Letters to the Portland Phoenix editors, September 14, 2012
TRADE SEARCH OR JUNKET?
Isn't it wonderful that the government that has cut every human-services program it can and has filed a lawsuit against the federal government to further cut MaineCare and health programs for fellow citizens has somehow now found the capital to send a group of political lackeys on a sell-Maine-business junket to China?
Why must the government be paying to promote business for the state overseas when the businesses should be taking the initiative and saving the governor's so-called massive budget deficit?
How many millions will this bleed from the state coffers at the expense of millions of Mainers trying to get by, as this vulture called a governor can only think of trickle-up programs and corporate welfare?
As anyone who has worked in business or industry might understand, there is no one better qualified to promote business in foreign countries than the representatives of those industries themselves. Rather than do that and get professional representation overseas, they've found they can serve two purposes at the same time: Send a so-called trade panel made up of political yes-men and reward fellow political hacks.
Do they really think anything will come of it other than elbow-rubbing with Chinese elite at six-star hotels and entertainment centers? These are the same people who harassed the former housing panel for staying at bed-and-breakfasts for business conferences and housing meetings. There are other ways to promote Maine as a business climate for overseas clients, such as Internet communication ventures in marketing and advertising, selling Maine business ads on Chinese TV, and of course letting businesses do their own advance work.
In a time when the government has initiated ruthless, callous, and imbalanced cuts on programs on the lower financial end of the social spectrum, it should come as no surprise to anyone as you just how the money saved is spent. This is not all that different from the ventures of the TARP bailout on Wall Street who then went on vacation junkets to Vegas and other places with taxpayers' bailout money, along with ensuring bonuses and pay raises.
No one who knows the extent of government fiscal problems can fully understand what the true challenge is to officials, but open and flagrantly lucrative unexplained foreign travel ventures combined with failure to cut at the executive level sell a pretty sour image of government.
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