I bought my first pair of L.L. Bean rubber “duck” shoes more than 50 years ago, and have been a loyal customer ever since. At least until now.

I used to be eager to support local industry and local workers. I was proud of L.L. Bean. “Maine, Open for Business” was a nifty concept long before Gov. LePage latched on to it.

So, here’s the problem.

In Bean’s summer “Outdoors” catalog, I counted 153 products labeled “imported” and only 22 made in the U.S. We all know Bean outsources some of its manufacturing jobs overseas, but this ratio was shocking.

Who is L.L. Bean giving job security to? Certainly not Maine workers or even U.S. workers. But somebody in their organization sure is making a lot of money. Is it their workers on the Pacific Rim? I doubt it.

I feel my loyalty has been betrayed, and frankly, I’m really embarrassed I supported them this long.

Peter Wiles
North Yarmouth

Life insurance can benefit seniors in long-term care

The current debate surrounding MaineCare expansion is in full swing.

Maine is home to more than 200,000 seniors, and many Mainers rely on MaineCare, our state’s version of Medicaid.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will pay for MaineCare expansion for the first three years, leaving states responsible starting in year four. But there are alternative ways to realize MaineCare savings.

As baby boomers age, the number who will rely on MaineCare for long-term care will likely increase. A life insurance policy is legally recognized as an asset of the policy owner, and it counts against them when qualifying for MaineCare.

Individuals who need to pay for long-term care usually abandon their policy because they need to show little or no assets to qualify for MaineCare.

What they do not know is that they can convert their policy into a long-term care benefit plan and remain private-pay. Seniors can then choose the form of long-term care they want — home care, assisted living and skilled nursing or memory care.

Political leaders now realize the cost-saving implications by extending the time a person can privately pay before becoming MaineCare-eligible.

In fact, Sen. Margaret Craven introduced legislation this year (L.D. 1092) that would empower MaineCare to start informing Mainers of their legal right to make better use of their life insurance asset than just abandoning the policy to spend down to below the poverty level.

We can help seniors, their families and an overextended MaineCare system through this consumer protection initiative.

Converting life insurance to pay for long-term care is a big win for seniors and their families, providers of long-term care services and for taxpayers across Maine.

Chris Orestis
co-founder and CEO, Life Care Funding
Portland

Recent EPA letter discredits basis for supporting pipeline

Regarding the letter “King should look at pipeline’s upside” (May 9):

The writer’s two arguments in favor of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline are rebutted by a recent Environmental Protection Agency letter that says that the State Department finding (which the letter writer cites) is flawed on two counts: the inevitability of the extraction of the tar sands oil and the impact on the climate of the burning of that oil.

One of the letter writer’s arguments has diesel locomotives transporting these oils, which assumes the inevitability of extraction, but the EPA letter doubts this inevitability.

His other argument claims little likelihood of an environmental incident. Certainly an adverse impact on climate would qualify as “an environmental incident,” and the EPA letter says the State Department finding has seriously underestimated the impact on climate.

Sen. Angus King should be congratulated for his vote against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and for his recognition of and belief in climate science.

It is time for all of us to be working for a clean energy future and to not be locking ourselves into further infrastructure that only deepens our addiction to fossil fuels.

Science tells us that 80 percent of these fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground if we are to avoid doing irreparable damage to our climate system.

William Rixon
Freeport

Anti-tax reform rhetoric sheds more heat than light

The “Gang of 11″ has put forth a tax program proposal for discussion that they believe can be transformative for Maine’s economy, Maine business and Maine people.

Note they say “for discussion.” Yet the host of professional organizations that lined up to testify at the public hearing May 10 seemed to have one mantra: “Just say no!”

Cheryl Timberlake of the Maine Beer and Wine Distributors Association called the proposal “devastating.”

Ms. Timberlake, Sandy Hook, Newtown and Boston were devastating. Tax change is not.

Let’s drop the red flag rhetoric and try what the “Gang of 11″ suggests — discuss. It would be so much better if we could gather a couple of objective members from each of these organizations and meet with the “gang” to “discuss” how we can make this work best for the entire state of Maine.

At church one recent Sunday, our Bible readings called us to be one with each other, and our pastor spoke of community, calling on us to work together to grow and solve our problems. I could not help but think how poorly that had been demonstrated at the hearing two days before. Sad.

I read the “Two sides of reforming Maine taxes” commentary in the May 12 Sunday paper and was instructed by Albert DiMillo, one of the “Just say no” gang from the public hearing, that I have a “lack of understanding.”

That was an insult — to me, to my fellow Mainers and to the “Gang of 11,” intelligent, caring people elected by other intelligent, caring people.

Mr. DiMillo, I do understand — and so do many others — that our tax codes are a mess, that most of the “Just say no” rhetoric is woefully short on supporting data (which a retired accountant should understand), and that if we do not soon start to work together, we will surely fail separately.

Daniel J. Rooney
Sanford