October 17, 2017
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Comments for: Conservatives, liberals spar over causes of Maine’s income gap

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  • Anonymous

    Bold new investments?
    That is another none of those older slogans.

    That sound you hear is the bold new investments moving away.

    • Anonymous

      bold new investments, revenue, tax reform, fairer system, um.what are some of the other progressive terms for ‘gimme your wallet you conservative hater…..

      • Anonymous

        “Investment” to liberals are really tax increases for the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    Give the poor tax cuts,then yell that they don’t pay enough in taxes!

  • Anonymous

    conservatives: the poor are lazy, people don’t deserve “gifts” like affordable healthcare. Primary demographic: old angry white males

    liberals: the corporations have become too powerful, greedy and corrupt, no one can pursue happiness fairly without affordable access to a doctor. Demographic: everyone else.

    The election shows we are moving in the right direction: toward a progressive ethical future.

    • Anonymous

      Please do not insinuate ALL CONSERVATIVES think alike. FYI, they do NOT.

      • Guest

        They prove over and over that they are cut from the same cloth.
        It’s the problem they have one idea to wage war against those who don’t think like they do.

        • Anonymous

          Those who do not think the same as liberals are the ones who are crucified. Most of the comments in BDN replies, demonstrate that way of thinking.

    • Anonymous

      your comments highlight the problem…..you seperate classes of people and then try to sick them on each other….a progressive ideology is NOT ethical. It is morally bankrupt and anti-societal and condemns the people it tries to help to a life of human misery….all in the name of..’well, you suck and are worhtless and weak , but we are going to make your suckiness bearable”….stick with us kid, you cant go wrong…..

      • Anonymous

        Wow dude, put down that kool-aid.

      • Anonymous

        1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income. The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today.

        • Anonymous

          And those were our golden years!

    • Anonymous

      Your direction of a progressive ethical future basically ensures mediocrity, dependence, decline and equal crappiness for all.

      • Hayseed.

        How does it “ensure” all that now? I tell ya, I would be completely happy to pay more in taxes knowing that ALL of us would have access to healthcare. If some want to take it an extra step further and supplement with their own insurance plan (like they can do now with a Medicare supplement), well then bully for them.

        That said, I don’t think Obamacare is the right thing either…it’s just forcing all of us to buy insurance and that only benefits the insurance companies. The answer is so simple but there’s probably not much profit in it so it gets buried in ridiculous amounts of red tape.

        This country has its mitts in military maneuvers all over the world but we can’t seem to get a grip on taking care of our own, for a fraction of the cost of what it takes to fund all branches of the military (just the stuff the public KNOWS about) and that’s just a darned shame.

        • Anonymous

          I would be interested in your comparative numbers. The healthcare industry accounts for 17.7 % of GDP and unless I am mistaken military spending accounts for 4.7% of GDP.

          • Anonymous

            It depends on what you count in Military expenditures. If you are going strictly defense budget it is 4.7%. If you include all the costs incurred by the military it is closer to 9% (including Veterans Benefits, interest on the debt incurred for past military spending, Funding for related Military expenses by other organizations). The only reason Healthcare is that expensive is because it is handled by the private sector. If the government ran it we would have cheaper healthcare costs (as witnessed by the efficiency of medicare/medicaid where 95% of the costs are spent on health outcomes as opposed to the private sector where 70% is spent, the rest goes to the private sectors bloated bureaucracy as well as health care spending in other first world countries with universal health care). If the government took it over, Healthcare spending and defense spending would be roughly equivalent.

          • Anonymous

            And you base this on what?

          • Anonymous

            Probably based on Japan’s model, where the government tightly controls the price for health case services. In the US, we provide less services annually than many other industrialized countries (and we have more citizens) but we pay MORE towards public health care partly because doctors, etc. earn more here, so our government pays more for the same services (or less service) than other governments do.

          • Anonymous

            I think you are confusing GDP and the budget.

    • Anonymous

      Oh please, “affordable access to a doctor”?

      the plan from your side niether ensures affordability nor does it gaurantee access to medial treatment

      there is nothing progressive or ethical about it, as it will only lead to reduced access to critical services for the poor and lower income folks

    • Anonymous

      Everything you just said is false.

