The Universal Notebook: 'Liberals hate the rich, enslave the poor'

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At least that’s what conservatives like Gov. Paul LePage seem to believe. Of course, like just about everything LePage believes, it’s pure, nonsensical GOP myth.

Week before last, our hugely unpopular governor showed up at a tourism conference at Sunday River and proceeded to ruin an awards celebration by delivering a Trumpian rant about Democrats hating the rich and wanting people to stay poor. The rambling 18-minute speech, which led some attendees to question the governor’s mental state, brought only a smattering of awkward applause and was full of the kinds of contradictions and hypocrisies we have come to expect from LePage.

In one breath, he complained, “I never thought I would live in a state where earning a decent living is a bad thing,” and with the next he called the referendum initiative to raise the minimum wage, which is an effort to help more Mainers earn a decent living, “a scam on the Maine people.”

In the parallel universe inhabited by LePage and his reactionary ilk, liberals want to raise the minimum wage not to benefit wage earners, but because labor unions negotiate contracts tied to minimum wages. In fact, goes LePage’s me-first, blame-the-poor illogic, raising the minimum wage “is to get more money out of your pocket and give it to those who are not willing to keep their nose clean, work hard and achieve.”

What complete and utter lunacy.

To begin with, far too many people in this state and this nation work hard all their lives, keep their noses clean and die penniless. One illness, injury, divorce, death, job loss or poor investment can wipe out a lifetime of hard work overnight. That’s why we have created a social safety net of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food assistance and unemployment compensation – a safety net LePage & Co. seek every day and in every way to undo.

LePage warned the tourism officials Maine is under attack by “Bernie Sanders supporters,” but the truth is that progressives like Sanders are sometimes all that stand between working people and the bosses who exploit them every chance they get.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Boss Paul, the redistribution of wealth in this country is upward to the wealthy. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer because the tax codes are written to benefit the wealthy and because so-called “free market” capitalism supports predatory pricing for things we all need: energy, housing, health care and pharmaceuticals.

Real wages for Americans were higher in 1972 than they are today, while the amount of wealth concentrated in the wallets of the top 1 percent increases daily and is now close to 50 percent. After the stock market crash in 1929, wealth distribution in this country was increasingly equitable for decades, but today we are back to the age of the 1920s robber barons. And the amazing thing is that so many confused Americans have been suckered in by a rich fat cat like Donald Trump, whose gaming of the system is one of the main reasons the American middle class is losing economic ground. Republicans are masters of deceit. Heck, Trump is so deceitful, he isn’t even a Republican.

LePage, bragging that he ate cat food growing up because he couldn’t afford tuna fish, complained that “we have people who succeed and get out of the poverty and then we have people that are trying to drive us back in because they don’t want us to succeed.”

That’s the Big Right Lie at work. Right-wing wackos love conspiracy theories and one of their favorites is the paranoid talk-radio insistence that liberals manufactured the 2008 collapse of the U.S. economy in order to destroy the old capitalist system and replace it with a socialist system. The fact that Wall Street vampires were able to suck the American economy dry because of a failure to regulate financial markets seems to somehow have escaped them. Go watch “The Big Short,” Big Guy.

Liberals do not hate the rich. There are plenty of well-to-do liberals. Liberals just want the most fortunate (and that’s all they are, more fortunate, not harder working or more deserving) to pay their fair share, which they are not currently doing. And I have never in my 67 years on Earth met anyone who wants to keep the poor oppressed (or admit more illegal immigrants) because they will vote Democratic.

It’s not about power, governor, it’s about economic justice. You can’t say you’re for people earning a decent living and then oppose raising the minimum wage. But of course, you were the guy who wanted to Stop Trump one week and then endorsed the Big Doofus the next, so maybe you can.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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  • NSW

    “And that’s all they are, more fortunate, not harder working or more deserving”

    That’s a huge generalization to make, especially when most in my parents’ generation (I’m 20) grew up in a time with significant economic mobility. I know for a fact that my parents and many of my friends’ parents earn higher incomes than others because they did work harder than their peers.

