I want to say thank you to David Clough of the National Federation for Independent Business for his recent commentary (“New law places huge burdens on small businesses,” July 31) pointing out one of the many hidden, untold treasures found within the new health care law. I apparently missed that topic being discussed by our illustrious congressional delegation.

But then again, I believe it was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who stated, “You have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”

Another little ditty contained within this bill can be found in Section 9013, which increases the adjusted gross income threshold for claiming the itemized deduction for medical expenses from 7.5 percent to 10 percent beginning after 2012.

I may be wrong, but that sounds like it might just cause a tax increase for many people earning under $200,000.

A fine example of yet another broken “promise,” Section 9003 restricts payments from health savings accounts, medical savings accounts and health flexible spending arrangements for medications to prescription drugs or insulin.

Can Reps. Chellie Pingree or Mike Michaud explain to us just what this means? They voted for it so I am assuming they know all the facts.

It might be well worth the time and effort for a real journalist, in any media form, to really delve into this fiasco and report the facts.

There might just be a good headline story there instead of reporting on the inflated egos of Lindsay Lohan, LeBron James and now Chelsea Clinton.

Francis Paul
Portland

Who’s worst president since Carter? Bush 

I have read letters to the editor and editorial and syndicated columns critical of President Barack Obama’s performance in office. One letter writer most recently summed up his criticism by calling him the worst president since Jimmy Carter.

Therefore the latest results of a poll conducted every eight years by Sienna College in Loudonville, N.Y., asking more than 200 presidential scholars to rank the best and worst presidents in American history was of particular interest to me.

The presidents were evaluated according to personal attributes, five forms of ability, and accomplishments.

The top five rankings were Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

It may come as a surprise to his critics to learn President Obama was listed in the survey for the first time in the 15th position, scoring high marks on “imagination, communication ability and intelligence.”

Jimmy Carter ranked 32nd despite his enviable integrity rating. But he did indeed draw low marks “for his handling of the economy, relationship with Congress, party leadership, luck, executive and leadership abilities and his failure to avoid crucial mistakes.”

George W. Bush came in at 39th out of 44 presidents, ranked just ahead of Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding and Franklin Pierce, the perennial “worst ever.” Former President Bush was rated “especially poorly in handling the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence.”

The letter writer who appraised Barack Obama as the worst president since Jimmy Carter made an inaccurate assumption. Based on expert opinion, this dubious distinction must go to George W. Bush.

Sam Kamin
Cumberland 

Libby Mitchell has record proving her great potential 

The most important factor influencing the location, expansion or survival of a business is the availability of a work force educated to do the work needed for the business to succeed. All other considerations, including tax policy, take second place. Without well-educated and trained employees, businesses will fail.

To grow Maine’s economy, we need a governor who understands the need for many forms of higher education to attract and grow a vibrant business community. Libby Mitchell is my choice to become our next governor because she has championed legislation favorable to education throughout her career in public service.

As a former teacher, her dedication to learning carried forward to support for state funding of Head Start to advance early childhood education. She helped pass education standards for grade advancement under the Learning Results program.

Maine has suffered along with the rest of the country during this long recession.

Mitchell saw to it that our children suffered less by implementing a school breakfast program so that children were not deprived of the nutrition needed to prepare them for a productive school day. Hungry children do not concentrate on lessons.

Libby believes that cooperation between business and government is essential to bring technology to the classroom and demonstrate that career paths can lead to high-paying employment here in Maine. Investment in education is the path to raised standards of living for all Mainers.

Better-educated workers earning higher salaries demanding more goods and services will drive the growth of the Maine economy. Demand creates supply and need to supply creates jobs at all levels of income.

We need a governor who has the vision to foresee Maine focused on a first-class education system turning out graduates competitive with anywhere in the world. Libby Mitchell will be that governor.

Tom Foley
Cumberland Foreside

Elena Kagan an example of nation’s wrong direction 

I would like to express my complete and utter dissatisfaction with Sen. Susan Collins’ endorsement of Elena Kagan for elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While I have other equally strong views of our congressional delegation and their colleagues, including the White House, I will leave that to a time when I am able to log in and post a comment.

I certainly don’t consider myself a “redneck” but someone who has lived for 70 years and is appalled at the direction this country is headed.

I may not live to see the ultimate effects of recent actions by the White House and Congress, but I am totally scared for my children and grandchildren and all others of those generations who will inherit their current direction and policies.

Bill Pearson
Damariscotta