Friday, Feb. 28, 2014: Student debt, military costs, Joe Biden

Posted Feb. 27, 2014, at 11:37 a.m.

Free sophomore year

It’s not surprising that student debt is a hot issue as the state’s gubernatorial race draws near. The average debt for Maine students is an eye-opening $30,000; that is almost $10,000 more than the national average. This is especially significant for the state of Maine because we suffer from a perpetual exodus of young people — burdened with debt and searching for jobs

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s plan to deal with student debt, making the second year “free,” does nothing to solve the problem. Retention is a major problem, but enticing students to return by waiving the price for just one year is not a solution. It’s a Band-Aid. Students would still incur crippling debt. Furthermore, the system has less of a chance of convincing the right.

Compare the self-perpetuating “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back” model to $15.1 million dollars a year out of the state budget.

Students at UMaine are making their preference clear. Currently there are two organizations — the Maine Peace Action Committee and Umaine Independents — endorsing LD 1702 and “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back.” There is also a petition that has just started that has already collected over 100 signatures. I invite all of you to sign this petition.

Maine politics typically play it safe; we cannot afford to do that anymore. The student debt crisis is crippling the state and nation. This is a chance for Maine to move forward, to embrace our state motto: Dirigo. Be bold, be practical, be fair; lead.

Michael Bailey

President of the Maine Peace Action Committee

Orono

Pentagon costs

Don’t be alarmed that in these dangerous times the Pentagon announced a cutback in our armed forces to pre-World War II levels. Rest assured that our lobbied-to-death Congress will give the green light to no-bid contractors seeing nothing but profit ahead and be able to provide mercenaries to cover the reduction. They can also be counted on to constantly remind us that the next war is inevitable.

We as taxpayers should be wary of all attempts to privatize services that protect and support us. Once given up to the corporate profiteers, regaining control is a real battle. Those who don’t think no-bid privatization is costly should investigate the reason why gasoline for our forces in Afghanistan is costing the taxpayers $400 per gallon.

Whether it’s for military, public safety, education, health care, prisons, mail, parking meters or any other public service, there is a mountain of evidence that privatization costs taxpayers more and frequently has dismal results.

If the Alexander Group now profiting from a no-bid contract to study Medicaid expansion in Maine isn’t a prime example, nothing is.

Chris Young

Caratunk

The View

Vice President Joe Biden appeared on the TV show “The View” and repeated the Obama regime’s current mantra. Losing your job due to the high cost of Obamacare is a good thing! That’s because you were trapped in a dead-end job where you stayed just because it provided health insurance. If it weren’t for that, you’d be free to pursue artistic endeavors, write the Great American Novel, watch TV all day, etc. Losing your job because of Obamacare is liberation!

In my experience, “dead-end jobs” are the ones that don’t have health insurance in the first place. Jobs that do provide such coverage are good jobs, jobs that provide meaningful, challenging employment. These are the kinds of jobs that will be lost due to Obamacare, forcing people onto the welfare and unemployment rolls. Then again, that likely fits the regime’s goal, to increase the number of people dependent on tax dollars to live.

I thought Biden and his ilk were in favor of choice. Yet, they are taking away choice through Obamacare. We should not be surprised. Biden is a member of the ruling class, and they know what’s best for us and are ready and willing to make those choices for us.

Larry Gilbert

Hampden

 

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