    Do I agree that far-right ideologues portray liberals as people who hate the rich? Yes. But making ad hominem responses (calling them “wackos”) to ad hominem attacks does nothing to create healthy political discourse. You’ve successfully categorized an entire party as entitled idiots. First, I didn’t know that enjoying fiscal responsibility, lower small business tax rates, and open trade made people entitled idiots. Second, maybe you should work on attacking political extremists on BOTH sides of the aisles, not just the one that’s most convenient for you. It’s possible to criticize bad ideas without criticizing ~35% of the American adult population.

    • EABeem

      A lot of people work hard all their lives and end up broke and a lot of people hardly work and ended up financially secure. There but for fortune, my friend. There but for fortune.

      • Lucy Ball

        Exactly how do you define “work hard” and “hardly work”?

        • EABeem

          Work hard = go to work every day, do your best, make an effort to be productive. Like all those paper workers who have seen their retirements disappear. Hardly working = inherit wealth, unearned income from investment, overpaid executives. Like all those Wall St. bankers who got golden parachutes for destroying the US economy.

          • Jimmy_John67

            Where do you classify yourself? In your opinion do you work hard or hardly work?

          • EABeem

            Neither.

          • Jimmy_John67

            Do you think the paper mill workers in your example would say that you hardly work?

          • EABeem

            Most paper workers in Maine now hardly work through no fault of their own.

          • Jimmy_John67

            Nice try to avoid answering. Let me rephrase it then. Do you think you work as hard or harder then paper mill workers?

          • EABeem

            Look, you’re lucky I answer at all. How do I know what mill workers would regard as hard work? If they think writing for a living and relying entirely on your wits is hard, then maybe. If they think writing is easy, then no.

          • Jimmy_John67

            Classic Beem. Get angry and defensive when you know the obvious answer to a question but can’t bring yourself to answer it since it will poke even larger holes in your Swiss cheese argument. So predictable. So sad.

          • EABeem

            So you are saying that millworkers are so stupid that they would not regard writing as hard work? Doesn’t speak well for your view of workers.

          • Jimmy_John67

            Actually it speaks to your level of narcissism that you regard spending a few hours each week writing a brief, poorly researched opinion column then trolling the comment section as harder work then mill work. That’s quite sad.

          • EABeem

            This column is just one of the many things I write. I have one book at the publishers, another in process, I write for national and international publishers and publications as well as Maine and regional ones. And since you do not appreciate it, I will no longer bother responding to your anonymous comments.

          • Jimmy_John67

            So you can make statements that corporate managers and executives hardly work despite having absolutely zero corporate experience of any kind but the second someone questions your work ethic regarding writing you get angry, defensive and take your ball and go home. So predictable and just the outcome I expected. You are so easy to manipulate into exposing the lack of substance and thought in any of your opinions that’s it not even a challenge for me anymore.

          • NSW

            Few executives inherit wealth and hardly work. They may not get an hourly wage, but they certainly have to work long hours (empirically equal to or more than those less well-off). You seem to think that banking and running a large corporation are easy tasks; that’s just factually inaccurate. Not to mention you have to go through tons of hard work at McIntire, Wharton, and Harvard Business School in order to get those jobs.

            I don’t even disagree with the premise of your article. I’m also not all that conservative (I align somewhere between Clinton and Kasich). I’m just pointing out the irresponsibility in using terms like “all,” “the rich,” “the poor,” “every,” etc. Those terms serve to generalize millions of people whose lifestyles and life stories do not know. Good political discourse has to be more nuanced.

            I also have to say I appreciate your willingness to discuss the article in the comment section.

          • EABeem

            Please tell me you are not defending execeutive pay as just and fair.
            “Between 1978 and 2014, inflation-adjusted CEO pay increased by almost 1,000%, according to a report released by the Economic Policy Institute. Meanwhile, typical workers in the U.S. saw a pay raise of just 11% during that same period.

