Articles by John Buell


Trans-Pacific trade deal is the latest threat to our democracy

By John Buell on May 17, 2015, at 9:19 a.m.
Conservatives warn us deficit spending will turn the U.S. into a fiscal basket case, such as Greece. No longer truly independent, Greece is ruled by the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. What conservatives seldom point out is that membership in the Eurozone cost Greece …
Cocaine, heroin, cash and a loaded gun allegedly seized during a drug raid in Biddeford in this September 2013 file photo.

When the drug war’s casualties are the criminals

By John Buell on Dec. 29, 2014, at 8:55 a.m.
The “War on Drugs” is doing as well as the war on terror. Just as the latter murders civilians, thereby creating fertile ground for enemy recruiters, the former takes its own innocent victims. It converts a chronic disease into a crime, with destructive consequences for us all. The Sentencing Project …

Why clean elections offer a democratic alternative to our dangerous politics

By John Buell on July 29, 2014, at 12:06 p.m.
Recent Supreme Court decisions, such as Citizens United and McCutcheon, make it imperative that we limit the ability of the wealthiest citizens and large corporations to exert disproportionate control over our politics. In fact, Mainers have begun a major push to counter the influence of “dark money” and the substantial …
Job fair attendees browse displays at Los Angeles City College in October. Given the economic climate, more companies are investing in software instead of adding to their payrolls.

We can get to full employment without busting the budget. Maine can set an example

By John Buell on May 21, 2014, at 1:34 p.m.
Despite all the talk about economic recovery, the U.S. remains mired in slow growth and persistent unemployment. Though Maine’s unemployment rate is slightly below the national average, unemployment remains a persistent problem with serious long-term consequences. Joel Johnson and Garrett Martin of the Maine Center for Economic Policy highlighted the …
Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, gestures during an interview with Reuters in Mexico City in this February 2014 file photo.

‘Free trade’ threatens Maine New Balance jobs, helps banks block regulation

By John Buell on Feb. 09, 2014, at 1:01 p.m.
The North American Free Trade Agreement, just turned 20, has been in the news lately. Its advocates hope to extend its reach and depth through a Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement and similar deals with Europe. Trans Pacific Partnership’s possible threat to shoe-industry jobs in Maine has properly received much …

College of the Atlantic’s ambitious new goal

By John Buell on Feb. 12, 2012, at 1:43 p.m.
Recently, I attended a talk by Darron Collins, the new president of College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. Collins is a friend and former student of mine. He spoke eloquently about the college’s distinctive educational mission and the contribution he hopes to make to its future. Collins has set …

The personal automobile makes for a bad romance

By John Buell on Sept. 13, 2010, at 7:04 p.m.
Reading about another tragic life-altering car crash here on Mount Desert Island reminded me of an old newspaper headline. Ten years ago a newspaper in Saskatchewan, which has a population slightly …

Spirituality, economics and nature

By John Buell on Aug. 30, 2010, at 7:35 p.m.
The United States lags the world in responding to climate change. Guardian columnist George Monbiot points out …

Are we bidding farewell to advocacy journalism?

By John Buell on Aug. 16, 2010, at 6:11 p.m.
With the passing of Daniel Schorr and the forced retirement of Helen Thomas, are we bidding farewell to “advocacy journalism,” the journalist who makes news rather than reports it? I think not. …

Afternoon spent listening to talk radio

By John Buell on Aug. 02, 2010, at 6 p.m.
Recently on a dull Sunday afternoon I tuned in a local talk radio program. Talk radio generally pains me, not so much because of the content as the tone. Tone and content are not fully severable, but …

Recovering from deficit obsessions

By John Buell on July 19, 2010, at 5:46 p.m.
The politics of private and government debt provide an occasion to contest both conventional economic theory and related moral narratives. The old story is that a profligate working class and …

Spending not the cause of our problems

By John Buell on July 05, 2010, at 7:28 p.m.
“Runaway government spending” is an easy target now. It is not the cause of our problems. Government spending will not “crowd out” private investors. It is essential in stimulating the demand on which the private sector and even our ability to sustain healthy debt to gross national product ratios depend. …

Countering US deficit mania

By John Buell on June 21, 2010, at 8:30 p.m.
Many of the same folks who overlooked skyrocketing mortgage debt and an unprecedented housing bubble now demand that governments rapidly balance their budgets. Following their advice would be …

Corporate, religious terrorism

By John Buell on June 07, 2010, at 6:37 p.m.
Why won’t our leaders call BP a terrorist, a label readily applied not only to Faisal Shazhad but also to radical Muslims? Even if BP is indicted, few will question its right to the best defense …

Arizona and the politics of immigration

By John Buell on May 24, 2010, at 6:18 p.m.
Arizona, a U.S. state for only about a century, serves as microcosm of our national experience. Most of our ancestors are from away, do not share a common heritage and have seen themselves as God’s …

Give me your huddled masses — sometimes

By John Buell on May 10, 2010, at 6:53 p.m.
The president may have no appetite for immigration reform, but most commentators find it hard to avoid. Liberal columnist Paul Krugman agonizes over the topic in recent blog posts: “Democrats are …

Coal and predatory capitalism

By John Buell on April 26, 2010, at 6:47 p.m.
Just days after the worst U.S. coal mine disaster in a quarter-century, the World Bank approved a $3.75 billion loan to South Africa to build one of the world’s largest coal-fired electric power …

Humans, climate change

By John Buell on March 29, 2010, at 7:16 p.m.
Despite growing consensus among scientists regarding human-induced climate change, the U.S. remains a leader in resistance to corrective action. Some blame our recalcitrance on the small minority of …

Excess of supervisors dulls firms’ productivity

By John Buell on March 15, 2010, at 5:55 p.m.
Remember when the U.S. model of “flexible” labor markets, deregulated transportation and innovative finance was supposed to be an example to the world? Freed from the constraints of minimum …

Rewarding failure, at our expense

By John Buell on March 01, 2010, at 7:27 p.m.
Many middle-class Americans are outraged by the bonuses Goldman Sachs is paying its top traders. The corporate media treat such outrage as “populist” irrationality or simple envy. CNBC’s …
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