In his Nov. 13 opinion piece, John Balentine gleefully railed against Portland’s voters who approved rent control, a $15 minimum wage and an $18 minimum wage for declared emergencies.

I say shame on those Portland voters for dealing with the problem of low-wage workers, unable to afford to live near where they work in Portland, by raising their wages and controlling their rents. It would have made far more sense to evict these necessary workers and force them to move out into more affordable and distant Greater Portland towns and cities. Instead, Portland voters did a courageous and risky thing. Certainly some businesses will relocate to what Mr. B calls “free-market-embracing-communities.” What’s wrong with spreading Portland’s wealth around a bit? As a Portland native who has spent most of the last 49 years living in economically struggling Aroostook County, I would say that the county would welcome a disenchanted Portland business looking to relocate to a place that I say is The Way Maine Used to Be.

In my experience, most businesses are focused almost exclusively on making a profit and successfully competing against others. However, that process necessitates winners and losers. And not all people, without submitting to serious exploitation, can eke out survival in our capitalist system. Only the strong, smart and aggressive survive and thrive. But we are not all strong, smart and aggressive. And not all needs (roads, bridges, schools, fire and police protection and a clean environment, as examples), can be produced affordably at a sufficiently large profit to motivate investment. So sometimes, governments step in to offer businesses or the citizenry incentives, what we once called welfare. In Portland’s case, the people stepped in. Mr. B may call it socialism. I call it rational self-interest.

Where is Edgar Allen Beem when we need him?

Michael A. Fasulo
South Portland