Republican tax scam

The Republican “tax reform” scam that was rammed through Congress with only Republican input, no public hearings and no transparency would add more than a trillion dollars to the national debt while setting up drastic cuts to public investment in infrastructure, scientific research, skills training and core government agencies defending the public interest.

This plan is deeply unpopular with struggling working- and middle-class Americans who do not believe that the way to help them is to give corporations and Wall Street fat cats another huge tax cut. Posterity will not forgive Sen. Susan Collins and her Republican cohorts for this betrayal of the American dream.

Phil Locke

Cianchette’s ‘humor’

I am writing to let you know how much I enjoyed the BDN’s new comedy writer, a fellow by the name of Michael Cianchette, whose column I’ve never read before. From the title, ” We need more real men, like Paul LePage,” to the end, Cianchette had me convulsed in laughter, tears streaming down my face.

Some of his better lines were when he equated Gov. Paul LePage with a real man who accepts responsibility for choices, is a good person, and is not a bully. He then doubled down on his droll humor by suggesting that a way forward for our country was to offer the 10 million men missing from the workforce, not a living wage that would allow them to support a family, but instead a $30,000 to $40,000 a year job and marriage to a woman making the same amount.

Cianchette’s final stroke of comedic genius was his suggestion that $10 an hour at 30 hours a week would entice 5 million more men into the workforce. Let’s run the numbers on that one. At $300 a week minus the Social Security and Medicare deduction, federal and state income taxes leaves take home pay of around $240 a week. Subtract $100 a week for a reliable car, fuel, maintenance and insurance, and you’re down to $140 a week.

The 10 million currently not in the workforce have already made this calculation and maybe they haven’t found the right woman. They realize they can make more money running a couple of loads of junk to the scrap yard and doing odd jobs than by entering the workforce.

Greg Harriman

Stop ignoring climate change

This month and three years ago, Maine suffered from frigid, polar winds caused by changes in the polar vortex. Cold Arctic air dipped down much further south than usual and froze pipes and doubled energy bills here. There is still some scientific debate about this, but climate scientists suspect that climate change is causing these extreme cold events.

A polar vortex is an incursion of frigid, surface air from the North Pole into the United States. It is influenced by the jet stream, which is a fast, high-altitude wind that used to circle tightly around the pole in the past, because of the extreme difference in temperature between the equator and the North Pole. But Arctic ice is fast disappearing and sunlight being absorbed by the newly exposed ocean has caused temperatures in the Arctic to rise dramatically. The resulting decrease in temperature differential is causing the jet stream to dip down south, bringing the cold, polar vortex air with it.

This means that we are likely to get many more polar, frigid spells in the future. The more our climate warms, the more surprises we run into, and some of them are not pleasant — more polar vortexes, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and flooding, and stronger hurricanes and tornadoes.

Maybe it is time that we insist that our politicians stop ignoring these risks, and do something about it.

Richard Thomas