            With these increases in mind, it should come as no surprise that the ratio between average American CEO pay and worker pay is now 303-to-1. This ratio is lower than its peak in 2000, when it was 376-to-1, but it’s in excess of the 1965 ratio of 20-to 1.”
            I realize that I generalize. The chief functions of this opinion columns are to 1) promote a progressive view of government and society, 2) give heart to progressives and moderates who cannot believe what conservatives are doing top this once great country and 3) to provoke as many conservatives as possible. I think I do a pretty good job.

          • Jimmy_John67

            So given your thoughts on investment then I am assuming you sold your house in Yarmouth for the exact price you originally paid for it right? If not then I am sure you classified all gains as regular earned income and paid the full federal and state tax rate right? Otherwise you benefitted financially from an investment and didn’t pay your fair share. How selfish of you when there are so many needy people in Maine!

          • EABeem

            Paid my taxes. Sold the house for more than we paid in 1982, but less than we might have gotten because we wanted a family with kids to buy it. Unearned income is a miniscule part of my net worth.

          • Jimmy_John67

            You made over $150K on the sale. You must be quite the 1 percenter if $150K is a minuscule part of your net worth!

            Also safe to say you did not report that $150K+ as regular income like you want other investors to be forced to do. Once again you prove that your “principles” are nothing more then things which should apply to everyone else besides you. Hypocrisy, thy name is Beem.

          • EABeem

            Didn’t make any money selling the house we owned for 32 years. Couldn’t even afford another house in Yarmouth as values had increased so much. Just moved 15 miles north into a house we could afford. You seem to be suggesting that a home is speculative investment.

          • Jimmy_John67

            So you had your home fully leveraged after 32 years? That is some pathetic financial planning on your part. No wonder you couldn’t stay in Yarmouth.

            You think that home values can only increase in value and never decrease and therefore aren’t speculative? That is the exact same view that the Wall Steet executives had whom you profess to despise. Guess you aren’t any different from them deep down.

          • Aliyah33

            So much flip-flopping from one op post to the next. Case in point “…overpaid executives…Like all those Wall St. bankers…destroying the US economy.” written here, yet we’ve communicated back and forth before, EABeem, and about Hillary Clinton, and you didn’t want to hear it. Hillary supported TARP to bail out Wall St., she supported the Keystone pipeline, the death penalty…which you don’t agree with as evidenced by your comments past and present, yet you’re still waving the Hillary flag. Seems Hillary and Wall St. are entwined.

            http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/article/2015/sep/02/11-examples-hillary-clinton-and-bernie-sanders-hol/

            The chief function of your op postings is to “provoke” not provide continuity of opinion. (Granted continuity of opinion’s not listed as one of your chief functions.) Yes, you’re doing a pretty good job at that part.

          • EABeem

            I guess I don’t see anything I have written as flip-flopping, but if it pleases you to think so, by all means, be my guest. I have been confused by your tortured logic before. I have always been opposed to inflated executive pay and in favor of economic justice. I was in favor of TARP because I believed bailing out the banks would save millions of average Americans from ruin. I do not expect candidates I vote for to endorse every position I hold. I have said repeatedly, I will vote for Clinton or Sanders, whichever wins the nomination. The fact that there are Democrats who will not support the D candidate makes me think there are as many stupid Ds as there are stupid Rs.
            As Robert Reich has said: “I’ve known Hillary Clinton since she was 19 years old, and have nothing but respect for her. In my view, she’s the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have. But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change.”
            I think Clinton is the best prepared by experience and temperament to lead this country on day one. Sanders’ views are closer to my own, but I have a hard time believing America will elect a 74 year old Jewish socialist who just became a D this year. That said, I will vote for him if he is the nominee, even though I doubt he can effect the financial reforms and campaign funding reforms he champions.

          • Aliyah33

            My observation is if EABeem doesn’t agree with a point of view, more often than not, it’s labeled instead of refuted with logic…or worse yet, simply removed. Your reply leads me to believe you never even looked at the excellent, concise graphic linked…or perhaps you did but didn’t care for what was shown.

