Time to accept the election results
It has been more than a week since the election ended. We have seen several days of demonstrations and protests over the results. These protests have resulted in injuries to several police officers and other individuals.
For weeks before the election Democrats and President Barack Obama took Donald Trump to task for refusing to say that he would accept the election results if he lost. I guess things are different when the shoe is on the other foot.
Other than a brief statement the day after the election, there has not been one word from the White House to try to calm things down and put a stop to the demonstrations. This is not totally unexpected, but the silence is deafening.
Trump on-the-job training
On-the-job training is a great opportunity to find a career for a plumber, a carpenter, a salesman perhaps. But president of the United States?
After all, while Donald Trump may be a wonderful businessman, he has virtually no knowledge or experience in how our democracy works or even the Constitution. In the private sector, he can walk away if the other party does not agree to his terms. In national or international negotiations, it takes tact and diplomacy to come to compromise, for a my-way-or-the-highway only leads to impasse.
As the late Leonard Cohen sang, “Everybody knows / The dice is loaded,” and, yes, the system is stacked in the president-elect’s favor at the moment. We are immersed not in a Republican or Democratic ideology but a Trumpian one. It may work in our internal affairs for a while, at who knows what cost. In our relationship with other nations, though, Trump’s attitude of, “I’m very intelligent, I’m a great negotiator” and “ our interests first” may not be the answer.
We can only wish him luck.
Fix our health care system
Our family of five should be part of the effort to ensure the success of Maine’s economy. We run a small business with six employees, all paid above the minimum wage. We hire Maine-based consultants and suppliers to help us continue and grow our business.
Despite this, we are now looking for full-time jobs that come with health insurance benefits as we can no longer afford private health insurance. In 2016, we have paid Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield $24,257.28 for insurance. Our family deductible is $10,000. By the end of this year, we will have paid more than $34,000 for health insurance for our healthy family. Had we enrolled under the Affordable Health Act our costs would have been more as we do not qualify for the subsidy.
In 2017, Anthem has quoted $33,229.68 for our insurance, not including the $14,300 deductible. That comes to over $47,000 for 2017. Under the Affordable Care Act Bronze Plan, we might be able to bring our costs down to between $36,000 and $40,000. That’s hardly “affordable.”
Today’s health insurance costs are the greatest threat to our economy’s growth and success. Clearly, neither private health insurance nor the Affordable Care Act is affordable for our family. With the result of the election, there is an assumption that the Affordable Care Act will be overturned. We need our elected officials to recognize that their failure to develop a truly affordable health insurance system is preventing the success and growth of our state and national economies. It is long past time that the state and federal governments resolve this crisis.
East Blue Hill
Federal vaping regulations
As the owner of the Burning Moose in Brewer, I am concerned about federal regulations for alternative tobacco products that are poised to harm my business and others like it in Maine. My business provides reduced harm alternatives to smoking: vaping products. Many of my customers utilize these products to wean themselves off traditional cigarettes. Now, because the Food and Drug Administration set an ill-advised predicate date for the filing date on vapor products, I could be put out of business and these products may no longer be available to customers who depend on them.
The predicate date is used by FDA in their approval of vaping products. If a product has been on the market before that cut-off date, the product maker faces a much easier path to approval. The problem is that the current predicate, or cut-off date, is Feb. 15, 2007. This date works for most traditional tobacco products, but it would exclude nearly all vaping products.
Fortunately, there is a sensible fix to this problem. The Cole-Bishop amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill updates the predicate date to Aug. 8, 2016. The bill has already been passed by the House of Representatives and is now under consideration in the Senate. I hope Maine’s congressional delegation considers supporting this amendment and works to enact it into law this year. The new 2016 date is more workable for businesses like mine and places other acceptable guidelines on vaping products.
Trump’s hateful rhetoric
After I read Kathleen FitzGerald’s Nov. 15 BDN OpEd about why she voted for Donald Trump, I scratched my head and wondered how she and I can come to such different conclusions about Trump. The “hateful rhetoric” that she bemoans had its genesis with Trump, her candidate.
Does she not recall hearing and reading his comments about Mexicans, Muslims, blacks, women and differently abled people? Does she actually believe that a Trump administration — with a purported racist, white supremacist, accused domestic abuser as chief strategist — will allow “every American [to be] privileged to practice their faith without fear of persecution?” Has she not heard that the Ku Klux Klan is tickled white and celebrating Trump’s ascension to the White House? Has she not seen the photos of swastikas painted on walls and buildings in the past week? Has she not heard of the black church in Mississippi that recently was set ablaze with “Vote Trump” painted on the sides?
It seems many people who voted for Trump have no problem with his racism, misogyny and hateful rhetoric in the White House. Perhaps that is why FitzGerald’s family and friends are devastated by her vote and distancing themselves from her.