Letters to the Portland Editor, February 24, 2006

Readers fire back on the issues of oppression of the poor and elderly, Governor Baldacci's re-election plan, and Woody Allen's Match Point
By LETTERS TO THE PORTLAND EDITOR  |  February 23, 2006

Burning money
Lance Tapley is my hero. He has the guts to reveal the stories of the abuse and oppression of the poor, disabled and elderly once again. (See "Burning Money," February 17.)

He tells the truth when he writes: “poor, elderly people do not have much political influence. By contrast, oil dealers are not poor, they often are pillars of their community, they collectively employ thousands of workers, and sometimes contribute to political campaigns.”

America is NOT the land of equal opportunity for all. I found that out when after years of working, I became disabled. America is becoming a mecca for corporations in search of riches at the expense of the poor. The poor, disabled, and elderly are THE OPPRESSED people of the 2000s. Without political clout, the poor seem doomed. In our country, only money talks.

Take for example the Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Is there a reason they are so complicated? Seniors are having to dole out money that they haven’t before, and their incomes are not getting any bigger. Is it within the free-trade laws that the government has now blocked access to drugs from Canada? The Part D plan is a disgrace. It is an abuse of our seniors and disabled in order to benefit, once again, the large, powerful, insurance and drug companies (who contribute to political campaigns). The news reports say that the drug companies and oil companies will be looking at record profits this year. Where do the profits go? Into executives’ million-dollar homes and political campaigns.

We need more reporters like Mr. Tapley who are willing to go deeper into the stories of greed, abuse and oppression. And a thank you to Dale McCormick who at least has the guts to fight for what’s fair and just. You may not get many contributions but you have my vote! It’s time for the poor and disabled to claim our power (there’s power in numbers), and insist on the equality and standard of living that our country (supposedly) stands for.

You’ll see me on election day at Preble Street Resource Center, offering rides and incentives to those willing to vote. And I will continue to write to Tom [Allen], Susan [Collins], and Olympia [Snowe], even though Tom is the only one who writes me back.

Arin Quintel
Portland

Baldacci’s re-election plan
Thanks to Lance Tapley for making a complex issue understandable (see “Baldacci’s Re-election Plan,” January 20). He tells us that Baldacci wants to get rid of a business equipment tax. A gift to corporations? Not really. Because corporations were getting reimbursed through two corporate welfare programs called “Tax Increment Financing” (municipal) and “Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement” (state). In some cases, corporations could “double dip” and get back more taxes than they paid in.

Unlike human welfare programs, these corporate welfare programs promised checks up to 12 years in the future. Tapley rightfully points out that municipalities will get stuck paying the corporate welfare bill. Too bad. Corporate welfare is a bad idea to begin with.

William Peirce
Kittery

Power point
For the serious Christian filmgoer — I trust we don’t find the phrase an oxymoron — who can take his eyes off Scarlett Johansson’s unbeautiful but sexy 12-foot face on the silver screen, Match Point offers something quite wonderful. (See "Power Point," by Gary Susman, February 3.)

Critics of the theologian Karl Barth coined the phrase “positivism of the Word of God” — the Word here, not a book but a specific man who exists always and everywhere and in all as a contemporary.

What Match Point offers is a driving emptiness.

George Koski
Westbrook

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