Very clearly it is the Republicans who are to be thanked for averting a government default. President Barack Obama would not negotiate, period. He would not cut any costs to avoid exceeding the debt limit. He wanted the U.S. to go into greater debt and to raise the debt limit to accommodate it. He has raised the debt far more than any other president in history — to a point where it is now a serious drag on the economy, present and future.
Republicans tried to get Obama to agree to some cost cuts, but he wouldn’t talk to them about it. At the last minute, rather than have their country go into default, the Republicans said OK to Obama’s desire to increase the national debt and debt limit. No Republicans wanted this, but they could see that they were the ones who would have to lead here and step up to prevent default.
Obama (withdrawing himself from any leadership responsibility) was going to let the country default and blame the Republicans for it. The country did not default, thanks to the Republicans, who fought valiantly for avoidance of default by cost reduction, but in the end they could not get cost reduction from the president and, therefore, had to raise the debt limit.
The national debt is now over $17 trillion (and climbing rapidly), and Obama has no plans — that’s right — no plans to get it under control. This is the height of irresponsibility and incompetence.
“The more our feelings diverge, the more deeply felt they are, the greater is our obligation to grant the sincerity and essential decency of our fellow citizens on the other side,” said Ted Kennedy.
Chris Busby, in his Oct. 17 column “Susan Collins masquerades as a moderate,” does not grant the “sincerity” and “decency” the late Kennedy encouraged in all of us for “our fellow citizens,” some of whom also happen to be our political leaders. Instead he does the polar opposite and dismisses and maligns Collins’ work to reopen the government.
Kennedy was a liberal Democrat and a moderate who understood the art of compromise. Kennedy was also consistently part of solutions in Washington that kept the government functioning and moving in a forward direction. I am a left-leaning Democrat who supports the Affordable Care Act, and I will be a future recipient of its benefits. While philosophically I can disagree with Collins, I support and admire her diligent and consistent efforts to reach across party lines and be part of bipartisan legislation.
It was Collins’ plan and, more importantly, her leadership that jump-started the negotiations that reopened the government. Sadly, Busby’s article does not give credit where credit is due.
Josephine A. Power
Take it outside
In Jane Morrison’s Oct. 17 BDN OpEd piece, it is clear that the work of organizations such as Safe Voices have an important part to play in mitigating the injury that children experience when they witness their parents in conflict. However, a revealing article in the current issue of Smithsonian magazine demonstrates that even infants are affected by parents’ fights even before they can walk and talk.
University of Oregon psychologists have found through brain scans of babies 6 to 12 months old that areas of the brain that process stress and emotion are particularly active when there are angry voices. Whether this will affect their behavior later in life cannot yet be determined, but it raises the issue of whether those changes cause long-term problems in the ability to deal with conflict.
Many parents — hopefully all parents — care about their children, as evidenced by Morrison’s point that the presence of an older child can reduce instances of abuse. Yet it is evident that if parents — especially fathers — want to avoid damage to their children’s emotional well-being, they must not expose even the youngest to violence. Disagreements are bound to happen in any marriage, but parents should work out their differences away from innocent sons and daughters, who naturally do not know how to process conflict.
The BDN continuously writes negative articles about Gov. Paul LePage. There is more than one person in our government who should be criticized. It is obvious that our large Maine government is a burden on the Maine taxpayers. “Many people in government do the status quo to preserve their jobs.” That’s a quote taken from town clerks in my region.
If Maine wants to fix its big problems, it should stop talking and start acting. Become accountable for your actions and not just your words. Too many committees, too large of a government, too much talk.
For a state with residents who are highly dependent on aid, as the BDN reported recently, I ask from our leaders in Maine how they plan to act and not just meet in committee and only propose to reduce this problem, among numerous other issues. The problems are obvious here in Maine and across our nation.
LePage and his staff are not the problem. Inactivity, reckless spending and self-preservation in our state’s leaders should be eliminated. We still vote and pay our leaders, don’t we?
Christian D. McGinn
RSU 24 measure
The discussion I have read on the proposed breakup of RSU 24 has focused on the consequences for Ellsworth, Hancock and Lamoine and ignored how it would affect the towns that would remain.
It is apparent to me that a breakup, of questionable benefit to those who would opt out, would hit the remainder hard. The eastern towns, now sufficiently pressed to pay their fair share of central office cost, would have to fund the whole shebang alone. They would see either a big reduction in service, to the detriment of students, or a big hike in taxes.
I wish the BDN would give some consideration and coverage to how a breakup would impact those whom Ellsworth, Lamoine and Hancock would abandon. If these voters foresee, as I do, that a break-up means hardship for their neighbors, they may hesitate to approve the measure.