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Saturday, October 12, 2013: Maine budget, Susan Collins and government shutdown

Broken budget

Gov. Paul LePage has rightly distanced himself from talk of a supplemental budget to fix the state’s impending shortfall. He introduced a balanced budget last January, and Democrats rejected it, replacing it with half-measures and fiscal Band-Aids. It’s the Democrats’ broken budget; they should be the ones to fix it.

I commend my state Rep. Lawrence Lockman, R-Amherst, for submitting amendments to the Legislature’s budget bill. Lockman’s amendments would have balanced the state budget with sensible spending cuts instead of more tax increases. Of course, Democratic leadership insisted on tax hikes as the only option to pay for maintaining the status quo of runaway welfare spending that is cannibalizing the rest of the state budget.

One of the more outspoken advocates for fiscal sanity in the Legislature, Lockman is fighting to undo the damage done by decades of one-party rule by liberal Democrats. He received a “perfect” zero percent score on the legislative scorecard of the fringe liberal activist group Maine People’s Alliance, which uses outrageous tactics to promote the same failed policies that have made Maine such a difficult place to make a decent living. This is why I am rating him at a perfect 100 percent.

We need more fiscally minded representatives to do likewise.

The Democrats own their budget. In 2014 we will have the opportunity to re-elect the first governor in many years to set Maine on a fiscally sound trajectory and also to elect legislative candidates who support policies that actually make sense.

Renee K. Trust


What would Smith do?

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins once again has demonstrated her failure to measure up to the courage and independence of her Republican predecessors in going along with the radical right strategy to close the government to try to overturn the Affordable Health Care law.

As she has on other key issues, such as the nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, Collins follows along with House Speaker John Boehner and his tea party anarchists, who have moved to paralyze the country in pursuit of narrow ideological goals. The senator criticized House GOP efforts to link amendments undermining the health care law to the budget but then voted against a “clean bill” which would have allowed an up or down vote to permit the government to function. Votes matter; statements come and go.

The national health care plan was approved by Congress; it was declared legal by a conservative Supreme Court. Her presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who backed a similar health care plan in Massachusetts, was defeated decisively by Barack Obama a year ago. The Democrats won the Senate in 2012; Republicans actually lost seats in the House, though they managed to keep a majority due to redistricting and extreme “know-nothing” policies.

It’s time for Collins to stand on her own two feet, think what Margaret Chase Smith, William Cohen and Olympia Snowe would have done, and recognize the harm of GOP extremism. It is not in the national interest to close the government in this partisan fashion. If she wants to change health care legislation, she should do it democratically — in the next election.

Fred Hill


Incorrect conclusions

Occasionally, Matthew Gagnon’s column does not read like it was taken from Republican Party talking points. However, his Oct. 4 BDN piece about the shutdown does not fall into this category.

The column was supposedly about the causes of the shutdown, but there was no mention of the tea party. This seems disingenuous.

Also, he refers to “a House majority that was elected with a mandate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.” Clearly many factors were in play in each member’s district — including the effect of incumbency. Unfortunately though, he relies on that shaky logical pedestal to build his argument. It is not surprising that his conclusions are incorrect.

John Field


Intolerant, uncompromising

President Barack Obama and the Democrats purport that they are looking out for the middle class. However, the Obama Administration’s implementation of Obamacare has unilaterally provided numerous exemptions and waivers to Big Labor, Big Government and Large Corporations, including their not having negotiated these amendments in the act through the U.S Congress and Senate, at the expense of the middle class.

Furthermore, when the Democrats have called us “terrorists,” “extortionists,” “anarchists” and “arsonists” because we in the tea party movement stand-up for fiscal responsibility and fairness, it goes to show it is the Democrat Party that is intolerant and uncompromising.

Dale Ferriere


Choose wisely

Tragedy is always shocking and brings out diverse reactions — some good and some not so good. Last week in Bucksport we had a terrible tragedy with the loss of a beautiful young life.

Throughout eastern Maine, schools have rallied to the support of the students at Bucksport High School. The outpouring of love and compassion has been overwhelming.

On the not so good side, as with all tragedies, the rumor mongering has been very disappointing. One of the basic tenants of life is: Do others no harm. Said another way: Treat others as you would want to be treated. Fostering and repeating rumors violates both of these ideals.

We have lost the life of one beautiful young spirit, and the lives of many others will never be the same. We need to reach out to all involved with love and compassion and not spread rumors.

When I heard of this terrible event, my first reaction was, “There but for the grace of God go I.” As young people, we all did things that we should not have. I, and most everyone else, could have been that driver or the person killed. Let us never forget the things we did as youngsters trying to find our way in life and how lucky we were not to have had a serious accident like this. We need to react as a person who feels truly lucky to not have been in that situation and not as a gossip and spreader of rumors.

Love and hugs help these situations, and rumors and gossip make them worse. Choose your reaction wisely.

Bob Mercer


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