We are seeing our nation turning into a Third World country thanks to our self-serving, greedy leadership.

We see our votes being ignored, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision to create a loophole to allow undisclosed contributions via the super PAC. So much for setting fundraising limits.

If both parties were to donate their campaign chests, and the money spent on the parties by lobbyists, they could wipe out our national debt and repay all the IOUs to the Social Security Trust Fund.

What a waste of money!

It appears that the House, Senate, Supreme Court and the presidency have all been bought and paid for by the super PAC.

We have become sitting ducks. Greed seems to overrule their duty to protect and work for us.

Who, indeed, can we trust to live up to their promises?

No one!

Guess my grandma was right. She said, “Why do you bother to vote? The trough remains the same, only the pigs change.”

Barbara G. Underwood

Lisbon

Turnpike’s new toll plan creates no-choice situation

I am writing to you in regard to the recent letter I received from the Maine Turnpike Authority.

I originally lived in Massachusetts, where I am currently employed.

Approximately three years ago, when I decided to purchase a home, I looked in several locations from Massachusetts through New Hampshire to Maine.

I decided that Maine was the best fit for me.

The tree-draped landscapes, the people and the general feel I get from the Maine environment were all the reasons I needed to make a 30-year commitment to property in Maine, regardless of the additional toll I was adding to my commute.

So when I signed up to the commuter plan for two vehicles, I was under the assumption that the MTA was a fair and just organization and the commuter plan and the charges were justified.

You can imagine my outrage when I received the letter from the MTA informing me they have arbitrarily decided to “restructure” the commuter toll program.

This will triple my expenses to commute five days a week for work.

In this day and age the middle class is subjected to many political issues, such as being overtaxed, underpaid and being taken advantage of by organizations that are aware the middle class has no choice but to just simply pay and be quiet.

I am disgusted at the MTA’s new “plan.”

It is just plain thievery for thievery’s sake, especially when they realize that people will, in fact, have no choice and simply just pay and be quiet.

There are no alternatives for commuters on I-95.

Is this the message that the state of Maine wants to send to its hardworking, tax-paying residents and visitors?

John P. Gerakines

Biddeford

Ending tax cuts for rich would aid small business

I’ve run a photography studio in Portland for 27 years.

As a small-business owner, I hire when the demand is there.

Really has nothing to do with tax rate.

Really pretty simple: We hire when the business supports it.

Unless Congress acts first, at the stroke of midnight Dec. 31 about a trillion dollars worth of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes will lock in, very likely spinning us into another recession.

Reducing debt requires less spending and more revenue.

The president and Congress have already agreed to a trillion dollars in cuts over the next decade.

A good starting place would be to allow tax cuts to expire for the 2 percent of American households that make more than a quarter-million dollars a year.

This move would raise hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years for debt reduction, and, as the owner of a business, I can testify it will do no harm to small enterprise.

In fact, it will help us by improving the economic outlook of our middle-class customers.

As so often in the past, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins will be the linchpin of any bipartisan compromise.

I’m hereby calling on all of my fellow constituents to contact them and urge them to be leaders in forging a sensible budget deal that includes more revenues from our most fortunate citizens.

As a small-business owner, I am very concerned about the costs of health care and I totally support Obamacare.

Our health insurance is going up about 25 percent.

This is probably the biggest obstacle to hiring.

But we need a strong small-business economy, and having the top 2 percent pay more is the right thing to do and good for business.

Stretch Tuemmler

Stretch Studio, Portland

Notaries public should stop doing civil weddings

There is a group of people that just may be open to being sued if same-sex marriage is allowed in Maine.

That group consists of notaries public.

Since Maine no longer has justices of the peace to do civil wedding ceremonies, that duty has fallen to the notaries public around the state.

In addition to being an ordained Baptist minister, I am also a notary public.

I have stopped doing all civil weddings because I do not want to be sued by a same-sex couple for not doing their wedding but doing one for a straight couple.

To do a ceremony for one couple and not the other would be discrimination, and that is not right.

Also, the Bible teaches me that homosexuality and lesbianism are a sin in God’s eyes,.

I will not knowingly help someone else to sin.

I made a conscious choice not to do civil wedding ceremonies, and I think all notaries public should do the same.

Dr. Frederick H. Giese

Lisbon Falls