Mess inside the beltway

Rep. Paul Ryan’s smiling face on the Wednesday paper’s front page expresses his personal joy with passage of the Republicans’ mammoth tax bill. In spite of the secretive, fast, messy legislative process that produced the new tax code, he’s smiling!

To give him credit, that big smile must be because new the federal government will be — at last! — forced to live with less money coming in. I don’t put him in the category of Republicans who aimed only to flex the party’s muscle.

Sen. Susan Collins’ role in the whole thing is less clear. She made a half-hearted effort to save a few tax breaks for some Mainers. But where was a strong call to protect her state’s rural hospitals and lunch programs for kids?

Mainers’ worry about and mistrust of Washington will probably continue, after a frantic two months.

Luckily, Maine has good humorists happy to help us laugh at the legislative mess inside the beltway.

Robb Cook

Perry

Republican Party doesn’t deserve Collins

Sen. Susan Collins has worked very hard over these many years to represent Maine’s interest at the national level, but now it is time for her to make her biggest impact.

She must leave the Republican Party.

I don’t say this flippantly, and I don’t think she should become a Democrat, but I think it is clear to everyone watching that the Republican Party has left her. This became abundantly clear when the Republican National Committee endorsed and began sending money to Roy Moore, an alleged child molester.

Her party has gone off the rails.

There are many other areas in which her party has left her, but I wonder why she hasn’t left it?

Can Collins honestly say she represents the values of a group of people who would support a man who is accused of molesting teenage girls? Can she honestly say she agrees with the values of a party that nominated, and elected as president, a man who has been accused by at least 14 women of sexual harassment or assault?

By standing with her party she is at best condoning the actions of these monsters, and at worst, encouraging their behavior in others.

These values aren’t Maine’s values, and I don’t think they are her’s either.

It is time for Collins to show she still has the independent spirit of Maine inside her. Leave the Republican Party. They don’t deserve her anyway.

Richard Leone

Old Orchard Beach

Dark money tried to sway Maine on tax bill

For weeks, while Senate Republicans debated whose taxes to cut and when to pass the tax bill, the airwaves and newspapers of Maine were flooded with ads urging Mainers to call Sen. Susan Collins to thank her for supporting the tax cuts. Presumably, the goal was to make sure she “feels the Trump burn” and support the bill’s final passage.

But who was behind this flood of support for Collins? Who funded these ads claiming the tax legislation is great for “Maine’s families”? The ads themselves are not that informative. In large type they suggest a group called the “Middle Class Project” is behind them. A check of that website only shows that it is an organization promoting tax cuts, which is funded by something called the 45Committee. A check of the 45Committee website reveals that it was founded in 2015 to support tax cuts and help the 45th president of the United States.

To find out more, one has to further Google the 45Committee. The website Dark Money discloses that the 45 Committee is based in Herndon, Virginia, and was founded as an anti-Clinton group by the Ricketts family who own the Chicago Cubs. Other donors include Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson.

Once again, fabulously wealthy monied interests from outside the state — as happened with the recent casino referendum vote — are trying to convince Mainers that what is good for the rich, is good for Mainers.

Richard Kessler

Bath

Disappointed with tax bill

It is with great disappointment that I draft this note. As a small businessman trying to make a go of it in midcoast Maine, I am acutely aware of the effects of federal tax policy on my bottom line. I suppose I should be very happy that, as a small “pass-through” LLC, the “tax reform” bill will allow me to take an additional 23 percent deduction in my income taxes.

The truth is, I am almost sick with anxiety about the real, long-term effects of this tax bill on my friends and neighbors. While large corporations and wealthy investors in the 1 percent get a huge, permanent tax break, employees of small businesses, like mine, and most of the middle class, will soon actually be paying more in income taxes and, unlike corporations and the 1 percent, lose any meager benefits they might be entitled to in just a few years.

Almost all economists have concluded that the tax bill will add about $1.4 trillion to our national debt. So much for Republicans as deficit hawks.

I am especially disappointed in Sen. Susan Collins, since when push came to shove during the effort to kill the Affordable Care Act, Collins showed some commendable backbone and voted for the interests of her fellow Mainers. Unfortunately, not so much this time.

At times like this, it is important to remember the golden rule: Them’s that has the gold makes rules. So it has always been, and so it will always will be, unless we stand up and change the status quo.

Seth Hall

Waldoboro

Nothing wrong with love

All LGBTQ couples know exactly what I’m talking about when I say “the look.” Something so small and apparently harmless is actually representative of a struggle that has lasted for years, decades, even centuries.

We have endured countless glares, stares, comments and avoidances. All for what? For loving someone? In this current political climate, we must do better. We must.

Love is not something worth shame, disgust or fear. Love is beautiful, warm and kind. To all the people who give my girlfriend and me “the look” as we hold hands, I must ask two questions. Since when does love engender disgust? When will you learn to be more like love?

Mallory Mills

Holden