I am responding to incoming Senate President Kevin Raye’s contention, in his Maine Voices column Dec. 11 on the Republican plan for abolishing the Labor Committee of the Maine Legislature (“A separate committee for labor issues has outlived its usefulness”):

This consolidation has been accomplished, and yet it is still worthwhile to set the record straight on some of his statements.

Sen. Raye argued: “Nobody would be diminished by making one legislative committee responsible for weighing the needs and obligations of both workers and businesses.”

This “we’re all in the same boat” rhetoric is true, in that we are all in Maine and all want a healthy economy. It is false in that workers are not in the same boat as business owners; workers are falling further and further behind the upper class.

A recent study showed that most Americans (high income or low income, female or male, young or old, Republican or Democrat) have no idea just how concentrated the wealth distribution actually is.

Some 81 percent of all wealth in the United States, as of 2007, is held by the top 20 percent of American families. The bottom 80 percent hold only 15 percent of the wealth. And income? The average top executive in large corporation gets 344 times as much as the average worker.

This situation is getting steadily worse. Therefore, in a very real sense we in the bottom 80 percent did not want one committee weighing the needs and obligations of both the business owners and workers, even though that is what we got.

Dollars to doughnuts, I know which side the committee will favor.