February 17, 2013

Letters to the editor: Unlikely allies hurt U.S. workers

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Supporters rally in Phoenix just before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a tougher immigration bill into law on April 23, 2010. The Democratic Party and Big Business are conspiring in favor of lifting immigration limits “to keep America flooded with low-wage labor,” a reader says.

2010 File Photo/The Associated Press

Citing average weekly income of $223 for Maine households in the lowest quintile, she tells us their sales tax bite is $14. That's on $280 worth of "hammers, hats, shoes, shirts or shovels," her example of taxable purchases. Presumably, this household also eats, another $165 by her numbers, spent on mostly non-taxed food.

Even before such basics as housing and transportation, her lowest-quintile household has racked up $280 in taxed items, $14 sales tax and $165 for food, a total of $459 -- all on an income of $223. Nice going!

In their report "Charting Maine's Future," the Brookings Institution concluded that high income taxes "may well be sending negative signals to workers, entrepreneurs, and retirees about the state as a place in which to live and do business." Among the report's recommendations: Trim government to invest in Maine's economy and finance tax reduction.

Coming dead last in Forbes' annual "business friendliness" ranking of the 50 states, we apparently haven't done nearly enough, and Feiner wants to raise taxes in the interest of "fairness"?

True, Maine ranks 12th in income equality, but New Hampshire ranks fourth and has a year higher life expectancy to boot. Income equality explains a mere 7 percent of the statistical variation in life expectancy by state. With economics like Feiner's, it is hardly surprising that Mainers average only 70 percent of their Granite State neighbors' earnings.

Her concept of "fairness" is higher taxes on income. But that burdensome income tax beast has already chased jobs from Kittery to Portsmouth, on which her "fair" tax generates zero revenue.

Capitalism's vice, Churchill observed, is unequal sharing of blessings; Socialism's virtue, the equal sharing of misery. The road along which Feiner's "fairness" would take us could not be more clearly marked.

Michael J. Cowell


Despite top police official's praise, Israel no role model

The chief of the Maine State Police appears to have thoroughly enjoyed his recent trip to Israel ("State police chief: Israel impressive," Maine Sunday Telegram, Feb. 10).

Unfortunately, Col. Robert Williams' sojourn is an alarming sign of what journalist Max Blumenthal has called "the Israelification of American domestic security." The Israelis have decades of experience in subjugating and controlling an indigenous population of Palestinians.

There is no question that Israeli internal police and security forces are very good at what they do. And judging by the "counterterror" tactics that were used against peaceful American protesters during the short-lived Occupy Wall Street movement, we are not far behind.

The question for Col. Williams, for Mainers and for all Americans is this: Is the Israeli model of law enforcement really appropriate for us? I believe the answer is clearly "no."

For some time now we have been moving rapidly toward becoming a full-fledged police state, and if we are to have any hope of reversing course, Israel is the last country we should be looking to emulate.

David E. Bauer


Remedial class fee proposal another dig at public schools

In reference to the governor's suggestion that high schools pay for the tuition covering remedial classes in college ("Legislative bills blur outlook for Maine schools," Jan. 31), two questions come to mind.

One: Who or what does the governor think a school is? Some private entity with a bankroll? In the end, the taxpaying citizens of the school district would pay.

Second: Where is the student in this equation? The student bears responsibility for his/her performance as well as does the school.

Coming from someone who touts his gritty past and anti-handout philosophy, this is a contradiction.

It does, however, stay on track for his party line of demeaning the schools in Maine in order to serve his agenda for more charter schools.

If charter school graduates need remedial classes, who does the governor think should pay for them?

Sarah Strouss


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