            Robert B. Reich? Being a member of the William Clinton Administration isn’t it logical that he’d having glowing remarks for Hillary? That’s almost like asking your wife for her assessments of you.

            It’s my understanding you believe Democrats should vote only within their party; likewise for Republicans. Again, people who don’t tow the line are “stupid”. Fact is, Independents are increasing in number, perhaps mostly in part because they don’t believe in this thought of towing a party line.

            “By 2015, only 30 percent of voters called themselves Democrats, and only 26 percent identified as Republican. By January 2016, only 29 percent of voters allied with the Democratic Party. Those who call themselves independents now make up 42 to 43 percent of the electorate.Mar 10, 2016”

            Fact remains: Hillary = Wall St., Keystone XL Pipeline, pro death penalty and a lot of other positions you’ve written vehemently against.

          • EABeem

            You rarely seem to understand anything I write. You just go off half-cocked with your own idea about what you think I think. It is not failure to toe the line that is stupid, it is people who say they support Bernie Sanders but will vote for Donald Trump if Hillary is the candidate. That’s just plain dumb. And I don’t see Reich praising Hillary. He’s praising Sanders. Reich endorsed Sanders for heaven’s sake.

            As to positions, I have no trouble with Hillary’s position on the death penalty. I share it. I have no trouble with the death penalty for terrorists.

            “I do not favor abolishing it, however, because I do think there are certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty,” says Clinton, “but I’d like to see those be very limited and rare, as opposed to what we’ve seen in most states.”

            And one of the subjects I have written most vehemently about and taken the most crap for is gun control. Bernie Sanders has voted against meaningful gun control repeatedly in order to stay in office in rural Vermont just as Mike Michaud did to stay in office in rural Maine. I had to hold my nose to vote for Michaud both because of his opposition to gay rights and to gun control and I’ll just have to overlook Bernie’s wrongheadedness on gun control to vote him, which I will do given the chance.

          • Aliyah33

            I do understand what you write, but when we disagree it presses your buttons for some reason, and that’s when I’ve observed the labels…now it’s “half-cocked”. Since about 90% of communication is non-verbal much may be missed on both sides, don’t you think?

            If you look back, we’re in agreement on some issues, and in this latest comment, yes, I agree it’s illogical to vote for someone simply because of an erroneous belief those are the only two options available. We can still write-in candidates (in most States), Mickey Mouse included. Therefore, I don’t believe we’re ever stuck with the perception of only the options given in any circumstance. It’s a choice.

            It’s my understanding (correct me if need be) you’re greatly concerned about the environment, a firm believer in the global Climate Control Agenda, gun control (and I take note you will consider the other side of the issue at times), greatly dislike LePage and generally consider him the greatest cause of problems in Maine, believe the death penalty should be allowed for terrorists, despise Wall St., love babies and dogs…

            However, there’s many others who may believe in some, all, or none of the above. It doesn’t make us half-cocked, stupid, or illogical.

            My memory’s not perfect, but generally I can recall much, sometimes photographically, and you do write comments in other articles and op posts contrary to some of your op posts. Recently, you were very much opposed to the death penalty, in toto. (I couldn’t find your comment, and your account showing all past comments is private – no problem).

            I’m just asking you to consider other points of views, and I provide links to, hopefully, help understanding. Wall St. is a huge scam, the Climate Control Agenda isn’t all it appears to be at the surface (neither are perhaps 99% of politicians), and LePage isn’t all bad nor the sole problem (recent sad and tragic BDN article shows he wanted somewhere’s around $48 million for mental health services, but the Legislature approved only about $16 million). Yes, I agree with most that LePage says much that’s inappropriate…and wrong!

