Demanding proof before conflict
As we stare down the barrel of the possibility of conflict in Iran, it seems clear to me that there is a need for the people and the media to call for our politicians to reduce our interventionist policies in the Middle East. We have a long history of meddling in the affairs of the region for one reason or another, but all we must show for it is more bloodshed.
As citizens, we have a duty to hold our government accountable in justifying these policies. The recent BDN article, “Baldacci recalls controversial Iraq vote as Congress debates Iran strike,” covered the thoughts of former Rep. John Baldacci regarding voting against the use of military force in Iraq, and I think his thoughts make an excellent point about the duties of politicians and the public in considering these kinds of issues.
In a perfect world, we would be able to trust the administration to have enough evidence to back up its assertions. However, as we have seen in Iraq, we do not live in that world, and so the responsibility of demanding proof is one we must shoulder. When considering courses of action that could lead to loss of life on the scale that conflict with Iran could bring, it is more important than ever that we demand this proof and not just go by the unverified word of the administration.
Problems with a higher minimum wage
The minimum wage once again increased in Maine, and it is not great for the economy. When the minimum wage goes up, other prices can go up with it. Employers, small to midsize businesses and others may be hurt by an increased cost to pay workers. The cost of living may also increase.
Some say that the minimum wage increase could be good, due to the fact it has lifted many Maine families out of poverty. Yes, Mainers achieve an overall salary increase, but at the end of the day, the stores need to pay their workers, and when the cost to pay those workers increases, they can lose money.
In fact, the American Action Forum calculated that large minimum wage increases will cost 261,000 jobs. A realistic solution to this problem would be to raise other people’s wages, too. For example, if the minimum wage goes up from $11 to $12 per hour, which it did, then everyone else should get a dollar raise. This balances the system out because this allows the higher paid workers to keep value in their money.
The minimum wage increase is bad for Maine, as it is for all states that want to proceed with it.
Feeding the hungry
A nationwide study covered previously by the Bangor Daily News indicated that Maine had one of the highest hunger rates in the nation. In comparison with other New England states, Maine is the one with the highest amount of hungry people. The study goes on to explain that about 16 percent of Maine households do not have a stable food income, resulting in food insecurity.
On the opposite hand, past estimates say up to 40 percent of our food is thrown out, whether because it is merely a day past the sell-by date, or because it is taking up space in the fridge or any other number of reasons. There is nothing inherently wrong or unhealthy about much of the food that is thrown out. Often people throw out a good product because they are mandated by the law.
In my opinion, it would be a win-win for both sides if some of the food that was to be thrown out cold be given to hungry people in need, such as the food bank in Bangor.