Wednesday, December 11, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
Solar panels and solar hot water panels cover the roof of a Freeport residence. A letter writer who recently installed a grid-tied solar power system says grid disruptions too small for utility equipment to measure can trigger shutdowns in such a system, potentially on a daily basis.
2007 Staff File Photo
3) Abuse is easy and rampant, as we have seen during recent elections. Groups that are formed to educate the public often tailor their message to favor one candidate or another.
4) Who decides the criteria for qualification as a charitable group? Congress. Need more be said?
Edward S. Riggs
Oath of office is only pledge officeholders should take
Many Republican members of Congress seem to feel constrained from supporting a balanced approach to deficit reduction -- one that combines spending cuts with revenue increases -- because of a pledge they made (in some cases, decades ago) to never vote for a tax increase. This doesn't make sense, either in principle or practice.
The principle is that our public representatives should only take one pledge: the oath of office. Promises made to powerful lobbyists -- in the case of "no new taxes," to Grover Norquist -- that conflict with that oath must be disregarded. The nation faces a serious debt problem; there is no way of solving it with budget cuts alone; duty to country requires that all members of Congress support revenue increases.
Practically speaking, no member of Congress is being asked to vote for a tax increase as part of the current budget negotiations. All that is necessary to raise considerable revenue is to allow certain temporary tax cuts to expire on schedule.
If the cuts applying to annual household income above $250,000 were simply allowed to run out at year's end like they're supposed to, we could raise a trillion dollars over the next decade for debt reduction and to strengthen programs like Medicare.
This reversion to slightly higher Clinton-era rates would affect only the top 2 percent of taxpayers. Republicans and Democrats agree cuts should be extended for the other 98 percent of us, in order to maintain consumer demand in the face of a still-fragile economy.
As Mainers we can be proud that both Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have maintained their right to individual judgment on taxes. Now they just need to convince their Republican colleagues that in principle and practice, they too should ignore Grover Norquist and his unpatriotic pledge.
Today's Republicans not the party of Lincoln
Jones F. Gallagher simply used a verbatim Rush Limbaugh talking point in an attempt to exuse the racist behavior of outgoing Republican chairman Charlie Webster ("Democrats, not GOP, practice racism," Nov. 30). The shallow argument contends that the Republican Party was originally predicated on the abolishment of slavery and reinforced its position when more Republicans in Congress voted for civil right legislation than Democrats.
That point fails to mention that all of the "Dixiecrats" that voted against the civil rights agenda immediately converted to the GOP.
That was then and this is now. Virtually all governors in the South are Republicans and vigorously support the Confederate principles of state's rights, Jim Crow laws, and subjugation of minority populations. Not only is this no longer the party of Lincoln, it isn't the party of Rockefeller, George Romney or Ronald Reagan.
John M. Flagler