Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012: Entitlements, political tracker and out-of-state hiring

Posted Dec. 10, 2012, at 8:54 a.m.

Entitlement talk

I am sick to death of hearing “entitlements” used with a sneer. Most of us have worked 30-40 years at least, all the while paying into funds, not in order to receive an “entitlement,” but rather to receive our earned benefits, just as veterans and Congress receives them.

Have I missed something? I haven’t heard any talk about cutting spending for foreign aid, which helps the needy in other countries, but, if cut, might provide more funds to help our own needy. I haven’t heard any discussion about cutting subsidies to oil companies, or cutting subsidies to farmers. I have heard murmurs about negotiating drug costs for Medicare Part D, but this doesn’t go very far. After all, the above mentioned companies are only making billions in profits.

When talking about Medicare cuts, I hear little talk about cutting the costs, only talk about cutting services. And, there’s been no mention of the possibility of cutting the costs of supporting our Congress: The healthy pensions and health care that come with being elected to work for one term, be that two or six years. Are these “entitlements” included in these discussions?

The majority of us have voted for sensible solutions that benefit the (vast) majority. And, let’s please remember that after all we do live in a Democracy; one that should be ruled by what is best for the most.

Carol P. Gater

Belfast

Tracker or stalker?

David Farmer may think “trackers” are part of politics, however I would suggest that they are just another name for a stalker. A nasty practice when done by either party.

Bruce Porter

Greenville

Hire locally

It is outrageous that our Bangor City Manager Cathy Conlow showed her total disregard for Mainers by giving the fire chief position to someone from Michigan. I can’t believe there was not a qualified candidate in the area, and this position should have been filled from within the department.

As high as unemployment is, to give a job to an out-of-stater is just wrong. I ask the council replace her with someone who supports the local economy.

John McGinn

Bangor

Republican support, spending

After two days of long letters attempting to exonerate U.S. Sen. Susan Collins for electing to be a party hack, enlisted by the curmudgeons Sen. John McCain and Sen. Mitch McConnell, to shield them from criticism as “war on women” Republicans I must respond to the delusion.

For transparency purposes I will identify myself as a socially progressive, fiscally conservative independent who voted for Collins.

Not again, as a moderate she usually votes to her core values (i.e. her current support for continuing the middle class tax cuts) but when the party comes calling, core values are not part of the equation. An attack on Ambassador Susan Rice is unjustified if you are really attempting to analyze Benghazi. Are they too timid to attack Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or President Barack Obama? Do they mention that they’re cutting the State Department’s budget for security?

Where have all the real Republicans gone? Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower knew you had to pay for wars, even one he ran, with a tax rate of 91 percent. Albeit, he also knew that a healthy economy needed spending on infrastructure and not foolish military-industrial supporting wars.

If the Republicans want to be relevant again they must stop looking for political gain by attacking those who have no responsibility for an event and had to respond as the intelligence community wanted and get back to the basics of supporting the middle class which always produces a vibrant economy.

Bill Ward

Ellsworth

Population and representation

If Lawrence Reichard (“5 Reasons to dump the Electoral College,” BDN Dec. 5) really wonders “Why should Wyoming’s 600,000 residents have as many senators as California’s 37 million people?” Perhaps he should ask a high school student to explain the Connecticut Compromise of 1787 to him.

Using the current House numbers, in a unicameral Congress with representation based solely on population, four states — California, Texas, Florida and New York — would control 28 percent of the votes, 123 out of 435. Five Southern states — again, Texas and Florida, plus Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia — would hold 111 votes, or 26 percent. New England, on the other hand, would total 21 votes, only 5 percent. To think the U.S.Congress, no matter how well-intentioned, would not vote in ways that benefit their own regions is naive at best.

Here in northeastern Maine, we feel the effects of a state legislature controlled by the more-populous southern counties without a counterbalancing chamber with equal representation from all areas. The current inequity in the school funding formula is one example. Instead of complete representation by population, maybe Maine should adopt the federal system and elect two senators per county.

Catherine J.S. Lee

Eastport

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