Collins’ health care gamble
Remember back in December 2017 when Sen. Susan Collins engaged in a high-stakes gamble with our health care?
To refresh our collective memory, after first saying that it would be a mistake to vote for the tax bill without first stabilizing the health care marketplace, Collins cast her pivotal vote for the tax bill anyway. She trusted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise to soon thereafter support legislation to ensure government funding of cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers and reinsurance pools.
The tax bill passed on Dec. 20, 2017. It is now mid-February 2018. We know Collins gave the GOP leadership and the president what they wanted. Collins must update us on the current status of her gamble. Many Mainers depend on her getting what she negotiated away.
Trump’s gun action
The worst shooting in modern U.S. history (Las Vegas: 59 dead, more than 500 injured) was committed by an emotionally unstable, mentally ill Trump supporter. The recent shooting in Florida was committed by an emotionally unstable, mentally ill Trump supporter and left 14 children and three teachers dead.
President Donald Trump’s superficial platitudes (“thoughts and prayers”) mean nothing when he’s partly responsible for the lack of better gun control. After the NRA spent millions to help the Trump campaign, Trump told them they “had a friend and a champion in the White House ” and also “I will come through for you.”
And he did. One of Trump’s first acts as president was to reverse an Obama-era executive order making it harder for mentally ill people to buy guns. Even Trump supporters must know putting a gun in the hands of a mentally ill person is a bad idea and changes are needed.
Trump’s a bully and has increased the levels of anger, hatred and violence in this country by the way he speaks and behaves — all his childish temper tantrums and attacks on people and news organizations that dare to criticize him by reporting facts. But America is a country run by the people, not some childish, incompetent, unstable president.
And, yes, people, we can make changes. Speak up, call your representatives, and most importantly, get out and vote.
Wall won’t solve drug problem
For what reason do we want to assemble a wall along the southern border of the United States? Loss of jobs? Currently, an average of 95 percent of Americans in the labor force are working. Illegal drugs? Trafficking? Violence?
Obviously, if we build a wall, criminals are clever enough to find other means to transport their wares via air, our northern border and sea (Maine alone has 3,400 miles of coastland). And keep in mind that criminals come not just from south of the border, but from countries all over the world.
Addicts, criminals and abusers have often grown up as victims themselves. Suggested funding for a wall might be better invested in programs that help us explore and educate ourselves in child development, parenting practices, self-responsibility, respectful relationships, community health, and cures for substance abuse and mental illness.
Every time we stop one drug lord or human trafficking gang, another is going to fill the void because, in America, there is a market for their goods. Putting the blame for our woes on other countries will not halt the bleeding of our pocketbooks and citizens and innocents worldwide who get caught in the cross-fire. Instead, we must acknowledge the real problem — us — and take it upon ourselves to amend it.
No tax giveaway for General Dynamics
The tax giveaway bill for General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works, LD 1781, is stalled in committee as its sponsors scramble to amend it to make it more palatable. The bill’s original $60 million price tag is very similar to the cost of meeting some pressing needs in Maine: a Medicaid expansion that voters passed in November requires around $54 million to access more than half a billion in federal health care funds. Also, bringing Maine’s aging bridges up to code is estimated to cost around $60 million.
While the bill has been stalled in the Taxation Committee, BIW announced it is laying off electricians, despite already receiving generous tax breaks from both the state and the city of Bath.
We are hearing now from Maine voters across the state that their representatives are reluctant to vote for a tax giveaway to a wealthy corporation, General Dynamics. Was it their $6.8 billion cash offer to buy another government contractor that did it? Or their years of stock buybacks? Or paying their CEO $21 million last year?
Regular people in Maine need all the relief they can get. I hope you will contact your legislators to let them know that General Dynamics does not need corporate welfare. Spending $60 million on fixing our bridges or providing health care for low-income people should be our priorities.
Reject hunting amendment
LD 11, a proposed constitutional amendment for a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game and fish currently being considered by the Maine Legislature, is a solution in search of a problem. Why are the activities of hunting, trapping and fishing being considered for a uniquely elevated status above all other hobbies that Mainers participate in? Nobody is trying to stop people from doing them.
Citizens have placed wildlife issues on the state ballot to try to regulate certain methods that society feels violate the ethics of sportsmanship or fair chase, but not ban hunting altogether. There is just no evidence that this is a problem at all.
In fact, LD 11 could actually create problems. Requiring that hunting and fishing be the “preferred means” of managing and controlling wildlife could limit local communities and our state wildlife agency from making sound, science-based decisions.
What’s more, enshrining these activities in our Constitution would amount to an open invitation for poachers to exploit them to their advantage and could subject longstanding conservation laws to legal challenge from those arguing that this constitutional right exempts them from existing restrictions like bag limits or prohibitions on spotlight or road hunting.
We don’t need this. Our legislators should reject this ill-advised solution in search of a problem and vote no on LD 11.