    • Anonymous

      Thought I’d fix this for you.

      “The election shows just how far down the rabbit hole we’ve fallen: Toward a nightmarish future of hyperinflation, starvation and chaos.”
      Enjoy that SpruceDweller – you helped make it possible.

      • Anonymous

        So you have joined the doom and gloom club. Well, to be honest, had R-R won I would have joined one. But I doubt your predictions will bear any fruit. We are making steady progress. Today’s economic headlines suggest it is continuing.

        • Anonymous

          The headlines the media is controlling? Wow you are more naive than I thought. Believe me if MR had won the headlines would be featuring the under and unemployed, the high cost of fuel and food , homeless people begging at every stop light. Where is the occupy movement now?

          • Anonymous

            Granted. But data is data. I tend not to look at how it is spun. Oh, and by the way. Occupy is busy with Sandy and the Rolling Jubilee http://rollingjubilee.org/

      • Guest

        What is it with you folks and your attitude that the world is ending?!
        Unless the Mayans have it right, the sky isn’t falling, the end is not upon us.

    • Anonymous

      These comments about “old angry white males” versus everyone else are racist and disgusting. Obama’s egalitarian nihilism is anything but “ethical”. Forced collectivism dragging people down to a lowest common denominator is not “ethical”. The right of the pursuit of happiness for each individual does not require or impose a duty on others to supply anyone with health care or anything else, which servitude is the opposite of the moral ideal of American individualism. “Progressive” statists and “ethical” are opposites.

  • Anonymous

    They need to shift the cost of schools from property taxes to a one percent sales tax, this is urgently needed.

    • Anonymous

      I could go with that if you reduced property taxes.,

      • Anonymous

        The education empire in Maine NEVER allows increased state funding to education to result in lowered property taxes.

    • Anonymous

      An excellant idea; however, would the tax collected be used as intended??? It might work at the local level but can’t trust the state while constantly operating in the red…………. Also each community collecting taxes, because of demographics, population, etc would be unable to collect what is required to operate schools. There would be too much disparity between communities…………… Just as property taxes are now…………. Very unfair the amount of taxes collected to support our public schools………… To expect property owners to pay while non owners get a few ride………… Another area the state needs to address but won’t…………… So we keep on keeping on to educate our K-12 schools so they can leave the state to find suitable work…………. These whiz kids doing theiir studies; we’ve known for years what the problem is by living and experiencing the hard times………….. You want to make changes in Maine, start by creating and fostering business development in this state and do something about the God D*#m special interest groups that get involved trying to stop any development. …………………..

  • Anonymous

    Socialism has clearly been foisted upon us by the libs! Watch out for socialism! Democrats are really socialists! We have to give the “job creators” a break – they “earn” their money!

    • Anonymous

      Been given the so called job creators a break for 3o years now.

      • Anonymous

        And, how many jobs have they created? Or, what size is their protfolio now?

    • Henderson bobby

      Lot of small business people would hire help it thier was enough work .

  • Anonymous

    Question for Mr Martin, I understand you don’t agree with the conservative postion but other than critiize, what do you offer for a solution to create more jobs and opportunities to the poor who need it? Either offer solutons or shut the heck up, grown very tired of the politics… WE NEED SOLUTIONS

    • Anonymous

      um didnt you read between the lines..bigger government….that is ALL his ideas are and they will save MAine

    • Anonymous

      Martin’s giveaway clue was “investments” known to most people as taxes, more government spending, blah, blah, blah.

    • Anonymous

      The city of Cambridge, MA has an ordinance that requires anyone doing business with the city pay their employees a living wage. Cities here and in MA refuse admittance to Walmart because their employees would be a drain on local social services. The Costco model of paying a living wage and offering affordable benefits would be an excellent solution. Here is a company that makes a tidy profit AND takes care of its employees in a responsible way lessening the burden on state and federal social service dollars.

  • Hayseed.

