Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013: Wind power, climate change and Affordable Care Act costs

Posted Dec. 10, 2013, at 2:24 p.m.

Let’s compete

In response to reporter Mario Moretto’s Dec. 5 story, Gov. Paul LePage is uniquely positioned to lead Maine conservatives on the issue of climate change, regardless of whether he believes it’s human-caused or not. A revenue-neutral “tax swap” is a conservative, free-market approach where every dollar raised through a new tax on carbon would be 100 percent returned to taxpayers. Anything else is a nonstarter for conservatives and an exercise in futility to solve this national, bipartisan issue.

Pricing carbon is about fixing market distortions that currently exists through clumsy government regulations, fickle tax incentives, direct subsidies and the nonrecognition of negative externalities. As conservatives,we’re looking to pair any new carbon tax with corresponding cuts in other taxes in order to produce a “double dividend” of lower emissions and increased growth.

And as people who believe in free enterprise and liberty, we hope the future is shaped through elegant price signals rather than the stultifying regulations to regulate climate through the Environmental Protection Agency. We’re also advocating the end of all subsidies for all fuels to eliminate winners and losers from the energy market, which the governor also opposes.

Democrats have dominated the whole discussion about climate policy. As conservatives, we can continue to hide in the stands, or we can put forth our free enterprise, market-based solution and compete. And I say we compete with his help.

Price Atkinson

Director of Communications & Development

Energy and Enterprise Initiative

George Mason University

Fairfax, Va.

Wind ‘investments’?

I was interested in the Dec. 7 letter by Steve Perry of Lincoln who calls for the state of Maine to take on more “investments” in the wind industry. While these projects do give local construction companies some short-term cash, the long-term effects of wind power linger long after they have collected their last paycheck for destroying our forests, birds, mountaintops, lakes and streams.

If these were true investments, they would never get done. They are taking dollars from every Mainer and every American to fund projects that have little value in mitigating carbon dioxide and produce only a fraction of their output most of the time. The northeastern grid is not up to date enough to carry the intermittent output, and the upgrade will cost billions. Our rates go up again as we have to pay.

They are not responsible for shutting down one single gas, oil, nuclear or hydroelectric plant. If these were real “investments,” private companies would be looking to make a profit, selling power at a competitive rate. Since there have been no proven cases where that has shown to be possible, it has been pushed over onto the public sector, which has proven that the best thing it can do is throw our money at it; and when it fails, we get the bill, again.

James Lutz

Bangor

Free choice

BDN columnist and blogger Amy Fried asked why some ignore the subsidies in their discussion of health care. The subsidies are unreliable estimates that, according to healthcare.gov, may differ significantly from the final premiums and costs. They do not lower the cost, just shift the burden of who will pay. They are subject to change. Today the “emperor” has decreed his subjects shall pay 7-9.5 percent of their income for health insurance. Tomorrow he could decide we must pay 15 percent or 30-50 percent. We have no say in the matter. Our free choice has been taken away.

The Affordable Care Act has made health care unaffordable. Eighty-five percent of us were satisfied with our insurance. After the “un”Affordable Care Act is implemented, the Congressional Budget Office estimates in 2020, 30 million will still be uninsured.

When companies are subject to the “un”Affordable Care Act, their insurance policies will be canceled, and employers will not be able to pay these rates. Then, millions will be forced into this “Obamanation.” How did we get stuck with this punishing law, which the Supreme Court has ruled is an onerous tax? Because voters are gullible, lazy and math illiterate, and dishonest politicians are committed to forcing through their agenda.

The rest of us will be forced into a medical system where care is more expensive and has lower quality with fewer doctors.

Anne Gommel

Blue Hill

Gondola Harbor

Wow! Recently Gov. Paul LePage pointed out some of the benefits of global warming. As the ice around Greenland and the North Pole continues to melt, this melting could open up a “Northeast Passage” or northern sea route for shipping.

But there are other possible benefits, too. As sea levels rise, those living in coastal towns may be able to bring their boats right into the front yard and step out onto their back doorstep on the second floor. Lobstermen, shrimpers and clammers could save much time this way, assuming there are any shrimp, clams and lobsters left that have survived in the warmer waters. Also, imagine touring the village streets of Bar Harbor by gondola.

David P. Frasz

Dover-Foxcroft

Thanks for coverage

Thank you for to the BDN for the Dec. 6 article about Downeast Humanists and Freethinkers’ float in the Ellsworth Holiday Parade.

We do have two corrections:

First, we do not define ourselves as an “atheist group.” Many of our members are indeed atheists, but as humanists and freethinkers, we include many who do not self-identify as atheists.

Second, the very first sentence in the article stated that our float was “decidedly not about Christmas” — not so! The theme of our float was the history of the Christmas tree tradition!

Again, thank you to the BDN for the coverage, and season’s greetings to all.

Nancy Glista

Bar Harbor

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/12/10/opinion/wednesday-dec-11-2013-wind-power-climate-change-and-affordable-care-act-costs/ printed on August 27, 2014