As a retiree and a member of AARP, I am writing in defense of Maine’s seniors who are now threatened by Congress in its attempt to resolve the debt ceiling crisis.

There are proposals being considered by Congress that would make harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security as part of a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

These proposals would place arbitrary limits on federal spending, requiring cuts that could dramatically increase health care costs for today’s seniors, threaten their access to doctors, hospitals and nursing homes and reduce the benefit checks they rely on to pay their bills.

Instead of going after those on Medicare and Social Security, Congress should be cutting tax loopholes and special interest tax breaks for companies that make billions of dollars in profits but pay little or no taxes. It is estimated that all tax breaks and loopholes cost the federal government roughly $1 trillion each year.

For example, oil companies are enjoying special tax deductions, preferences and credits that will add up to billions over the coming decade. These companies are making record profits. Does it make sense to hurt America’s seniors when these companies are doing so well at everybody’s expense?

And does it make any sense for Congress to cut Medicare and Social Security when Congress doles out more than $200 million in tobacco subsidies?

Of course, Congress has to make some tough decisions to address our large and growing debt. But those decisions should not hurt today’s seniors and future retirees.

Congress should go after wasteful government spending and entitlement programs — and do it first.

Phil Chin


Something must be done to “save” Social Security and Medicare. Taxpayers just can’t pay enough to continue things the way they are. There are too many baby boomers compared the number of children being born.

Charles Hildreth’s letter was right on about cutting politicians’ Rolls-Royce medical benefits, but let me go further.

Means-testing has been bandied about. I know we all paid in with the promise that we’d get it back, but obviously, that isn’t going to work. I don’t mind means-testing as long as they test by lifetime income, not by what’s left at retirement.

My husband and I have saved sacrificially, carefully and responsibly. We have not bought expensive toys or taken expensive trips. Why should we receive less than someone who earned as much, but spent instead of saving? Don’t penalize responsibility.

Means-test all retired and retiring senators, congressmen, presidents, and other politicians by the same standard as the rest of us. Why should they get full retirement at our expense? Let them save for it like the rest of us.

After all, they created the problem. We didn’t create these programs and define these entitlements, they did it for us at our own expense, not theirs. We’re the ones who pay for ours and for theirs. In their “generosity,” they reach into our pockets and give to us, and give to themselves much more.

What about raising taxes a little? Watch out. Hasn’t anyone figured out that if they just keep raising taxes a little, sooner than you think, they will be taking everything and just doling it back to us as they see fit. Ever read Animal Farm? Are you sure that politicians ever know better what to do with our money than those to whom it belongs?

Erin Baxter


Krauthammer columns draw fan’s compliments

Thank you for choosing to run regular columns by Charles Krauthammer. He is a voice of reason in the political morass.

Nancy Proctor


Israel should be confronted both at home and abroad

Your May 20 issue had an Associated Press report on President Obama’s recent speech saying he supports having Palestine borders based on those in place before Israel began its occupation in 1967.

To my surprise, the report also said Israel’s occupation has remained immune to popular uprisings and drives for freedom that have swept much of the region.

Quoting from an Associated Press report, on May 16 “Arab protestors march on Israeli borders the first time protests that have swept the Arab world have been aimed at Israel.” Since throngs of protest marchers breached Israel’s borders from all sides, it’s false to claim that state is immunized against getting overthrown.

In his speech Obama also warned Palestinians not to seek statehood through voting by the United Nations in September. He and cohorts like the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee can keep the United States government truckling to Israel, but it will still be a thrill to hear the rest of the world cheer, “Viva Palestine!” loud and clear.

Marjorie Gallace


Don’t pay attention when false prophets predict Rapture

Recently we were supposed to see the Rapture — again. Harold Camping, a radio “pastor,” assured us Jesus would be whisking us all away on May 21, and he was wrong. Surprise!

Perhaps Camping, 89, should be kept safe and comfortable in a home for aged false prophets rather than allowed in a radio studio. If that sounds harsh, read what Deuteronomy 13 requires of false prophets. Camping, along with many other false prophets on TV and radio, should breathe a sigh of relief that we are no longer under Old Testament law.

But perhaps, even in the era of grace, someone should at least go into his radio studio and turn over a few tables. After all, “What would Jesus do?” More realistically, how about a heresy trial? Seriously. Jesus warned very harshly about false prophets, and we can’t keep pretending that they’re no big deal.

Most of all, I’m frustrated by fellow believers who are so lacking in Biblical knowledge that they believe this date-setting nonsense so readily. I want to apologize for the horrible example that Camping and others set for what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Ironically, Jesus was probably thinking ahead to Camping when he said, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inside are ravenous wolves.”

Richard Hagerstrom



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