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Letters to the editor March 18, 2011


Cheering wrong team

Just three months ago, the GOP was telling us we couldn’t raise taxes on folks making $250,000 a year because, in this day and age, a quarter of a million annually just isn’t all that much money any more.

Now these same folks are telling us that a teacher making $40,000 is living high on the hog and needs to sacrifice a bit for the good of the country. Makes me wonder if the tea partiers aren’t cheering for the wrong team.

Henry Deshane


• • •

Of, by and for rich

In her March 11 letter to the editor, Wanda LaBrecque accuses the unions of wanting to tax the fat-cat rich at the expense of losing jobs in Maine. Be advised, the fat-cat rich are doing well.

As a result of corporate welfare and the Bush tax breaks, corporate America is sitting on a surplus of $2 trillion. This money is not creating jobs. It is used for stock buybacks and increased dividends.

State workers have agreed to pay a larger portion of their retirement and health care in Wisconsin. What they objected to is being stripped of collective bargaining rights.

If you enjoy 40-hour workweeks, abolishment of child labor, health and retirement plans, paid holidays and a safe work place, thank a union. And if you want to learn how many of the rich got rich, research “robber barons.”

A return to fiscal sanity should be a shared burden. During the FDR and Eisenhower years, the wealthiest paid a top-tier tax of 92 percent. They survived really well. Currently we have 67 U.S. senators with an average net worth of more than $7 million. We are now a nation of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.

John W. Eisentrager, Sr.


• • •

A Down East treasure

Sharon Kiley Mack is a true treasure in the world of newspapers. I didn’t fully appreciate her work until she moved to Washington County, where she finds and writes stories that bring her communities to life for more distant readers. If a story has her byline, I read it.

Although now in my native Hancock County, 40 years ago I lived in Maine’s Far East. More recently, the late Kelly Lombardi of Roque Bluffs drew me into the circle of Salt Coast Sages and others close to her. Now I spend time in Washington County as often as possible visiting friends, joining the poets for readings and participating in the annual Roque Bluffs Poetry Festival.

Kiley Mack’s work helps me feel connected to people and events — the good news, the misery and glimpses of daily life.

What a savory surprise to read her poem “Seven Below” in my favorite weekly feature Uni-Verse. She is another fine Down East Maine poet. Thank you, BDN, for continuing to bring Sharon Kiley Mack’s writing and pictures to readers in your service area.

Sharon Bray


• • •

Look forward, governor

Memories of our childhood can sometimes distort present realities. In Gov. LePage’s youth, the industries that drove employment in Maine — logging, paper, fishing and canning — supported the economy. The present reality presents a different picture.

National and world populations have more than doubled, and we now live in a global economy, whether we like it or not. The industries of the past are not going to return, no matter how much the environmental laws are weakened. This is in fact counter-productive to what Maine really needs: to harness the intelligence and work ethic of her people.

Development of clean energy and emphasizing an education geared toward the Internet age will be the future engines that drive Maine’s economy.

Karen Mundo


• • •

Benefits of flavored milk

The question of allowing flavored milk in school feeding programs comes and goes. Bill Daley presented the pros and cons (BDN Op-Ed, March 8) quoting Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University saying that chocolate milk should be a dessert or candy and a pediatrician stating  that if flavored milk is standard fare, a child will never accept plain milk.

Rachel Johnson, nutrition professor at University of Vermont, studied the impact of flavored milk change and reported that consumption dropped by 35 percent, meaning a loss of three nutrients vital to growth: calcium, vitamin D and riboflavin. Other nutrients lost in that 35 percent include protein, potassium, Niacin, Vitamins A and B-12 .

To replace those nutrients requires adding three or four foods at an estimated cost of $34 per year per child, while also adding calories, fat and half of the sugar in flavored milk. There is no absolute answer, but children are smart and fair when they know the facts.

Can we give them the information of how much added sugar is in carbonated beverages (7 teaspoons per 8-ounce bottle), in flavored milks  (3 teaspoons per 8-ounce container), fruitade (8 teaspoons per 8-ounce bottle) and the fact that all of us should limit our added sugar to 6-9 teaspoons per day? Can we suggest flavored milk half of the days and plain milk the other half? We all prefer to be given opportunities for choices.

Katherine Musgrave


• • •

Corporate fairy tale

Corporate America and the rich really have people fooled. Big business has convinced many that the problems with the economy are to be blamed on the poor and the middle class. On the state level, our illustrious governor is targeting middle-class state employees, teachers (how many rich teachers do you know?), retirees on fixed incomes and those barely surviving with the help of MaineCare.

Gov. LePage and his wealthy, ultraconservative buddies at the Maine Heritage Policy Center say that everyone must share the pain. Evidently, the “everyone” they refer to doesn’t include big business or even small business. When are they going to share the pain?

I shake my head in disbelief when people get so outraged over those dumping out bottles of water for the returnables. State Sen. Nutting’s bankrupt business alone stuck the state for more than $1 million in overcharges to MaineCare. I wonder how many bottles of water would have to be emptied to even come close to what Nutting cost the state.

I say let’s make big business start paying their fair share and stop giving them tax breaks. Let’s demand that the governor stop targeting our poorest and most vulnerable citizens. The rich are just getting richer while the rest of us are falling further and further behind. Wall Street is booming and that trickle-down economic theory is once again proving to be just another corporate fairytale.

Julie Hopkins


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