How to help middle class
It appears that, with the exception of 51 Republicans in the Senate, 227 in the House of Representatives, and some millionaires and billionaires (some of whom are in Congress), no one believes the tax “reform” bill is good for our country. If it passes, it will make the United States a worse place to live for 99 percent of us.
If Congress really wanted to stimulate the economy and help working people and the “middle class,” it would give every taxpayer a $300 refund and an earned-income tax credit of $300 to $500 for those who don’t make enough to owe federal income taxes.
Looting the public purse
Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Bruce Poliquin owe an explanation and an apology to the people of Maine for their votes on the so-called tax reform bill. They were well aware that there was no demand for this bill. Indeed, poll numbers show that a majority of the public does not approve of the bill.
I suppose that there should be no surprise that such a bill would emerge from a government run by a billionaire president, millionaire bankers and legislators who are financed by corporate interests who apparently are despondent that they don’t have more. The New York Times has rightfully condemned this bill as a “looting of the public purse by corporations and the wealthy,” which it said showed that “Republican leaders’ primary goal is to enrich the country’s elite at the expense of everybody else, including future generations who will end up bearing the cost.”
Indeed, in this Christmas season, Ebenezer Scrooge and Henry Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life” come to mind.
No legitimate economist has said this bill will pay for itself, deficits will soar, and there is no evidence that corporations will actually invest in the country or raise wages. Whatever small tax benefits for the middle and lower classes will quickly evaporate leaving a funding gap that can only be filled by attacking programs like Medicare.
One wonders what happened to the fiscally conservative and socially aware Republicans Maine used to produce who looked out for average citizens’ interests instead those of plutocrats.
Collins’ disappointing tax vote
Sen. Susan Collins was elected to represent all Maine residents, but she voted for tax cuts that will benefit the wealthy because they financed her election campaign.
What has she done for the multitude of residents who fall far below the poverty guidelines? What has she done for residents with disabilities who cannot work? What has she done to help create full-time jobs that provide employees with a livable wage and low-cost health insurance, including family coverage?
What has she done to help with affordable housing? There is a 7- to 10-year waiting list for housing subsidies and food stamps were decreased even though the cost of food, medicine and medical care have increased. America and New Zealand are the only two countries on Earth that allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise their prescription medications. That’s one of the reasons that Americans pay such exorbitant prices for prescriptions compared to other countries.
A lot of people are forced to choose between buying medically necessary prescriptions or paying to keep a roof over their head. America used to be the greatest country on Earth, but our government representatives have proven they no longer care about their constituents.
I am severely disappointed with Susan Collins, and with everyone else in the House and Senate. This country is being torn apart by people who are behaving like spoiled 5-year-olds having temper tantrums. Something must be done before there is no United States left to be proud of.
Trickle-down economics don’t work
I thought this summer when the Senate was trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and Sen. Susan Collins voted against it that she was truly working on behalf of Mainers. And I cheered when everyone begged her to stay in the Senate and continue that work. But she just threw the people of Maine under the bus of party loyalty. The tax bill that she just voted to pass will do nothing for the average Mainer.
Most of us are not wealthy, and we are not corporations. Those are the folks who will benefit. In fact, 60 percent of the tax cuts will go to the richest 1 percent. Many Mainers will see some minimal tax breaks the first year or two, but by 2025 the individual tax breaks will be gone and we will be paying more in taxes while the wealthy and corporations will still be getting a break.
Fortunately, the bill is not yet law — it must pass a few more hurdles, like the House. Most likely, Rep. Bruce Poliquin will be more than happy to vote for it, although we should be calling his office and reminding him that he faces re-election. Then we should call Collins and say, “shame on you” for voting against the interests of her constituents.
We’ve seen how “trickle down” works. It doesn’t. This tax bill will increase the federal deficit by an estimated $1 trillion and put money in the pockets of CEOs and wealthy donors. How does that help average Mainers?
Support ranked-choice voting
Ranked-choice voting came to Maine in November 2016 with a referendum that won the second largest yes vote for a referendum in Maine’s history but this year the Legislature couldn’t agree and decided to postpone and delay implementation until 2021.
We were upset that once again the democratically expressed will of the people was being thwarted, and we decided to help gather signatures for the people’s veto, which would ensure that we would have the right to used ranked-choice voting for our gubernatorial primary, totally within the Maine Constitution.
Indeed there are currently about 10 Democratic and five Republican hopefuls to choose from so theoretically in the democratic primary, without ranked-choice voting, someone could win with only 12 percent of the vote. Incredible.
Please look for petitioners and sign so we can have a sensible primary with a victor in each party who achieves a majority of the vote. Or, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and become a signature collector yourself.
Sandra & Ole Jaeger