            I learn so much from reading others’ comments in a variety of articles and often it spurs me to do some research. Not much is simple; it’d be naive to think so. Therefore, I question even when you write, “I have no problem with the death penalty for terrorists.” If you truly understood terrorism – who’s using it and for what purposes, you might not repeat that phrase.

            http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/11/the-first-question-to-ask-after-any-terror-attack-was-it-a-false-flag.html

            Thank you for not deleting any more of my comments. 🙂

          • EABeem

            I have no idea what you are talking about. No one pushes my buttons. I like to argue. Most columnists never reply to anonymous commenters. I do because it amuses me and because I believe in what I write. When you start raising the rightwing false flag conspiracy theories, you’ve gone off the rails. Do you think Timothy McVeigh was framed? That the Oklahoma bombings was actually perpetrated by the CIA? That Tsarnaev is just a random Muslim college student framed for the Boston Marathon bombing? Did the government do that one, too? I have no problem with McVeigh or Tsarnaev being executed. Do you? Finally, I do not have the power to delete anyone’s comments and I would not do so if I did.

          • Aliyah33

            You have no idea because, apparently, you’ve not studied much of history.

            You’ll shout peace on earth, but have no idea how the masses are manipulated into wars in order to line the coffers of a few. War’s the oldest game in history, but you’ve not yet figured it out. You’ll shout patriotism from your chair but have nothing in the “game”, nothing to lose.

            I’m curious what your positions were regarding the Vietnam War – did you understand what happened to the USS Liberty, and the Gulf of Tonkin was falsely perpetrated to start the Vietnam War. By the way, that was #18 on the list from that link. Within that article is nothing mentioned of OKC or the Boston Marathon bombing. Therefore, you never even read the link given to you along with all the additional links within, but just wanted people to think you did?

            So, you’re argumentative (I’ll add it to the list, but you’ll write later it was never said by you); well most prefer a debate. Regarding deleting my comment, I doubt what you say because I’ve already mentioned it to you. Definitely, as NSW pointed out earlier, you’re not looking for healthy political discourse, but rather an opportunity to argue. Click bait.

          • EABeem

            Let’s see if you can focus and stay on topic for just a minute. I wrote that I have no problem with the death penalty in cases of terrorism.
            You replied, “I question even when you write, “I have no problem with the death penalty for terrorists.” If you truly understood terrorism – who’s using it and for what purposes, you might not repeat that phrase.” Then you posted a false flag blog link. Some of the items are true. I opposed the war in Vietnam, for instance. But, stay on topic, I was talking about terrorism.
            So I asked if you thought McVeigh and Tsarnaev were framed. They were my examples of terrorists who I believe deserved the death penalty. And you say they weren’t on your copy and paste list, so it’s irrelevant.
            And, once again, I have no idea what you are talking about with regard to deleting comments. Only the Forecaster editor in Falmouth has the ability to delete comments, which as far as I know he only does in cases of obscene or threatening language. I work at home, haven’t been to the Falmouth office in over a year, and do not have the ability or desire to delete comments.

          • Aliyah33

            No, EABeem, you’re the one who doesn’t stay on topic because you’re writing about what’s not even in the link given to you – simply because you didn’t read it. Basically what you’ve done is write about something that’s not even listed in the link to give a false impression you’d read it. You’re not only argumentative, but persist – you lack a close association with the truth.

            It’s fact you greatly vacillate in your points of view and cannot even connect the dots in events, indicative of a lack of critical thinking. Despising Wall St., but not seeing the connections with government overstepping its powers and stealing from all of us, including the lives of our service members (and civilians) is an example of your inability to comprehend. Another example of flip-flopping, you’d endorsed LePage in the past.

            Nothing I’ve written is obscene nor threatening because I don’t write nor speak that way. Trying to give the impression that I’ve done so is also manipulative.

      • Chew H Bird

        Fore more than a decade (1990s plus) I operated a small business in Brunswick that employed more than 20 people. They worked 8 hours a day, received overtime if they worked more than 8 hours in a day (not required by law), had regular holidays, a generous sick day policy (we didn’t want them bringing sickness into the office), and had retirement accounts and health insurance. Lowest pay back then was $15 per hour and most made more than $25.00 per hour.

