To the Editor:
After reading Sen. Lois Snowe-Mello’s recent editorial in the Twin City TIMES, I feel compelled to respond to its claims and assertions. (“Legislature Adjourns after Enacting Historic Reforms,” page 3, June 21, 2012)
Her logic is often misleading, if not outright wrong. The three areas I’d specifically like to address are taxes, social services and healthcare. On each front, the senator has painted an inaccurate and often unfair picture.
Senator Snowe-Mello implicitly claims that lowering taxes for the bottom 70,000 income earners will restore future prosperity. That can’t possibly be true. Why? The 136,000 lowest-income households will realize an average income tax savings of $1. Under no conditions will having an extra dollar in your pocket yield better results for the economy.
Instead, the most important fact about the tax cuts is that the top 6,800 households, families making $366,000 or more, will realize an average income tax savings of $21,638. Let’s not pretend that helping the most successful among us somehow helps the least fortunate among us; all it does is amplify income inequality and class tensions.
According to Senator Snowe-Mello, recent health reforms here in Maine make healthcare more affordable and more available. That’s true for our 23-year-old intern in Portland. But for most of us who are older and live in more rural areas and might not be as healthy as he is, that is most certainly not the case. Elderly people have reported five-fold increases, and one small business in Presque Isle said their healthcare costs have gone up by ninety percent.
Let’s not pretend that allowing healthcare companies to seek out young, urban people at the expense of everybody else benefits us all; it doesn’t.
The logic Senator Snowe-Mello presents for reducing social services is also terribly disingenuous. By lowering our expenditures on social services, that somehow increases the benefits received by those who use social services. Huh? Yeah, exactly.
She, in theory, is trying to say that by cutting costs, we strengthen the system as a whole, thus securing the most essential parts of what our social services has to offer. But that isn’t what happens. What happens instead is that our social services become weakened; those who need them will now receive fewer of their benefits. Let’s not pretend that subtraction is addition because it’s not.
If we’re going to preserve the integrity and honesty of our politics here in Maine, we have to make sure that inaccuracies are rebutted and specious claims refuted.
Senator Margaret Craven