we can raise much-needed revenue from those who can afford to supply it. I hope our two senators support this and similarly sensible solutions to our fiscal crisis.

Jean Cusick

Hancock

Embarrassment

Speaking as a registered Republican, I find the behavior of Gov. Paul LePage to be an embarrassment for our party as well as our state. We live in a time when America desperately needs thoughtful answers to some very complex questions, but he offers only vulgarity and bizarre insults.

Can the people of Maine improve this situation by sending Angus King to the U.S. Senate in November? Perhaps. In any event, I recommend voting for King as one way to protest against the current behavior of LePage and my party.

Paul Holman

Camden

Honor promises

Meredith Ares, a Democrat running for the state House of Representatives in House District 41, is the best candidate for the district and for Maine.

As a university student, I am worried about the state of the economy. So many students are burdened with student loans and facing a future that is uncertain. In order for there to be change, it has to happen at every level of government. This starts here with our local election.

Ares has not only inspired me to seek a career in politics but reaffirmed my faith in the political process. She is working tirelessly to become our representative, and I am confident Meredith will continue to make the right choices for Maine. She is dedicated to creating policies that will work to keep money in the hands of the working class to revitalize the economy. This will improve the job outlook for Mainers, giving young people a future in their home state.

It will be nice to have someone in Augusta who will be true to the people and honor their promises.

Sage Norberg

Belfast

Frey vote

I recently spoke with the Democratic candidate for Maine House District 18, Aaron Frey. I was happy to hear he is in favor of regulating big insurance corporations to lower the cost of health care for Maine families. It is high time Bangor elects a representative who thinks health care is a right, not a privilege. The cost of health care is reaching all-time highs right now, and the current Legislature’s response to this is to pass LD 1333, a law that allows insurance companies to drastically raise rates with no improvements in care.

Corporate giveaways like LD 1333 are the type of law that Frey would not tolerate. Please join me in voting for Frey this coming November.

Fred Thibodeau

Bangor

LePage uneducated on education reform

If Gov. Paul LePage truly wants to reform education he should act like a Republican who favors a small and limited government and get the government out of education.

Improving schools is as basic as teaching. All teachers know rewards and incentives work better than sanctions and punishment. People will do the minimum in order to avoid punishment, but rewards are met with enthusiasm and effort. Every parent, every teacher, knows this.

If LePage wants to control things, he needs to study history. His plan of state takeovers, teacher accountability and choice has been tried in other states. The results speak for themselves: budget deficits, continued poor academic performance, widespread cheating by school administrators, financial fraud and a climate where bullying extends from the top down.

If LePage had an education on education he would never propose the reforms he has. Education starts at the top. LePage needs to demonstrate he has one before his methods are implemented.

Ken Allan

Machias

Positive results

As a 25-year veteran of the public school system, teaching kindergarten through grade 8 art, and as mother to four boys, I have had lots of opportunity to observe the apparent causes of success for children.

The two most salient factors for success, I notice, are parents supporting their children and demonstrating enthusiasm and curiosity for learning within a stable secure home.

The second ingredient is parents’ support of their children’s teachers. To disparage them or schools in front of the children sabotages the relationship with their teachers. If there are concerns, they should be directly communicated to the teachers and supervisors without involving the child.

Constantly, “new and better” methods are being presented, but few will prove effective if there is no interest or curiosity on the part of parents in learning, engaging in conversations and questioning with their children.

Schools and their teachers cannot be blamed for everything if the whole picture is ignored. They can be blamed for being reactive to every new survey resulting in yet another change in methods to be tested with yet another definitive test.

The whole picture demands the active participation of parents in their children’s learning, a hard sell in this consumer-based society where both parents feel they have to work outside their homes to provide for the physical needs of their children. I hope that paying attention to the other hunger — the hunger for learning in connectedness — will result in more positive results for our children in their schools.

Margret Baldwin

Surry

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