        Of all the employees, my wife and myself made the lowest of the hourly computed rates when our actual time was factored into the mix. If cash flow was poor we were the ones who went without. Additionally, because we were a sub chapter S corporation, we paid more taxes than any of our employees (although we made less money than they did), because of the way Maine taxes small business owners.

        Our business succeeded for 13 years before we closed it down as we were tired of paying high taxes, making less than our employees, and dealing with employees who wanted even more money to stay with us, (they were receiving higher paying offers from much larger corporations).

        During our time in business, our insurance rates went up every year despite never once filing a claim. Insurance costs rose every year and one employee, who worked part time from another state couldn’t get coverage through our plan because of insurance Maine regulations… The town of Brunswick taxed us on every single piece of furniture, computer, or whatever thing they could find to the point it just was not worth it. I helped the remaining employees find jobs elsewhere, wrote letters of recommendation, and provided what meager bonuses we could manage. Basically, regulations, fees, taxes, insurance, and high payroll costs were the straws that broke our backs.

        • EABeem

          So you worked hard. Did you become financially self-sufficient as a result of all that hard work, as Mr. LePage would have us believe?

          • Chew H Bird

            It took the invention of a new business model (and mostly out of state clients), with partner corporations instead of employees to actually achieve reasonable financial stability. Maine (and Brunswick) regulations, fees, and taxes are so high that I needed to create a non-traditional business model that involves avoiding employees, only requires very limited physical assets, targets clients in more affluent states, and avoids taking ownership (for tax purposes) of purchased products and services.

            While our sitting Governor is making many mistakes and fails to understand basic communication, I will say things are very slightly less burdensome to business but there is a very long way to go.

  • Chew H Bird

    Actually, predatory pricing in the pharmaceutical industry is supported through the concept of dependency and research grants issued by our government. Curing an illness provides no recurring revenue but providing a lifetime supply of drugs at inflated prices is highly profitable.

    The energy industry has been regulated for decades and continues to reward fossil fuel focused solutions through tax breaks and research funding courtesy of the taxpayers through our government.

    I know not all people have the same health care issues, but my insurance costs have risen far greater than my wages and skyrocketed since the affordable care act was instituted and now I have higher deductibles, higher co-pays, and higher percentages of procedures in order to balance our family budget.

    Housing (property) costs perpetually rise along with property taxes, property insurance costs, and expenditures associated with other already mentioned aspects such as heating and electricity, water, and sewer continue to rise.

    Obamacare should have been created within existing government systems instead of trying to integrate commercial entities. Anyone remotely aware of how things work should have seen this coming in regards to the problems that have resulted from the selected implementation.

    That prices rise is nothing new, but blaming the rise on capitalism needs to take into account the added cost burdens associated with government regulation. Some regulation is good, like requiring the third brake light on passenger vehicles (for example), and other regulation, like requiring annual state vehicle inspections, is essentially useless and a profit center for collected fees.

    There is no logical reason for my cell phone bill to fund the library system, except that the added monthly fee was able to be slipped into the bill without much argument. I am all for funding libraries, but I dislike sneaking fees into unrelated activities.

    When a lack of regulation creates a problem something needs oversight. When regulation creates a problem it needs to go away or be revised. Unfortunately, regulation rarely goes away and too often becomes a department or entity that requires more funding than it take in while stifling hard working citizens.

    • EABeem

      I don’t disagree with any of this.

      • Chew H Bird

        I think someplace hot just froze over… J/K.

      • Bowdoin81

        So, you acknowledge the error in this assertion of yours:
        –so-called “free market” capitalism supports predatory pricing for
        things we all need: energy, housing, health care and pharmaceuticals.–
        Those sectors are highly regulated and skewed by public policy intended to serve social justice or protect the planet/land/back yard.

        • EABeem

          Did you miss the quotation marks around “free market?” We have never had a free market. It’s another of those conservative fantasies.

