April 21, 2013

Letters to the editor: Labor expenses hinder growth

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

click image to enlarge

If the cost of production gets too high, there will be fewer jobs to to around, a reader says.

The Associated Press

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.

(Continued on page 2)

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