November 15, 2018
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Friday, Jan. 12, 2018: Tax bill imperils America, sharing Sarah Smiley’s journey, don’t get into teaching

Tax bill imperils America

I am livid. Enraged. Furious. Actually, there are no civil words that express the depths of my ire. Sen. Susan Collins does not get to claim credit for “saving” Medicare. It was her vote for “tax reform” that created the problem.

And her solution was to waive rules that require fiscal responsibility from Congress? That move is all the explanation needed to demonstrate how fiscally irresponsible the new law is. I never want to hear the senator use the words “fiscal conservative” or “fiscal responsibility” again. They are meaningless coming out of her mouth.

She has placed Americans in peril and America on the road to bankruptcy. I feel a depression coming on. Not mine. America’s.

Mary Royal
Winterport

Sharing Smiley’s journey

Funds must be limited for the Bangor Daily News, as they are for most all of us. The BDN has eliminated the columns of Kathryn Olmsted and Julia Bayly, the night sky feature, the specific County pages, and much of the national news, while increasing the price of the paper. I have continued to subscribe because I prefer my news in paper form, even though I can get it online.

Still surviving are Sarah Smiley and Bob Duchesne, whose columns I very much enjoy, and the crossword, Sudoku, Jumble and Scrabble puzzles.

Speaking of Smiley, I have absolutely nothing in common with her, other than being a woman. I am 70, have no children, have worked for 59 of those 70 years, starting in my grandfather’s and father’s business and now, after college and university and a 35-year career out of state, am back home in Maine and still working.

It has been wonderfully informative learning about her being a Navy dependent child and spouse, her transition to northern living, the challenges and satisfactions of raising her three sons, the dinners with the Smileys while Dustin was deployed, their decision to stay in Bangor while he was stationed at the Pentagon, and his return to civilian life and their mutual adjustment to that reality.

She is a wonderful writer, and I have so enjoyed sharing her journey these last 10 years.

Martha B. Higgins
Trenton

Don’t get into teaching

The BDN on Dec. 28 had an article about streamlining teacher certification in Maine. It said that one change is to encourage and help experienced, qualified people in business leave those fields and enter teaching. I advise these people not to do so.

If they do, they will lose all or much of their Social Security benefits they or their spouses earned in those fields. Maine is one of 15 states that recognize the unfair Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. If you worked elsewhere for many years or so and then teach, your reward is to lose all or most of the money you put into Social Security. So do not go into teaching until our government repeals both the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset.

I am one of those teachers who also worked in other jobs. I did so since age 16 to pay for my college expenses and then to supplement my teaching income. My reward for being industrious and responsible is to see my current Social Security benefit reduced. If my husband dies, I will receive none of his benefits as his survivor.

I certainly am not receiving a “windfall” by getting a pension and Social Security benefits as I earned them. Do not let this unfair system impact you. Do not go into teaching.

Karen E. Holmes
Cooper


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