WINTHROP — Gov. Paul LePage seems to think that because he had a hard life growing up, he is obligated to pass that same experience on to others by allowing them to struggle to a greater degree than is necessary in this day and age.

Our governor would do well to remember that tough love goes only so far before it turns into neglect.

Not only has he refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but recently he called Social Security, Medicare payments, Medicaid and unemployment insurance a “dirty” word: “welfare.”

Even his defense of his statement, saying that he has protected Social Security for Mainers, doesn’t clear LePage.

He still seems to believe that people who are down and out shouldn’t be able to provide the barest minimum for themselves and their families.

Otherwise, that statement wouldn’t have left his mouth in the first place.

Shame on him.

Social Security is not a welfare program.


Even the governor himself was forced to admit that by way of robo-call.

However, he seem not to realize what it actually is: a program that allows the hardworking people of Maine to keep personal pride, regardless of age, and to, in some cases, start their adult lives and get into a position where they can get past needing the program.

Social Security also allows the increasingly aging population of Maine to keep their dignity in their later years, dignity that they have built over a lifetime.

It allows them to keep contributing to their communities and their economy.

Social Security and the other programs mentioned above are not welfare.

They are Mainers helping themselves, and helping each other.

What proves that Social Security isn’t welfare is that everyone pays into it their entire working lives.

LePage admitted that even he’s done so.

This implies that one day he expects to be able to withdraw from that, should he need it as so many others do.

Social Security and other “welfare” is earned by seniors, loaned to those who can work in the future with the hope that they will repay it in the future, and given as a gift to those who are disabled in the hopes that they will support their community and local economy.

As such, it should not be taken away or decreased.

However, Social Security is not the only program that LePage has put down.

Unemployment is another. The governor claims that the people who receive those payments are lazy and that they mooch off the government because it’s easier than actually working.

The following points serve to counter that idea:

As of May, the average amount paid out by the unemployment insurance program is $292.09 a week.

With the way the economy is right now, and the prices of everything going up, this is not enough to live on, even if it is enough to survive on.

And yet our governor thinks that the workers of our state who have suffered setbacks are not entitled to even the relatively little amount that allows them to get by in times of trouble.

The maximum amount of time allowed on unemployment is 26 weeks, and according to, the average number of weeks a Mainer claims unemployment is 14.5 as of May.

That means that Mainers are so determined to get back to work that they only use about half of their allotted time on unemployment.

These two points make it clear that Mainers are not lazy.

They are not weak.

They are hardworking people who try their hardest to provide for their families and themselves.

They contribute immensely to their communities and are, in large part, altruistic and generous souls who help others when they need it.

Yet, in turn, when those same generous souls need help, LePage has shunned them.

When those same hardworking people who gave the stores he managed their profits and put him in his current position need his help and the help of others, he demonizes them as lazy moochers.

Those sturdy, hardworking people appear to be beneath his compassion and he seems to be perfectly willing to leave them out in the rain.

There is only one thing I can think of to say about LePage’s feelings and words about the above-mentioned social programs: