To The Editor:
I pulled up to the gas pump the other day and commenced to fill my gas tank. Ten dollars … twenty dollars … nervously into the 30s, and finally stopping in the mid-40s. I watched others around me anxiously filling the tanks of their vehicles, most carefully stopping at 10 dollars. I looked at their total and looked at mine.
I thought, “Thank God I’m collecting a state pension; otherwise I might not be able to afford a fill-up.” Then I thought, “Instead of saying it with flowers, I’ll say it with gas.” I went home, got my wife’s car and filled the tank.
Thanks to my state pension, I am blessed with an enormous amount of free time. Heading to coffee to meet with my friends I made my daily stop, picking up a couple of scratch tickets and a couple of out-of-town newspapers.
While picking up my papers I noticed a new issue of the Twin City TIMES on the shelf. With great anticipation and excitement I hungered to read the words of the internationally known and celebrated (he’ll tell you so) local superior columnist who calls this paper home. I craved to find out what he had done in the past to make my life and others more comfortable in this greedy, non-caring world. I was not disappointed.
His column spoke about union busting and how he and several others had formed a union. His leadership in the Lewiston Police Union had elevated me and many of my brother and sister officers to a higher level in the pantheon of the working poor.
After coffee, I picked up a few items at the grocery store. I was forced to stand in a long line because my basket exceeded 14 items. While waiting, my attention was drawn to the express line. That line was occupied by elderly people, probably retired workers from one of our long-closed local mills. They waited, too, holding two or three items. When they got to the cashier, they were reduced to counting out change from their pocket. These were the depressed poor.
I then said a little prayer to God, thanking him for the efforts of the TCT’s superior columnist whose past actions had elevated me to the status of the working poor.
Returning home, I turned on the news watching the unrest throughout the world. I thought, “Thank God when I retired I purchased a domestic timeshare and stayed away from the international ones.” I then spitefully pondered buying a boat in order to kill the boredom of sitting around the shore of the lake. This would force the Joneses to try, on their private-sector pension, to keep up with me.
I am however a bit perturbed about freezing our pension Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) for two years, and then limiting them thereafter to two percent. This is going to severely cut into my monthly trip to Hollywood Slots. How much does he want us retirees to sacrifice?
Governor Lepage, please stay the course. Please stabilize the state and the Maine State Retirement System. Your success or failure will determine if I continue on my current gig or if I have to go (gulp) back to work, like many retirees in the private sector.