Right to protest

The arrests of protesters in Sen. Susan Collins’ office reminded me of the difference between the way former Sens. Edmund Muskie and George Mitchell responded to protests. Both men, whom I worked for as a senior staff person, believed citizens had a right to protest, especially to their elected representatives. Former Sen. Olympia Snowe and Collins called for arrests instead.

I recall a day-long and overnight protest at our Bangor office during the protest against U.S. policy toward El Salvador. I was angry because unlike Snowe and then-Sen. William Cohen, Mitchell was supporting the Dodd Amendment designed to change the George H.W. Bush administration’s policy.

Instead of staging protests against the two Republicans for supporting the U.S. policy for the torturing, right-wing El Salvador regime, the group sat in against Mitchell because he was Senate majority leader and they hoped to attract national attention. They abruptly left the next morning. All I lost was a night’s sleep.

Similarly, a Colby College professor years earlier led a sit in against Muskie at his Waterville office; I think it lasted two days or more. I went to Waterville to relieve the crew there. But in both cases the senators did not contemplate arresting the protesters.

Clyde MacDonald
Hampden

Corporations should pay their fair share

Republicans are pushing hard to reduce taxes for corporations, so that corporations would be taxed at a lower rate than even high-income individuals.

But Republicans have forgotten that corporations are people, just like you and me. The Republican-dominated Supreme Court told us so, in cases like Citizens United and Hobby Lobby.

So if corporations have rights like people, then they should have responsibilities just like people, too. I say that it’s time for corporations to stand up on their own two feet and pay their fair share.

Sol Goldman

Bangor

Collins shows true colors

At last, Sen. Susan Collins has shown her true colors. Far from being a “moderate,” she’s just another ideologically rigid conservative Republican.

Collins’ vote to support the Senate’s GOP tax plan helped guarantee passage of the most extreme right-wing revenue package in modern American history. Virtually all reputable economists agree it will do nothing for the economy, which is already at full employment, while 60 percent or more of the benefits will go to the top 1 percent. For those earning under $75,000 a year, it actually means a tax increase over time.

Corporations, already enjoying record profits, will see their taxes cut almost in half, and wealthy heirs, including the Trump progeny, stand to eventually inherit millions or billions of dollars in tax-free bequests. Meanwhile, an estimated 13 million Americans will lose health insurance over the next decade through a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

In the process, up to $1.5 trillion will be added for no good reason to the national deficit that Republicans constantly bemoan. And how will that deficit ultimately be addressed? We’ll cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, of course. The GOP congressional leadership has already implied as much. I suspect this was part of the plan all along.

Wayne O’Leary

Orono

Tax bill boosts Maine manufacturers

With one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world and a system that penalizes companies for investing money earned abroad, the U.S. tax code is in need of reform.

I manage the North Berwick plant for Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp. We design, manufacture and service aircraft engines, auxiliary and ground power units, and small turbojet propulsion products — and we do a lot of that work right here in Maine. We employ more than 1,900 people in North Berwick.

Pratt & Whitney and UTC appreciate the consistent support from Sen. Susan Collins for Maine’s manufacturing sector, and we are particularly appreciative of the senator’s vote in favor of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

With significant and long-standing operations in North Berwick, we know what it feels like fighting an uphill battle against global competitors based in countries with tax codes designed to help them compete, not hold them back.

UTC and the U.S. economy will benefit from a tax system that is simple, fair and competitive.

The reforms in H.R. 1 will allow companies like ours to bring home earnings from abroad to invest in research and development, advanced manufacturing, energy efficiency and workforce initiatives. Thanks to Collins’ leadership and support, we are very hopeful that comprehensive tax reform will be enacted into law in the near future.

Pratt & Whitney plans to hire thousands of people over the next several years across our U.S. operations, and this tax reform will further support our efforts to help keep the U.S. a global leader in manufacturing and technology.

Patrick Regan

General manager

Pratt & Whitney

North Berwick

Americans commit to climate action

On Dec. 5, mayors representing around 40 U.S. cities signed the Chicago Climate Charter. This outlines their plans to cut carbon pollution and meet the standards set by the Paris climate agreement. This is something that the vast majority of Americans support, yet President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from it. This abandoned U.S. leadership on clean energy and putting hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs at risk.

We have lost leadership at the federal level, but luckily thousands of local, state and corporate leaders are fully committed to doing their part to keep us on track to deal with the climate crisis and make sure we take advantage of the incredible economic opportunities that come with a transition to a renewable energy economy.

More than 250 cities and counties, nine states, almost 2,000 businesses and investors, 339 colleges, 213 communities of faith, and a million individual Americans have signed the We Are Still In pledge to commit to uphold and meet the Paris agreement goals.

Businesses and cities of all sizes support the agreement because they know that investing in clean energy means more American innovation and more jobs for Maine. This is the right way to put America first.

Ryan Kittle

Bowdoinham