    True story: Friend/neighbor hardcore right-winger, all mad at the left because “I worked my whole life, never asked for a dime, got to where I am on my own, and that Obummer guy can go to H-e-double hockey sticks.” Same dude just added onto his barn thanks to USDA grants. How is that getting to where he is on his own now?
    :-/

    • Anonymous

      I expect you fudged that story a little. I am willing to bet your neighbor got a USDA loan. Which he has to pay back. Good story though.

      It seems to me that would all be better off cutting the poor a check for $50k annually,,, It costs more than that to serve those below the poverty line. At least that way we we could bet rid of a bunch of Democrats in government.

      Of course you would just have to do that again next year.

      • Anonymous

        The interest rate is still subsidized by the tax payers allowing him a lower interest rate than he would otherwise qualify for. I am sure he also gets to deduct the expenses on his taxes he pays, therefore having the American public further help him build his barn.

        • Anonymous

          Are you saying that allowing a person to keep their own money is being subsidized?

          The poster above said it was a grant…. doubt it.

          The USDA guarantees loans… does not subsidize according to a quick search. They reduce the cost of the loan by reducing the “mortgage insurance” with that guarantee.

          • Anonymous

            The barn builder is “entitled”.

            and a hypocrite.

            Yessah

          • Anonymous

            Still relying on the government. Why not get a completely private loan?

          • Anonymous

            Good point. Most could.. The only difference it appears is the “guarantee part” which involves the “mortgage insurance.” Not really a loan at all.

          • Are you saying that using taxpayers’ money to reduce the cost of the loan is NOT being subsidized?

        • Anonymous

          Oh, so you are saying we already have programs to help people in their economic struggles?

        • Liberal Soup N Crackers

          Interest rates are rock bottom.

      • Anonymous

        It’s still subsidized though. You don’t get to screech that you got everywhere on your own when you didn’t. It’s a lie when people say that.

        • Anonymous

          Oftentimes people can do things on their own. I know woman who got an FHA loan and I told her at the time she should get a conventional mortgage. Sure enough 7 years later she discovered she owed as much now as then. I suggested a conventional mortgage again and she is doing fine. She just had been convinced that she needed government help and really didn’t need it to begin with. A confidence thing I guess.

          • Anonymous

            It doesn’t matter though — it’s saying you do all these things on your own despite the reality that you haven’t. Whether it is large or small, we don’t do anything on our own, period. At some point in the past, present and future, you have had help from the government. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s important that the government facilitates a system so we can all succeed or fail. The issue is is that some like to pretend they have never gotten help in some way and use that as an excuse to undermine the system — that’s wrong.

      • Guest

        …………………..not easy

      • Anonymous

        The NRCS, a branch of USDA, does indeed provide grants.

        • Anonymous

          My understanding is they do not provide grants for small barn additions.

    • Anonymous

      And just what is the USDA doing in the business of giving mortgages anyway? Does it have to do with “agriculture”? The same way the govt has taken over the student loan business? Maybe the person got a loan at a low rate but when and if he sells he may be restricted to how much he can make as profit? How did he qualify if he was so well off? I guess he actually has means to pay the loan off and return the money to the taxpayers rather than taking it and give back nothing?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t blame him for getting a small portion of his taxes back that were taken from him for redistribution. It doesn’t detract in the least from the fact of his independent efforts for his own success.

  • Anonymous

    my question is Are the bottom 20% on welfare?

    • Anonymous

      Many are because of businesses that pay public assistance wages. Walmart and Hannaford topped the 2005 list. I imagine since the economy tanked even more of their employees are qualified for public assistance.

  • Anonymous

    When it comes to someone else’s money, socialist democrats hate minding their own business. Therefore, they have an impulsive desire to intervene in the affairs, coerce, and extort money from the populace.

    • Anonymous

      Oh please, is that why the top percentiles scream and cry about the government crushing them? They’ve seen their income increase and their taxes have never been lower, but if they don’t get more tax cuts and preferential treatment they’ll have to cut jobs and hide their money over seas? Please, get real. The top percentiles have much of their money because the government facilitates a system that helps them out. Don’t be dishonest here.

