In a March 8 BDN article about Gov. Paul LePage’s town hall meeting in Yarmouth, the governor is quoted as saying: “Respect is not given. Respect is earned. I am more disrespected on a daily basis than anyone in this room.”
That about says it all, governor.
Tax carbon emissions
I am concerned about global warming, and I recently joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby, an organization with a single mission: to enact a federal carbon fee and dividend bill.
Fossil fuels would be taxed at the source — oil wells, coal mines, natural gas fields — making the price we pay for carbon fuels and goods produced using carbon fuels more in line with their true costs.
A carbon fee and dividend is a revenue-neutral carbon tax with 100 percent of the fees collected returned directly to households as a dividend. For a majority of Americans, their dividend will exceed their increased costs for gas and heating oil. People will be rewarded for making wise energy choices, and factories and other businesses will have economic incentives for powering their plants with fuels that don’t produce greenhouse gases.
This is a market-based strategy to reduce carbon emissions and global warming, so I was heartened to read that the conservative Climate Leadership Council has proposed a similar carbon fee and dividend initiative to the current administration. The Climate Leadership Council’s proposal has key differences from Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s, but even so it common ground. Liberals and conservatives alike want to leave the planet habitable for their children. To do that, we need everyone on board.
I urge people to read more about the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Carbon fees and dividends are a step toward building a sustainable energy future, and the fact that conservatives and liberals are thinking along similar lines gives me hope.
Time to consider the 25th Amendment
Before a dire situation with President Donald Trump turns catastrophic, it is time for the vice president and Congress to take a long look at the provisions of the 25th Amendment concerning removing a president from office.
Donald R. Nuttall
Gutting services for the poor
I really have to hand it to Gov. Paul LePage for proposing a budget that gives tax breaks to those who need them least, while virtually guaranteeing that seniors and others on fixed or low incomes will pay proportionately more in property and sales taxes. It also guts essential state programs and denies the poor access to medical care. With any luck, the plan will work, and droves of those pesky low-income Mainers will die off from lack of medical care, saving Maine’s needy 1-percenters even more tax dollars.
LePage’s budget also ingeniously complements congressional Republicans’ attempts to give much-needed tax relief to millionaires nationwide. Under the Affordable Care Act, hardworking day-traders are forced to pay draconian taxes just so low-income losers working three part-time jobs can get treatment for trivial complaints such as diabetes and cancer. One-percenters forced to pay such unfair taxes have suffered greatly, being unable to afford Jaguars and second homes in Palm Beach, Florida, having to make do instead with Audis and second homes on Martha’s Vineyard.
In a national crisis of unprecedented proportions, these oppressed 1-percenters are now not even able to buy luxury items under the Ivanka Trump label at Nordstrom’s. But thanks to LePage’s budget and congressional Republicans’ health care legislation, the worst abuses against millionaires will be addressed at the expense of the poor, whom divine providence has placed in poverty because they are obviously bad people who deserve their miserable lot in life.
Where is Poliquin?
There’s a children’s book called “Where’s Waldo?” The 2nd Congressional District could write a book called “Where’s Bruce?” Over the February recess, he supposedly returned to Maine to meet with his constituents. Except, to my knowledge, he didn’t do any such thing.
During that week, I called his office twice to ask where he would be holding town-hall meetings. His office staff couldn’t provide that information. I asked, “Does he have anything on his schedule?” The response was that she didn’t know of anything. In fact, one staffer told me they didn’t really even know where he was.
I then offered to host a town hall meeting in Brownville. To my knowledge he has never been here, but then again he seems to be invisible, so maybe I didn’t see him.
Border a costly investment
On Jan. 25, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that instructs the secretary of Homeland Security to “take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border … to most effectively achieve complete operational control” of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell estimates it will cost $15 billion at most, other estimates put the cost over $20 billion, given the remote and rugged terrain to be covered. This wall is being built at a time when the Pew Research Center finds immigration from Mexico to the U.S. has fallen to a level not seen since the 1940s. The U.S. Border Control also reports the lowest apprehension rate in 50 years because of the low rate of illegal immigration.
The negative and possibly irreversible environmental and community effects of the wall have been documented in multiple scientific studies. In order to build the wall, as many as 37 federal laws will be waived, including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978.
I’m eager for this administration to help create well-paying jobs with fair benefits, which will necessarily provide terrific profits for corporations. These billions of tax dollars would be better spent rebuilding the infrastructure inside our borders. For instance, the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems reported in 2011 that the U.S. needs to invest about $384.2 billion to continue providing safe drinking water. Needless to say, Flint, Michigan, is an outstanding example of the trauma of antiquated water systems.
That taxpayer money will be used to fulfill his campaign promise to build a border wall is an outrage.