Rather than arguing about tax rates or the debt ceiling, we should ask ourselves the question: “What is required for a healthy economy?”
A healthy economy needs reasonable rules enforced by the rule of law, a sound money supply, protection of private property and confidence in government so that people can go about their daily lives and make sound decisions, take risks on commercial ventures and plan for their futures.
I submit that on these questions the Washington establishment has not only failed miserably, but has done everything in its power to make matters worse. Our government is dysfunctional!
When the government supervised the bankruptcy of General Motors, it discarded 200 years of bankruptcy law to pay off the United Auto Workers for its campaign contributions. That is hardly rule by law.
The Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” is nothing more than “monetizing debt” — creating money and inflation to buy government bonds that the market does not want to buy. That is hardly maintaining a sound money supply.
When government has the right to confiscate anyone’s property by “eminent domain” for just about any reason, that is hardly protecting private property.
When the law allows “special interests” to corrupt the political system for their own profit rather than competing in free economic exchanges, that is hardly establishing confidence in the system.
Our president struts around oblivious to his responsibilities. The bureaucrats are driving around in newly purchased limousines as if they were Soviet commissars. Our Federal Reserve chairman appears clueless.
It is time to throw the rascals out, rein in the size and power of government, and pass a balanced budget amendment.
Here’s a recipe for Congress to get past its current fiscal “crisis.” The real problem with balancing the budget is that the U.S. has chosen constant warfare as the primary means of statecraft since 2001.
Unlike wars of the past, Congress and presidents both Republican and Democratic have chosen to take no steps to raise revenue specifically to fund ongoing wars.
Let Congress resolve to limit the Pentagon budget to the level of early September 2001. Take those unfunded missions away and money for America’s needs will materialize.
Debate and attempt to pass higher taxes for any military combat missions that politiicans believe deserve taxpayer support. If these “little wars” are not worthy of direct support from taxpayers, stop them now!
If they aren’t worth funding from taxes, than bring home our personnel and equipment. And I don’t mean only troops, but everything that costs money: naval fleets, missiles, drones, contractors, CIA, Special Forces, etc.
We cannot afford all this and, more importantly, we have no articulated reason to continue fighting. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are long gone. Are we foolish not to declare victory and get out?
This is a nonpartisan approach that will provide real relief to American citizens suffering in this extended recession.
I would hope that both parties in the present deadlock over federal debt limit would take a page from Maine history.
Twenty years ago, Maine state representatives and the governor went toe-to-toe over the state budget. That dangerous game of chicken went over the brink and left both sides smoldering wrecks.
What remained was a besmirched administration and term limits for state lawmakers. A disgusted public thought it served both sides right!
A much-deserved story about Bangor Savings
I would like to compliment Jonathan Hemmerdinger and your staff for profiling Bangor Savings Bank and its CEO, James Conlon, in the Maine Sunday Telegram. How refreshing it was to see a bank noted for sound judgment and a caring approach.
Our state should be proud that we are home to a business that avoided the financial ruin that toppled many a financial institution in recent years.
I am doubly impressed that Bangor Savings is the largest Maine-based bank, that it employs so many people and that it continues to remain true to a 160-year heritage of being level-headed and committed to its customers and their communities.
Your photo featured Mr. Conlon in the lobby of the new Falmouth branch. That town is already benefiting from Bangor Savings as a neighbor. The Falmouth Community Program Summer Campers are being sponsored by the bank to attend one of the Circus Smirkus shows in Freeport in August.
These 70 campers would never have the chance to make this field trip without a substantial ticket subsidy. Town budgets have been slashed such that this outing would be beyond their reach.
Luckily, they have a caring benefactor in Bangor Savings and can thrill at the delights and inspiration of the child performers of Circus Smirkus.
On behalf of Falmouth Community Programs and Smirkus Freeport, I would like to thank Bangor Savings for being such a big-hearted and giving organization. And a standing ovation for your paper, too, for covering this story that captures headlines for all the right reasons.
Using a credit card seems to be riskier
Have you noticed a change lately while using your credit card?
While using my credit card at a retail store, I was asked to swipe it and to sign on a small pad. I commented to the clerk that it would be impossible to identify it as my signature.
She responded, “Don’t worry, most people only draw a squiggly line anyway.” She also did not ask to see the signature on the back of the card. Anyone could have been using the card.
I also have been concerned about using a credit card when getting gas. The gas pump sometimes gives a receipt, but not always, and no identification is needed. With the price of gas today this could lead to a serious problem with stolen credit cards.
Because identity theft is on the rise, this may be a good time to go back to only using cash on a more regular basis.
Dechaine case stench traced to AG’s hubris
Webster’s dictionary defines hubris as “wanton insolence or arrogance resulting from excessive pride” and complicity as “partnership in wrongdoing.”
The Dennis Dechaine case illustrates how the Maine Attorney General’s Office has demonstrated both for over two decades. That office has seriously compromised its mission of “justice for all” and rendered its actions suspect, regardless of the attorneys serving there.
Starting with James Tierney in 1989, the year of Dechaine’s trial, to William J. Schneider, the present attorney general, the AG’s office has been smug in its righteousness and self-granted infallibility.
“In Maine we’re different,” asserted deputy AG William Stokes when I pointed out that in light of the frequent exonerations nationwide wouldn’t it be possible that Maine has a few innocent people in jail?
The Legislature has long smelled the stench of cover-up in the Dechaine case emanating from the fourth floor of the Cross Office Building. When that office steadfastly refused to open up its files on the case, the lawmaking bodies enacted legislation to open them up.
The greatest find in the files was the flagrant altering of the notes of the police investigators to incriminate Dechaine.
When the Legislature discovered that deputy AG Fern Larochelle had incinerated possibly exculpatory evidence, it passed legislation ordering the AG’s office to keep all evidence in cases it prosecuted.
When I successfully sponsored a post-conviction DNA bill in 2006, that office was adamant in its opposition, just as it was against a follow-up bill this year.
The only redeeming action was AG Andrew Ketterer’s 1990’s firing of prosecuting attorney Eric Wright in the Dechaine case.
Governor’s actions show he’s not lazy
A recent letter suggested Gov. Paul LePage is too lazy to research issues before he makes decisions. I must respectfully disagree with the writer. The governor may be different things to different people, but he is not lazy.
Paul LePage came into office with a “Marden mentality.” He still regards himself as a CEO, the “boss.” In that position he has no obligation to spend any of his valuable time “doing research.”
Furthermore, if the Legislature passes a bill that does not meet with his approval, he can wield his veto knowing full well that no one will override his authority.
If he decides to remove murals from the walls of the Deptartment of Labor without even a passing glance, down it must come.
If he decides to favor relatives and friends with executive positions in “his firm,” no one may challenge his selections.
If he happens to offend someone with his coarse language, he has no need to apologize.
He has every right to post an “Open for Business” sign in the state’s front window, advertising to the world that our state’s assets are on sale with the hope that it may result in opportunities for a few more employees.
In the last election, a minority of voters managed to sign LePage to a four-year contract as governor. A majority of voters has the option of not renewing it.