      • Anonymous

        A system that protects freedom and private property makes it possible for people to succeed. It does not give them what they have. Not being taxed even more than people are now to take more from them is not “preferential treatment”. People being savaged by redistributionism have every right to escape it in any way they can. The wreckage of the economy and loss of jobs is only the consequence of failing to protect property rights.

        • Anonymous

          Then who pays for that system? Nobody? The rich are just entitled to that system?

    • Anonymous

      Yet in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income, as in recent years. The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today.

  • Anonymous

    We are fast becoming a state of mansions and mobile homes, with nothing in between. The wages being stuck in the early 90’s has a lot to do with it. Working Mainers have watched their paychecks shrink for the last 20 years due to increases in the cost of living and no increase in their pay. If your pay is not going up 3% a year to keep pace with inflation, it is the same as taking a pay cut. These depressed wages are causing more and more working Mainers to need food stamps, heat assistance, and “free” health care down at the emergency room. Hopefully Augusta will eventually stumble on to the real problem and start to address it. “Trickle up” economics has brought us to where we are today. We need to try something different, if we expect a different result.

    • Anonymous

      I have noticed this for a long time. My wages haven’t gone up since the 90’s and everything in the grocery stores is so expensive. Most Deli meats are $6-7/lb, a little cup of potato salad is about $5. I can see the day when groceries will be my only purchase. We are going to have to keep earning less if we are going to compete with the Chinese though. I realize I could move away and make more money but then I would lose my quality of life so it is a trade off. I also realize I could just quit working altogether and let the gov’t take care of me and I would probably be better off. I could afford to smoke and drink and buy nice cell phones and cars but I would probably just waste away from boredom. Maine, the way life should be; almost.

    • Anonymous

      Tax cuts for the rich should fix it. Sure has worked in the rest of the country, where tax rates on the rich are at historic lows.

      • Anonymous

        Tax cuts do very little to actually create jobs. You do not need a degree in economics to know that giving people who have a tendency to hoard money more money is not the answer. We need to get back to being an exporting nation, not an importing one. We also need some innovation like we had at the turn of the last century. New ideas leading to new factories and making products that the rest of the world can’t live without.

        • Anonymous

          No one has a duty to give you jobs as a condition to keep his own property from being redistributed. The jobs are a consequence of a thriving economy in which people are able to keep what they own. Productive, successful people do not “hoard money”, but it is their right to do so if they so choose. We will become more of an exporting nation when progressives stop driving production out of the country; there is no shortage of the new ideas you correctly seek.

          • Anonymous

            Yes, we all know it is those “progressive” commie unions who are forcing “American” factory owners to embrace communism and move their operations to communist China. Now that is irony for you.

  • Anonymous

    Repeal the Teahadist LePage trickle-down tax agenda.

    Raise the minimum wage to a living wage.

    Single-payer health insurance.

    Problem solved.

    Yessah

    • Anonymous

      Price fixing of wages leads to less jobs. It’s simple supply-demand principles from ECO101.

      • Anonymous

        C’mon now. Don’t you know that if you raise wages it happens in a vacuum and doesn’t have any unintended effects on the rest of the economy?

  • You and I have wealthy friends or neighbors who moved to another state to escape the Maine income tax. So although they are still proud to be Maine people and live in the towns where they were born for part of the year — and probably even still have their businesses here — their legal residence is elsewhere. So they won’t turn up on any studies done on the distribution of wealth in Maine. Oh, and all of their vehicles are registered in Montana to avoid paying sales tax. Although they drive on Maine roads, they are doing everything they can to keep from helping you and I maintain those roads. The one percent didn’t get that way by sitting around picking their noses. Nobody ever said these people were fools.

    The humble Farmer

    • Anonymous

      Yes, freedom is such a curse. Too bad we still have some.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think that’s what he’s saying.

  • Anonymous

    The solutions are in Ron Paul’s farewell address:
    http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/transcript-of-farewell-address/

  • Anonymous

    People, You cannot raise yourself up by tearing someone else down

    • Anonymous

      That’s the laziest logic. Just pretending that outside factors do nothing and everything is an individual effort.

    • Anonymous

      John Galt 1967 is a true individual. Does not and has not EVER used any publicly-funded infrastructure or services. DOES NOT benefit from the rest of society being educated and policed. Yes, creates all his own energy, grows all his own food, and every cent he has ever earned was not supported in any way by a subsidy.

