Charles Lawton’s column on April 14 (“Employers’ costs, not technology, threaten jobs“) had a very important and provocative message.

We need to reduce the cost of each employee in order for our products to be competitive in the global economy.

That does not mean that employers need to reduce fair pay for a given job and job skill set.

It means that we need to reduce the other costs of employment such as adopting a single-payer health insurance program to reduce the overall cost of health care by negotiating lower prescription drug costs and making the cost of medical procedures more visible to comparison- shop with higher co-pays. 

Encourage retirement saving not through pensions but 401(k)-type programs with required participation by employees, along with a reduction in payroll taxes for unemployment insurance.

We should not raise the minimum wage but let the market determine wages. We also need to demand more of our education system to prepare our children for a career.  

Gordon Hamlin

Freeport

High cost of keeping inmates supports capital punishment

Two pieces in the April 14 Telegram proved an interesting combination: the commentary “Death penalty’s demise in Maine” and the article “A lifetime behind bars.”

Both were disturbingly clear on the cost of both men’s actions to society, including the families of victims, fear to the general populace, and the cost of keeping them alive.  

I thought the argument for the death penalty spoke loudly.

In a time when budget and lack of funding is such an issue, remind me why it is necessary to care for, feed and nurture these people.

Better suited to the times would be better funding to address homeless shelters, care for mentally unstable individuals, insurance reform, food pantries for struggling families, education . . . the list goes on.

Still, we want to keep these criminals alive. Really?

Kharris Brill

Bath

Don’t legalize bycatch – make it illegal everywhere

Our federal government allows lobsters to be destructively harvested by groundfishing gear dragged across the sea floor.

The principal reason the Canadians and our state governments do not allow dragging for American lobsters is resource conservation.

Dragging is destructive.

Dragging destroys habitat.

The current bill in front of the Maine state Legislature (L.D. 1097) should not pass because it would be detrimental to the lobster industry and the overall health of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.

I understand and sympathize with the problems facing the Portland Fish Exchange and the fishermen who insist they would land their catch in Portland if only they could bring in lobsters as well as fish.

These Maine fishermen argue that they travel to Gloucester, Mass., to sell fish because they can sell lobsters there as well.

I say, fix the law that is broken.

Don’t break the conservation laws that work. The solution to the problem is to change the federal law so that no dragger-caught lobsters can be bought or sold anywhere.

It seems to me that would fix the problem for the Portland Fish Exchange and the Maine groundfishing fleet.

If no groundfish vessel anywhere were allowed to harvest or land lobsters caught by dragging gear, then there should be no incentive for Maine fishermen to sell their fish elsewhere.

Diane F. Cowan, Ph.D.

senior scientist, The Lobster Conservancy

Friendship

That an Irish pub serves pub-style food isn’t a fault

My husband and I eat at Byrnes’ Irish Pub several times a month — the service is always great and so is the food.

Perhaps Nancy Heiser should only review the gourmet restaurants (“Byrnes’ Irish Pub suffers from nondescript food, so-so service,” March 31). She obviously doesn’t have an appreciation for pub food.

Susan White

Brunswick

LePage’s ‘lack of character’ obscures any achievements

In the March 17 Telegram, Michael Cuzzi wrote an incisive commentary headlined “Governor’s character reflects on Maine’s.”

He goes on to critique Paul LePage’s performance as governor to date, highlighting many of his thoughtless statements that were either not truthful or proved to be offensive to the majority of his constituents.

Cuzzi aptly describes the governor as a “good and decent man motivated by a sincere passion to move in a better direction. But somehow that passion too often devolves into public spectacle, undermining the governor’s effectiveness and impugning Maine’s character.”

It has become increasingly clear that LePage intends to run for re-election. In recent days, he has softened his rigid position on a few key issues. The line he drew in the sand has shifted, driven by the prevailing political winds.

He has a solid core of followers who not only condone his penchant for distorting the truth and disparaging all who do not agree with him, but also encourage his style of leadership.

I have clipped Cuzzi’s commentary from the newspaper and posted it in a prominent place on my refrigerator. If and when LePage campaigns on his record of great “achievements,” it will serve to remind me of the lack of character that eclipses whatever he may actually accomplish.

If there are once again more than two candidates for the office of governor in 2014, his minority supporters may very well succeed in electing him to a second term.

It is my fervent hope he will change his mind and not seek another term. If he does run, it is crucial that the majority of the electorate does everything possible to avoid this undesirable prospect. As Cuzzi observed, “Maine’s character hangs in the balance.”

Phyllis Kamin

Cumberland

East-west highway backers looking to pave the planet

I grow weary from being labeled an environmental extremist/radical by the east-west corridor proponents, though the label diminishes daily as truth surfaces and reality prevails as to the actual intentions of CEO Peter Vigue of Cianbro Corp. and the potential global investors who understand nothing but rape and plunder of the planet.

Destroying even one part is akin to removing part of one’s own body. The globalists want the entire body. Now, that’s extreme.

I would not mind being labeled this way if such PR attacks were actual reality and not the false assumptions promoted from the fabricated reality of which the indoctrinated cannot comprehend escaping from. For I am not an environmentalist; I am the environment, and, ironically, so are they … as are all humans, as is all life and matter.

Earth is primary, our only livable habitat. The agenda of Cianbro is, as is all global corporations and their paid political allies, to completely destroy that habitat in the insane guise of “progress.” Ignorance gone mad. The true extreme few deciding the fate of this wondrous planet.

Every moment of our precious existences will never pass through our breathing hearts again. Every moment of denial that avoids this, our earthly environment with which we are one, is a fundamental confession that one’s soul has been a waste of having been born on what I’ve long referred to as “The Most Beautiful Planet In the Universe.”

Sadly, such lost souls are the major accomplices to Earth’s suffocating demise.

Robert Schick

Garland