“I’ll never be your beast of burden. My back is broad but it’s a hurting.”

-Rolling Stones

Lane: Our government at all levels has become a beast of burden that the average citizen can no longer afford to finance. At the same time, our cost of living is skyrocketing to such a point that many citizens are having to decide if they can stay in their homes along with deciding what they will do without. Too many senior citizens have to toss that horrible coin to decide if they must do without heat, medications or food. This is happening while many government employees are living on salaries higher than that of average citizens and with full benefits that they pay nothing or little toward.

After 20 years of military service I never thought that I would one day say that portions of our government have become a beast of burden, especially Maine’s local and state governments. We hear of the stories of fired CEOs raking in millions of separation benefits just for leaving. Although not in the millions of dollars per person, the same is happening to some public employees when they leave employment. The Westbrook Human Resources Director, after resigning, will receive a separation agreement with benefits included for a total of $84,562.50 as if at this point the 50 cents really matters. I have to ask why are government employees so special?

And the same goes for the Portland Superintendent of Schools who, in my opinion, should be paying her salary back to the taxpayers of Portland with interest for her failure in fulfilling her duties.

I say that it’s time to form a group of citizens in each and every town that will review the contracts of those hired for government employment in order that a practice such as this is stopped in its tracks.

Citizens across Maine are not only hit by a high tax burden caused by government spending spiraling out of control, they are also faced with a cost of living increase in virtually everything they have to purchase. I couldn’t believe the financial news at the beginning of this week. Gasoline prices are expected to spike 15 cents a gallon in the very near future. Crude oil has been hanging above $80 a barrel. The Euro has remained steady at $1.40 while the Canadian dollar is now on par with the American dollar, something which last happened during President Ford’s administration.

We all know how the prices are increasing on anything that we purchase. I was shocked to go grocery shopping this past weekend and discover that prices are not only increasing, the amount of product we purchase might decrease. I picked up a can of Pam cooking spray and was not only shocked that it was $2.99 but amazed the contents decreased.

Adding insult to injury, the Bush administration has announced that the only solution to the Social Security problem is reducing benefits while increasing taxes. I can only imagine that will pale to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama being elected as President because my personal feeling is that their socialist agenda will bankrupt this nation faster than I could flee to Canada.

Any elected official that parades around this country campaigning while spending millions of dollars they never earned while many citizens do without adequate food and medical care deserve the title of Oxymoron because they certainly are taking us and our bank accounts to the cleaners (but that’s another column for the future). These Lear Jet politicians are a joke and a half.

Simply put, as we tighten our belts, government at all levels must do the same.

Lane and Tommy, of Windham, would like to thank the wonderful staffs of WJZF radio in Standish and Saco River Community Television in Hollis for their help in the radio and TV version of On the Right Track. As our fight is to reduce the tax burden Mainers bear, we regretfully must now direct our attention in that direction beginning with a huge petition drive in order to make Maine a better place for all. Socialists can move to Vermont.

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