      Listen y’all, if you can’t live like John Galt here, then you apparently aren’t worthy of living here in hte good ‘ole USA.

      • Anonymous

        He said you can’t raise yourself up by tearing others down, and you aren’t.

        The benefit of living in a civilized society in which the rights and freedoms of individuals are protected, with goods and services obtained by trade rather than force, does not make people collectivists dependent on government. Living alone with no rational and voluntary relations with others is not the meaning of individualism, it is the false alternative promoted by the left.

  • Anonymous

    I call BS – does this report tell us ANYTHING about the movement of households from one “income group” to another? Are we to assume that a household that was in the lowest income group in 1995 is still there today? Does the report control for upward mobility, a defining characteristic of the American system?

    • Anonymous

      Upward mobility is a bit of a myth for us though. Aside from the UK, we have the worst numbers for upward mobility of any of the major countries.

      • Anonymous

        Prove that.
        Then prove that the heavy-handed policies that act as barriers to entry in so many lines of work don’t have something to do with it.
        Want to better yourself by operating a couple of taxis in Portland?
        Want to open a barber shop? Or just cut people’s hair in your own residence?
        And so on.

        • Anonymous

          I’ll link you to the studies, but you better not act like the lazy conservative who denies reality and ignores all the facts he/she doesn’t like.

          http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2007/05/useconomics-morton
          http://ftp.iza.org/dp1938.pdf

          I don’t have to prove those things because no one is arguing that upward mobility is impossible. No one said that, so don’t force people to defend a position they don’t hold. What is factually true though is that upward mobility is almost the most difficult of any of the major countries in the world.

      • Anonymous

        Shhhh… You mgiht ruin the myth that “WE’RE NUMBER ONE!”

  • Isaac

    There is no problem with the income gap. It is simply the result of people who actually work and those who don’t and leech off welfare.

    • Anonymous

      Pure stupidity. Your compensation doesn’t always equate with how much you work. That’s a ridiculous thing to claim.

    • People can argue about the causes and the solutions, though wide income disparity is a sign of an un-healthy society.

      A pyramid should be the goal. Major majority being the middle class, tiny minorities in the ultra-poor and ultra -wealthy.

    • Anonymous

      Wrong. It is the result of employers who pay their employees public assistance wages and/or do not offer a health care program their employees can purchase.

      • Anonymous

        Why don’t you open a business? You are free to pay your minimum wage skill level employees $100,000 a year with health insurance comparable with what the public drones get for free. Problem solved.

        • Anonymous

          Actually I work for and know of others who pay entry level employees a living wage and offer health insurance. It can be, is being done. I have started asking. Just did at my car repair center. And, yes, they all receive a living wage or better. Asked at my town office. And yes, a living wage or better for all employees.

    • Anonymous

      Isaac, I have to imagine you are a working person, and likely do not fall into the top percentages of earners. Does that mean you are just lazier than them?

    • Guest

      Are you saying you believe that or just saying that to cause a stir?
      As usual you folks didn’t get some of the message of the last election.

  • Moderation…moderation…moderation…not too capitalist, not too socialist…not too much taxes, not too little taxes…not too much spending, not too little spending…not too much welfare, not too little welfare…la di da

  • sassyfrazz

    Maybe it’s because once upon a time, a person who didn’t (or couldn’t for whatever reason) go to college could sew shoes and by piece, make as much as the average highly-educated person does (and without the college debt to boot).

    I suppose that argument wouldn’t leave much wind in the “liberal and conservative” brawl that does little (IMO) but waste time and cause even more acrimony though.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s the same the whole world over,
    it’s the poor wot gets the blame,
    an’t it’s the rich wot gets the gravy,
    ain’t it all a bloomin’ shame?”
    19th century Cockney ditty
    “She Was Poor, But She Was Honest”

  • Anonymous

    “Maine’s new legislators that they should abandon some of the policy changes that have been enacted under the Republican-controlled Legislature in the past couple of years such as tax reductions for the wealthy and cuts to social services…”… Paul’s efforts to help Mainers… LOL!

