It’s rare when two seemingly disparate issues conjoin to illustrate how our societal priorities are interconnected.

On the one hand is Medicaid expansion, which was overwhelmingly approved by public referendum this year. Gov. LePage decries the cost, estimated at $55 million per year, to provide health care for approximately 70,000 low-income Mainers.

To qualify for this coverage, an individual may not earn more than $16,040 per year and a family of four may earn no more than $32,718. That works out to between $9 and $15 per hour, working 40 hours a week. Those qualifying for this coverage are not freeloaders – they are the working poor of our economic system.

The second issue, seemingly unrelated but actually closely intertwined, is the tax relief that Bath Iron Works is seeking from the state of Maine: a renewal of the program that has provided BIW $60 million over 20 years. That’s $3 million per year.

Keep in mind that in 2016, BIW’s parent company, defense contracting giant General Dynamics, earned a profit of $3 billion in one year. So the company is crying poor over a figure that represents 0.1 percent of its annual profit. In 2016, Phebe Novakovic, the CEO of General Dynamics, received a compensation package of $21.4 million – for one year.

In the skewed economy of modern-day America, somehow this all makes sense. I predict that the politicians in Augusta will rubber-stamp BIW’s ransom demand in the interest of “jobs” while the working poor will continue to be kicked to the curb. Would that I am proved wrong.

Thomas Kircher

Biddeford