Sunday, March 9, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
A reader says that Democrats in Augusta should support a proposal by Gov. LePage to use funds from the liquor distribution contract to reimburse Maine hospitals for providing care to MaineCare recipients.
2012 File Photo/The Associated Press
Federal spending, not cuts, will help U.S. move forward
With another manufactured fiscal crisis -- the sequester -- having begun March 1, reviewing some history related to government spending and debt levels seems in order.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the figure that really matters -- our current ratio of debt to gross domestic product (our debt in relation to the country's entire economic output) -- is in the mid-70 percent range. In comparison, Canada's is 87 percent and Germany's is around 80 percent. (ProPublica, Dec. 28, "How Bad is Our Debt Problem, Anyway?")
After World War II, our debt-to-GDP ratio was well over 100 percent, yet we had the courage to continue to make investments in our future through, for instance, the GI Bill and the interstate highway system. Without that same kind of courage to invest in our future now through badly needed infrastructure improvements, education and training of our work force, etc., we are sentencing the country to decades of slow growth.
Slow economic growth itself has been the principal driver of our escalating debt (see above ProPublica reference), not President Obama's "socialist" agenda. Like it or not, when no other sector is creating jobs, the government has to.
The debt and deficit frenzy sweeping the country is clouding vision. We need sound fiscal policy to ensure a robust economic future, but we can't stop investing in America. Europe's experience should be teaching us that austerity measures are not a viable path forward.
Mary Ann Larson
Pot legalization proposal raises legitimate concerns
The legalization of pot ("Maine lawmaker pushes to legalize small amounts of marijuana," Feb. 21) raises several questions.
Who will be responsible for the health problems of the users in 20 years? (Think tobacco companies.)
How will regulating it control who grows it? (It's illegal now, but that hasn't stopped it. Do you really believe making it legal and taxing it will stop backyard growers? Ever heard of moonshine?)
Just making it legal doesn't mean the problems go away. Then there is the whole drug testing thing some industries are required by federal law to perform -- trucking leaps to mind, airline pilots, etc.
These are just a few of the questions that need to be considered.