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Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017: GOP tax bill favors wealthy, wind storm disaster, winning elections isn’t everything


GOP tax bill favors wealthy

It’s time for Rep. Bruce Poliquin to admit it is not his constituents in 2nd Congressional District whom he represents.

In my 60s, with pre-existing conditions, it was near impossible for me to access individual health insurance before the Affordable Care Act. Without the health insurance I can buy under the Affordable Care Act, chances are I would be blind.

For nearly 20 years, I lived in Minot, a small town in Poliquin’s district. Problems with my vision made accessing the health care I needed difficult as I could no longer drive the hour to my doctor’s appointments, let alone run my daily errands. I foresaw becoming housebound in rural Maine.

Soon Poliquin will vote on a tax bill that will remove tax deductions for large out-of-pocket health care expenses. It will eliminate tax credits for hiring veterans or people with disabilities and interest on student loans.

By cutting the tax base, the bill will require vast reductions in spending for programs Mainers need such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other programs, while heirs and heiresses of extremely large estates wouldn’t have to pay either capital gains or estate taxes and various corporate entities that create pass-through companies get a lower tax rate. The bill will do little to reduce the tax burden for anyone but the wealthiest.

If Poliquin votes for the tax bill, he will further devastate the fragile rural health care system in Maine and the constituents who he says he represents.

Susie Crimmins


Wind storm disaster

Welcome to Puerto Rico. Oh, we’re in Maine. What do the two have in common? Electric power delivery systems that have been allowed to go to blazes, whose corporate executives have made annual maintenance of their equipment a thing of the very distant past.

All you had to do is see with your eyes the overhanging branches and dead trees over your power lines, the sort of thing that crews years ago used to come around to trim back every year. But then some bean counter of yesteryear figured out it was actually cheaper to just respond to each outage rather than do the regular maintenance.

It follows the general pattern of corporate leadership being accountable only to their stockholders, not to the consumers. So is it any surprise the one night of a rather high wind can turn an entire state into a third-world country — never mind the inconvenience, consider the many blocked roads and live wires draped artistically all over our neighborhoods?

Meanwhile, the power companies have swung into action, busily toting up the bill for this latest disaster. Who will be paying for it? We the bill payers? Federal disaster funds? Given the power companies policies and priorities, this response is no surprise. What is surprising is that we the people are willing to put up with allowing our state to be crippled by ineptitude and greed. Will we have answers to why this is allowed to happen? Not likely, since no one, seemingly, is even asking the question.

Diane Monroe Smith


Winning elections isn’t everything

Dana Milbank’s Nov. 3 column displayed one of the major problems of the two major political parties — it’s about winning, not about values, goals or true leadership. Everything is negotiable for the sake of winning and thoughts of how the winner will govern are lucky to come in second. With sufficient negotiation to win, the “winner” cannot govern.

This is evident by the current administration and Congress being unable to reach agreement on any major piece of legislation. Perhaps the Democrats will splinter or fail to resolve the split between progressives (liberals) and the Clinton (status quo, centrist) faction, and thereby lose. But, like Susan Collins has exhibited, we should stand by principle, compromise to accomplish goals, and support real leadership, rather than stand for nothing.

I support the progressive faction of the Democratic Party and will support a split from the Democratic National Committee if that is what is necessary to promote progressive values and goals. After all, history has shown that whenever any third party has gained more than 10 percent of the popular vote and some electoral votes, the party out of power has moved in the direction of the third party and coopted it’s platform.

Clearly, winning isn’t everything; governing is what the electorate wants. That’s why they voted for change in 2016, albeit the wrong change in my opinion, and will vote for change in the future.

Peter Vance



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