  • Anonymous

    “the poorest 20 percent saw no financial growth at all, according to the study.”

    No kidding. Being too lazy or unskilled to work, relying on the government handouts is no path to financial growth.

    • Guest

      ……

    • Anonymous

      I betcha most of the poorest 20% work more hours per week than you do! Two jobs at minimum wage is still poverty.

  • Anonymous

    Income disparity comes from multiple reasons. On the top end more people than ever have college degrees thereby putting themselves in a better position to earn more and widening the disparity.

    Certainly one of the most important reasons has come about from the increasing number of women with college degrees, especially degrees that pay more such as law, medicine, management, engineering and finance. At the same time these women tend to marry men with college degrees, resulting in even higher income households.

    On the other end of the scale there have been an increasing number of single women with children and poor educations. These women have far poorer odds of climbing out of poverty and their children may be also similarly affected.

    We have seen a large increase in immigration. Whereas only 2% of the native population has not gone beyond eighth grade, 18% of the foreign born have not exceeded an eighth grade education. Those with poor educations and speaking a foreign language have a difficult job finding decent jobs. At the same time they are competing with and driving down the wages of those who are native born with similar educational attainment.

    Other factors such as increased drug use surely depresses the incomes of abusers. I’d be willing to bet the increasing numbers of people who are obese likewise are depressing their incomes.

    • Anonymous

      What about those of us – and there are a great many – who hold advanced degrees yet still live paycheck-to-paycheck? We don’t fit your tidy formula!

      • Anonymous

        If someone has a useless degree or is not interested in working for a higher income then nothing will help him get it. The fact is there are a variety of reasons for income differences. People are not the same and the differences are not a “problem” to be “solved” by government in a collectivist drive for forced equality.

      • Anonymous

        There is no tidy formula and I am not suggesting there is. Isn’t it true that there could be many reasons for your situation? Income correlates with educational attainment but that doesn’t mean everyone with any given level of education makes the same income, some make less some make more.
        People have different ideas of living standards. I have friends who can’t live without their daily Starbucks fix, I’ve never had one, probably never will. I have one kid with a very good income who has no savings, a negative net worth, and lives from pay check to paycheck. I have another who has a relatively low income, a liberal arts degree in a not particularly remunerative field and works at a pretty ordinary job that does not require even a high school degree. That one owns a home with some equity in it, paid cash for his truck and owns stocks and has no debt outside of the mortgage. Both kids live pretty exciting lives but in very different ways.
        Anyway I hope things get better for you.

  • “There is no better or more direct way to guarantee Maine families with
    lower incomes have more money in their pockets to spend as they, not any
    government or bureaucracy, see fit than reducing or eliminating their
    tax burden,” said Savage.

    Both Jason Savage and Brent Littlefield fail to acknowledge the rise in local taxes and individual taxpayer expenditures that are required to make up for cuts to state funding for health, welfare, education, and road and other infrastructure maintenance.

    • Anonymous

      Ding! You sir are correct. But unfortuantely your rationale takes more than a quick soundbyte to explain and so will fall on deaf ears.

  • Anonymous

    We have no choice. Steal the money from those who have it and just give it to the recipients. Can someone send me some? I need another flat screen tv and a new smartphone. I can’t do without my directtv either and need to watch big bird.

  • anonme 527

    Economic Policy Institute appears to be a mouth-piece for the LePage Administration.
    “…including some who have lower incomes.”

    …Hmmm…wonder who the rest were…

    When Maine gets around to cultivating a prosperous and growing middle class discussion about who pays taxes will be irrelevant.
    When Maine gets around to building a transportation infrastructure that doesn’t rely on eighteen wheelers typically getting six-miles-to-the-gallon bringing food and supplies in from across the country, discussions about social programs will also become less relevant.
    Until then, we’re all getting scr*wed

  • Anonymous

    It seems that every comment on this article is written by a socialist. Except for me. We don’t need any form of government. There is absolutely no need for our wise overlords barking out commands at us, or redistributing wealth. Remember, governments have nothing of their own, because they produce nothing except misery, strife and destitution.

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