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March 2 Letters to the Editor


Wrong kind of bankruptcy

I have a great plan for reducing Maine’s remaining MaineCare obligation to the hospitals of Maine. We pay them what we owe, then tax that payment at a 57 percent rate. The hospitals shouldn’t mind a “shared sacrifice.”

If you find this scheme unethical, not up to the standards we expect of ourselves and our government, why would you consider the proposed “reforms” to the retirement system acceptable?

The administration has a proposal to “fix” the unfunded liability of the state pension system, what the governor has called a financial “promise” to retirees, teachers and state workers. Here is their plan. Increase payroll taxes, manipulate COLAs and extract 57 percent of the liability from the very people to whom we made the “promise.”

I respect this administration for acknowledging a promise but I would have much more respect for an administration that made an effort to keep a promise.

I do agree with Gov. LePage, certainly since his inauguration, the state is “bankrupt“; morally bankrupt.

David Pierce


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Voice of basketball

Saturday night was the culmination of another year of basketball tournament games, with the winners of all classes being announced after a season of highs and lows for all of the teams.

Having the week off allowed students from all over the state to participate in the cheering on of the team players, as they traveled to Bangor and Augusta to see their favorite teams rally for the points on the auditorium floors.

Of course, beginning with the semifinals, games have been seen on MPBN, but for those of us who are not privileged to get this channel in our area, the radio becomes our listening tool, but the voices of today’s sportscasting do not resonate as the vibrant voice  of the masterful radio/television broadcaster, Dewey Dewitt, who had a vast knowledge and  command of the game of basketball and a remembrance of the young people in his sight. He was also fair and balanced in his broadcasting and we knew that he sincerely enjoyed the games he announced.

Hats off to you, Dewey, and thank you for continuing to follow the “tourney” at the Bangor Auditorium and for remembering by name those players you knew many years ago. Blessings always as you enjoy watching the games in your retirement years.

Sharon and Harry Rideout


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Replicate private sector

Having nearly obliterated the Maine private sector, the crushing weight of government excess has now shifted to bear on those accustomed to public support. It’s not a pretty sight and the squeals of the affected will be heard throughout the state. It’s a simple but painful choice. Either our government crumbles under its own weight or we cut away some of the burden.

Most of us know what has to be done because we have been forced to do it in our own lives. Our government has been run “like nobody’s business” for too long. Private sector survivors have already done what was necessary. It is time to apply these same efficient methods to government.

Currently, Maine is beyond broke. Without needed changes, our grandchildren will be broke also. Not long ago, individuals with proportionally less debt went to the “poor farm” or prison, but some still think more borrowing is the answer. Many of us have lost jobs, retirement savings and property value. Taxes cannot be raised; government costs must match our reduced incomes.

Recognizing what needs to be done, the majority of us have elected those who have promised to do just that. Let’s get behind these leaders and encourage them to get on with the remedy. Like the people who had home mortgages they could not afford, Maine will lose public sector jobs. For those joining us, I say “welcome to the private sector, let’s make it better.”

John Field


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Sliding back to sweat shops

That corporate interests, their cronies and shills, have united to eviscerate organized labor becomes more evident with each passing day. Events unfolding in Wisconsin and elsewhere may prove the last best hope of working families to push back against the well-funded and well-organized forces that, for decades, have stood against fair labor practices, workers’ rights and the well-being of working men and women.

So much of what we now value in the workplace, a living wage, safer conditions, health benefits, the 40-hour work week, the protection of children in our labor force, sick, maternity and vacation leaves, grievance arbitration, freedom from sexual harassment — in short, all of the measures intended to protect working people from exploitation by business managers, were won by the efforts and sacrifices made by organized workers over decades of struggle. If their voices are silenced, can we expect our business leaders to remain committed to the protection and enhancement of these hard won principles?

Failure to act vigorously in support of organized labor and working families at this critical time will ensure that the vast majority of Americans will continue to suffer the further erosion of our independence and quality of life. We can sit back sipping our tea, allowing business leaders to drag us back into the sweatshops of centuries past, or speak up to defend the rights of working families against those who consider us not valuable and essential components of their communities but tools to be exploited to satisfy their personal greed.

Michael Smith


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Violent language

The BDN ran a story on Feb. 22 about the speech Sen. Susan Collins gave at the Cumberland Club in Portland. Collins is the latest in a long list of people calling for civility.

The story reported that Collins “said that for too many in politics today, the goal of achieving solutions has been replaced by drawing sharp distinctions and scoring political points.”

I was therefore surprised to see the recent article which in its lead line stated: “The

LePage administration has the Dirigo Health Agency in its cross hairs.” Cross hairs? I believe after the Arizona shooting by a madman that this sort of analogy was deemed uncivil and incendiary. Sarah Palin was lambasted for using cross hairs on a map of congressional districts and for using rifle analogies.

Another recent story about EMMC nurses reported that as negotiations are set to resume, “nurses take aim at EMMC claims.” Take aim, another rifle analogy? These two lines, in the wake of the Arizona shootings and the indignation by the public, are insulting to the intelligence of BDN readers.

What political point is the BDN trying to score with these words?

Kerry Zimmerman


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