Maine’s lagging economy is being blamed on everything but the truth.
Maine’s wealth is its people. They possess outstanding work ethics and always have. Maine lacks the funds to fix potholes, bridges and roads, fund schools or care for our disadvantaged because Maine has mostly become a service-sector economy.
Seventy percent of Maine’s economy is driven by consumer activity (wage earners spending money). The more you make, the more you spend. The value of the dollar rises, tax revenues rise and the state has more money for its needs. Everybody wins.
The best example of this is the 1950s through the ’60s, when the dollar bought seven times what it does today, through workers driving up profits and productivity and negotiating a fair share.
Yet what’s been touted for the last several years as the best remedy for Maine’s lagging economy? Drive wages down, cut corporate taxes and eliminate workers’ ability to negotiate a share of profits increased through higher production.
There was even an attempt to begin this effort in two areas of Maine where jobs were lost to military base closures, leaving workers desperate for work. Sen. Andre Cushing’s May 29 commentary, “Maine Voices: Maine sends the wrong message by rejecting right-to-work zones,” supports restricting workers’ wages and denying them their constitutional rights, as well as those in the Bill of Rights, as a good way to help Maine’s people.
Rep. Amy Volk of Scarborough and Rep. Larry Lockman of Amherst concur, as do many other state legislators. (I mention these names as they’ve voted for, submitted legislation for, or published commentaries supporting this premise.)
It was not Maine workers who sent our jobs to China. Maine deserves elected legislators who represent our workers, families and economy. Then Maine will be headed in the right direction.
Bruce K. Hixon