Welfare reform

I was discouraged to see the April 8 BDN editorial call the Republicans’ welfare reform efforts “silly season.” Last November, we voted for change, and we want it now. The hardworking people of Maine are sick and tired of being taken advantage of. No longer should our taxpayer money be used for booze, cigarettes and bail. It may be legal to use the cash benefits that way, but it’s certainly not moral.

Republicans in the Legislature tried to make common sense reforms last year but were blocked. This year, Republicans are trying again, and will hopefully be more successful. Mainers work very hard to make a living and can’t afford to foot the bill for someone else’s partying. I am grateful that welfare reform proposals have come back and think they are anything but “silly.”

How is it silly to encourage someone to become independent? When did it become silly to learn new skills and support your family? Why is it silly to make sure benefits go to those who most need it? Every welfare dollar that is spent on booze could have been used to buy milk for children. I don’t think it is silly, and neither do most Mainers.

Lee Jackson

Old Town

Why carry a gun?

It is heartwarming that Paul Newlin of Deer Isle believes we can all give up all of our handguns. He asked in his April 16 BDN letter to the editor why do “responsible gun owners…feel the necessity to carry guns?” Deer Isle must be a very safe place, indeed. It is obvious that he isn’t aware of the numerous reports appearing daily of meth labs, drug busts and home invasions. These reports are becoming more frequent and more violent.

I used to live in a major Midwestern city. My home was burglarized twice, once while my wife, our two infant sons and I slept, and the second time while my wife was home alone. Both times we were fortunate and the burglar fled before doing any damage. Also, I was mugged twice, once by a man who showed the butt of his gun and the second time by a pipe-wielding gangbanger.

In all these cases, the felons had no fear of being confronted by a responsible gun owner because it was against the law to own a handgun and all long-guns had to be registered with the police (after having passed a lengthy background check).

Maine isn’t at the place where that city was (and seems to be again). There, no felon needed to fear anyone except another felon. Here, that felon knows there is a good chance the homeowner or pedestrian might pose a serious threat to his or her lawless ways.

William Chapman


Radical anti-hunter

A radical sportsman would like to respond to John Glowa Sr.’s April 15 BDN letter to the editor. Glowa seems surprised that hunters would band together to preserve a heritage that has come under attack from those like him.

Glowa is under the impression that radical sportsmen have muscled him out of the system and wildlife opportunities as well. He bemoans the meager monetary contributions sportsmen make to the state as compared to nonconsumptive users of wildlife.

He wants to talk about the 90 percent of the population that does not hunt and insists their position take a priority to other interests. News flash for Glowa, it already does.

Almost in direct proportion to his 90/10 percentages is what sportsmen spend afield during the course of a year (October/November) and roughly 10 percent of the deer, bear and moose population are taken by sportsmen on an annual basis.

What representation is he lacking? He is a radical anti-hunter in my view.

Mark Torrey


Estate tax vote

The vote last week to eliminate estate taxes on the top estates in this country is another slap in the face to working Mainers. My congressman, Bruce Poliquin, voted in favor of this, which will only add to the deficit and is 180 degrees in opposition to the founding principles of this country to not create a permanent aristocracy.

Woe to Mainers who don’t remember this the next time Poliquin comes to ask for our vote. This deficit contributing bill has no reduction in spending allocated to it. Where are the cries of “how are we going to pay for that?” The “cut taxes and pray” strategy has proven to not create jobs, just deficits.

Sadly, it appears that Poliquin has become ensnared in the glamour of Washington politics because there can be no other conceivable reason for this vote other than to curry favor with party ideologues.

Eric Treworgy


Cost of wind power

If some people still think the opponents of wind power are a misguided minority, they should read Randy Simmons’ April 11 Newsweek opinion article about wind power. He is a professor of political economy at Utah State, who receives funding for his studies from the U.S. Department of Energy.

He writes that “as consumers, we pay for electricity twice: once through our monthly electricity bill and a second time through taxes that finance massive subsidies for inefficient wind and other energy producers.”

He argues that “the high costs of federal subsidies and state mandates for wind power have not paid off for the American public.”

Furthermore, “over the past 35 years, wind energy — which supplied just 4.4 percent of U.S. electricity in 2014 — has received $30 billion in federal subsidies and grants. These subsidies shield people from the uncomfortable truth of just how much wind power actually costs and transfer money from average taxpayers to wealthy wind farm owners, many of which are units of foreign companies.”

Meanwhile, Simmons writes that “President Obama’s proposed 2016 budget would permanently extend the biggest federal subsidy for wind power, the Production Tax Credit, ensuring that large foreign companies continue to reap most of the taxpayer-funded benefits for wind.”

Right here in Maine, state Rep. Larry Dunphy, an Embden Republican, has sponsored a bill that would require that any proposed wind power developments within the so-called “expedited permitting area” be subject to a public hearing. Watch the wind lobby scurry around Augusta trying to block it.

Jack Gagnonuck