Patten benefitting from monument
Maybe economic benefits look different in Augusta, but in Patten, we’re already seeing improvements since the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was established.
Our family business, Richardson’s Hardware, is doubling its retail space on Main Street. We are expanding to include kayaks, paddle boards, tents, camping and RV supplies, and outdoor sporting equipment. We have hired two additional employees and hope to go further as the demand increases. We are doing this in response to local optimism within the business community.
It is apparent that many, including some who opposed the monument, have elevated their expectations for the entire region based on the increased activity since last August. This increase has been small but noticeable and it’s only been a few months. Local lodging and campground owners are touting summer reservations that are up substantially.
Our family, all of whom are part of the business, and our 10 additional employees, are among the many Mainers who support the monument and the positive effect it will have on the economy of the Katahdin area. As business owners who are investing in our local economy, and residents who love this beautiful region, we are disheartened by comments by any elected official who would disparage our region as nothing more than a cut-over, mosquito area. We need others, like Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins and Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who is focused on job creation, to take a stand to protect the monument and our region.
Health care spending shift
Health care spending will be drastically reduced with the new limited health care plan the GOP and president are pushing. That money is now used to pay hospitals and clinics for their services to patients, especially those on Medicaid. This money is vital for our local hospitals and clinics. Without this income local providers will have to lay off employees.
Where is the money going instead? According to the Congressional Budget Office, under the American Health Care Act, approximately $1.2 trillion less would be spent on health care over 10 years, while $900 billion less in tax revenue would be collected. Medicaid spending would be cut considerably. Taxes on the roughly top 5 percent of income earners under current law would considerably drop.
This huge redistribution of wealth is ignored in the debate but is the real reason that local spending on care for a lot of people will be reduced. Some — a few wealthy people — voted for Donald Trump to get these tax breaks. Others — the big numbers — did not realize that Trump and the GOP would use money that now goes to our hospitals and clinics.
The CBO adds: Social Security expenditures would decrease due to earlier mortality. To sum up, people will die earlier and parts of our hospitals and clinics will be closed because of lack of money.
Russia investigation must continue
The firing of FBI Director James Comey raises the ante on the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. 2016 elections and into President Donald Trump associates’ ties to Russia. The White House’s claim that the dismissal was because of the way Comey handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton does not pass the smell test. That investigation was months ago, and at the time Trump praised Comey’s work.
Firing him in the midst of the Russia investigation is odd, at the very least. FBI professionals will continue their work, but with no director to lead. It’s time to speed up the investigation, perhaps with a special prosecutor, a neutral investigator.
The Russia scandal raises another troubling question. In a hyper-partisan atmosphere, can Congress handle its oversight role in a nonpartisan manner? If crimes were committed during the 2016 campaign, investigations must follow the evidence where it leads, no matter how much distraction the White House and its supporters spew out. The House and Senate Intelligence Committee investigations must produce bipartisan reports that we, the American people, can trust. If they cannot, we need a special prosecutor.
It’s crucial to our democracy to find the truth about Russian connections and interference once and for all.
The House Financial Services Committee decided regulating Wall Street is no longer necessary, even though we were just recovering from the disaster of Bush era politics. The House voted to take away healthcare for millions of people.
I, for one, am thoroughly disgusted with these “representatives.” They represent money and corporations and corruption. We need to make them accountable.
I suggest that the public make it a mission to insist, every time they go home, these representatives listen to our concerns. Write letters, make phone calls, don’t be afraid to go to their offices in Washington and let them know how we feel. Karma has to make its appearance; we can help it along.
AHCA bad for Maine
As a result of the House of Representatives passage of the American Health Care Act, older citizens all across this nation will now be faced with much higher premiums for health insurance. The new law, if not rejected by the Senate, will allow insurance companies to charge five times more for an older person than for a younger person, whereas President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act set a cap preventing older people from paying more than three times as much as a younger person.
For all of those middle-aged Americans who have lived healthy lives, eaten healthy foods, exercised regularly, and have reached a healthy mature status, the longer you live the more you will be penalized.
The main objective of this new law is not to provide better health care but rather to give an estimated $600 billion in tax breaks to the wealthy.
Call it what you want, this is not a health care bill. In addition to older Americans, those who depend on mental health services and Planned Parenthood will also be hurt.
The House bill will result in higher costs for health care and many millions of Americans will be unable to afford health insurance. Our only hope is that the Senate will realize what a disaster for health care this bill represents and kill it.