  • Bowdoin81

    Concern for papermakers who lose their jobs due to mill closures is a bipartisan, non-partisan consensus.
    Building on that, let’s do a thought experiment.
    Suppose world market conditions make it attractive to make paper in the USA.
    Now suppose a multi-national firm comes to Maine, finds an undeveloped site, and endeavors to build a brand new, state of the art paper mill there.
    A. Who would roll out the welcome mat?
    B. Who would organize to oppose the development of said industrial project?
    Which team, A or B, has more authentic concern for the displaced workers?

  • funfundvierzig

    “…that Wall Street vampires were able to suck the American economy dry
    because of a failure to regulate financial markets seems to somehow have
    escaped them”. “Them” is embedded, paid-off politicians on both the right and left.

    How does making of 45 minute secret speeches behind the closed doors of fraud-infested Wall Street banks in return for quarter of $1 million payoffs enhance the regulation of out-of-control mega banks? Or pocketing tens of $millions for your eponymous Foundation from shadowy foreign operatives help put the American economy on a sound and level playing field?

    …funfun..

  • jack bauer

    Beem,
    You claim LePage is trying to “undo” Social Security.
    Specific example, please.

    • EABeem

      I guess you missed the 3/21 column:
      “A year ago, I pointed out that LePage’s major offense was refusing federal funds to expand Medicaid. The clock is still ticking on that one. A counter on the Cover Maine Now website has the number at more than $746.5 million as I write this. That’s 69,000 Mainers who are without health insurance simply because the LePage administration has a political objection to Obamacare.

      Under LePage and Mayhew, more than half the families receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families have been cut from the program, and that’s not because they no longer need the assistance. Over the past five years, the percentage of children living in extreme poverty has increased by 50 percent. While food insecurity has decreased in most other states, it has increased more than 10 percent in Maine. The percentage of uninsured Maine children has risen from 4 percent to 6 percent in the past two years. And Maine is the only state in the country that has not increased the percentage of people with health coverage since the Affordable Care Act was passed.

      That is not a record anyone in Maine should be proud of, but LePage and Mayhew apparently are.

      LePage’s refusal to take hundreds of millions of federal dollars to insure tens of thousands of Maine people hurts not only those left uninsured, but it hurts hospitals, too. Funding the ACA was in part predicated on cutting Medicare payments to health-care providers with the promise that they would make up the lost revenue with more Medicaid-insured patients seeking health care. But Maine hospitals lost Medicare revenues without gaining Medicaid patients.”

      • jack bauer

        You’re right. It was my fault, I read your column.
        Whether you’re just an imprecise thinker/writer or just a
        practitioner of deception…it really doesn’t matter.

        • EABeem

          And you were mistaken. I did not say LePage was trying to undo Social Security.

  • peterplus

    Dear Mr. Beem. Let’s make this very simple, shall we? Any business operating in Maine that fails to pay its employees a living wage, which is $15 an hour or whatever the owners of the business live on whichever is the greater number, should be closed down and prohibited from operating in Maine. It doesn’t matter if these businesses are owned by liberals, conservatives, republicans, democrats or independents. Good riddance to them. Let them relocate in Texas, a state that is several rungs below the rest of the country on the evolutionary ladder which makes if a perfect place for Governor Lepage to retire.

  • peterplus

    Here’s my advice to you, Mr. Beem. Write your pieces and then never waste another moment of your time responding to your detractors who in their comments betray their breathtaking ignorance. They are morons. Disciples of intellectual fools named Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. They are the default American white man with pot bellies, plugged into Fox seven hours a day like a dialysis machine. Before the internet was invented the only people who listened to them were their poor wives and kids, and they listened only grudgingly. These are the great, terrified American cowards who sponsored the slaughter of three million innocent people in Vietnam because they were afraid the communists were coming to take away their money and their religion. Now they’re terrified that it will be the Muslims. They are uneducated imbeciles and they should be beneath your notice.

    • EABeem

      I tend to reply as long as people are reasonable. As soon as they descend into insult I ignore them. Thanks.