Responding to the coronavirus

In response to the president’s proposal of payroll tax cuts, we should note that this will simply spread an increment of stimulus to a large pool of people. What is needed — for two reasons — is targeted relief for individuals hit by the virus who will miss work days.

Why? First, they need to make up for whole weeks of lost paychecks, not just a few bucks each week over the next year. Two, they need incentives and support to actually stay home from the onset of their symptoms so as to staunch the spread of the virus to us all as well as to provide directly for their own care.

The solution should be some kind of immediate relief in the form of paid sick days and health insurance coverage supported by the federal government, for all. This should include restaurant workers and others who need it the most and are most likely to infect others — including homeless people.

One mechanism for this could be a modification of the unemployment insurance system to include coverage for paid sick days, and a modification of Medicare to include coverage for all individuals affected by the disease. Congress should pass legislation that makes these benefits immediately available.

Gray Cox

Bar Harbor

Scared by CMP tactics

Central Maine Power is no paragon of virtue, but news that its political action committee hired a private investigator who apparently went through a woman’s social media and phoned her place of employment, because she opposed the corridor, is horrifying!

I also oppose the corridor. I wonder, have I been subjected to the same treatment by CMP`s hired guns? In fact, a majority of Mainers polled throughout the state oppose the corridor. Nearly 70,000 registered voters signed the petition to get a vote on the November 2020 ballot.

Is CMP going through our Facebook pages? Watching us when we speak out against the corridor? CMP’s new boss, David Flanagan, needs to tell us what the heck is going on, right now.

Wendy Huish

Farmington

A memorable day

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 is memorable for three reasons:

First, the World Health Organization proclaimed the coronavirus had become a pandemic and raised alarm over the level of inaction. The U.S. is still lagging with testing supplies.

Second, the U.S. stock market entered “ bear market” territory — having lost 20 percent of its value and ending the longest (11 year) bull market in history.

Third, new international analysis from satellite data and ice surveys shows polar ice caps are melting six times faster due to warming oceans than in the 1990s, exposing 400 million people to coastal flooding in the near future.

What is the common element? Denial and incompetence led by President Donald Trump. He has given false information about all three items listed above. His proposals and decisions to defund and dismantle health and climate change programs, and recklessly cut taxes over the last three years, has led to the loss of capacity to handle these increasing threats.

Thankfully, Democratic primary voters are paying attention and choosing a calm, competent, caring individual to lead us in 2021. Joe Biden’s vast experience in working with national and international leaders to restore global normalcy and progress will be so welcome. I wish the election were today.

Pam Person

Orland

Consider the economic impact of remote learning

As a local business owner, I believe the University of Maine’s recent decision to close the university to students and transition to remote learning for the remainder of the semester was premature, irresponsible, and will have a massive cascading impact on the local economy. The impact of students going home and staying home is going to be like a financial bomb going off for Orono-based restaurants, shops, hair salons, gas stations and apartment complexes, all of which rely on that revenue to operate. Some of these businesses don’t have sufficient cash reserves to survive if their customer base disappears overnight, and will end up going out of business — especially if this remote learning policy continues into the fall semester.

I wonder if UMaine considered the potential long-term impact to enrollment if students suddenly are exposed to how effective remote learning is versus paying tuition fees (that increase faster than inflation) to physically attend university. They may be creating a new trend here where some kids start doing the math on student loan repayment and decide to learn accounting from an online college, or self-teaching from books and podcasts, and then taking a CPA exam, etc.

The impact of UMaine’s decision will be felt by local businesses and families for months, and possibly years to come.

Matthew Acheson

Orono