Letters, 12/27

Dec 27, 2012

Join the circle of resistance

Many mid-coast citizens have grave concerns about the ethics and integrity of DCP Midstream. As revealed at the public hearings in November, DCP has misled the public in their claims of an unblemished safety record; their modus operandi appears to be to pollute and simply pay the fines. How can the Searsport Planning Board overlook the research presented at the hearings, and published recently in the BDN opinion piece, “Will DCP Midstream endanger public for corporate profit?”

In addition, are Searsport residents aware of the poor air quality that already threatens the health of all of Searsport's school children? As noted in the USA Today study, “The Smokestack Effect: Toxic Air and America’s Schools," Searsport's air quality receives a very poor rating among the 127,800 districts that were designated “toxic hot spots” due to industrial pollution. Specifically identified in the report are likely lung irritants and carcinogenic contaminants from GAC and the Searsport Terminal.

If you are concerned about this project, get involved now. Join the circle of resistance II at Mosman Park in Searsport on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 1 p.m., on the eve of the final round of public hearings on this controversial project. Everyone, especially Searsport citizens, are invited to participate in this dramatic, one-hour event to witness or be a part of the "human chain" to map the 202-ft diameter, representing the actual size footprint of DCP’s proposed 23 million gallon LPG tank. See just how big the proposed tank’s footprint would be.

Maryjean Crowe

Belfast

Preserve Vacationland

I write to you on the eve of the winter solstice to express the urgent need for intelligent decision making about environmental stewardship in Maine. A mammoth liquid propane gas tank at the edge of Searsport harbor is the very essence of folly at this point in history. The risks involved for the many are wildly out of proportion to the benefits that might be enjoyed, in the form of profits, by a very few.

The world's people are experiencing unprecedented weather events and temperature extremes, and these trends appear to be accelerating. Now is the time to pull back from ruinous policies involving the extraction, transport, storage and combustion of fossil fuels. Developments of the first decade of the 21st century have shown the dangers of continuing on the path of non-renewable fuels, the use of which involves great costs. Also, largely as the result of fossil fuel burning, coastal areas such as Searsport are already subject to sea levels rising, and this trend is expected to continue unless sustainable energy sources are rapidly substituted for antiquated petroleum products.

Maine was Vacationland when I was born here in 1956. Its fish and wildlife flourished, and both the sea and bodies of fresh water were famously beautiful. Decades of pollution have resulted in acid rain, unhealthy rivers and ponds, and even poor air quality. Visitors are now advised to eat no fish from Maine waters if they are pregnant; nor are small children advised to eat what I remember as the spectacularly delicious rainbow trout from my own childhood. What have we come to?

This area cannot take the risk of a gas tank that, in the best scenario, will cause pollution from trucks and more fossil fuel burning, and in the worst case could cause a disaster the likes of towering inferno. We both know that is no exaggeration. Examine one of the many gas explosions like the one in West Virginia this month and you will know why the majority of people in Searsport, the surrounding communities, and the rest of Maine are strongly opposed to the tank proposal.

Consider carefully what your legacy will be to future generations in Maine.

Lisa Savage

Solon

Will raising taxes work?

The idea of raising taxes on the very rich is always a popular one with the public, but even if it happens — and it probably won’t — it may not work out the way that you hoped. I used to work for a man who owned a dealership for little Japanese cars just when they were starting to get popular, thanks to the gas crunch in America. To his surprise, he started making more than a million dollars a year in personal income. But what gave him the most pride was that — “thanks to a very good accountant” — he did not pay a single penny in taxes, and he even used to brag to his employees about it.

Here are the statistics:

1, According to Business Insider magazine, in 2011, some 7,000 millionaires paid NOTHING in federal income tax. Some 491,000 Americans who made more than $100,00 a year paid no federal income tax.

2. How many members of Congress — the ones who are supposed to approve this “tax the rich” bill — are millionaires? According to ABC News, the figure is 47-percent.

You do the math. How likely are we to see a “tax the rich” bill when it has to be approved by a bunch of millionaires, and even if one passes, how likely are the millionaires and billionaires to pay it? Just ask Mitt Romney for the answer.

I have come to the conclusion that it is only a few people, such at Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and perhaps Michael Bloomberg, who genuinely think that the rich should be taxed more. The rest of us are left holding the real bill.

A couple of hundred years ago, “Les Miserables” in France may have had the only answer:

Off with their heads.

Stephen Allen

Belfast

Thank you from Aqua Terra Farm

The Brooks Farmers Market held its last open market Dec. 22. Aqua Terra Farm was fortunate to participate, and we wish to express our appreciation to those who attended to learn about products, to buy them and to socialize with vendors and other customers alike.

These markets are their own reward for the hard work that goes into farming. We hope to see old friends and new when the market opens outdoors in the spring.

Ed and Molly Hamel

Aqua Terra Farm, Jackson

End the tax system as we know it

Why a new tax code? Simple -- the old on is broken adn corrupted. There are thousands, if not millions, of secret tax loopholes and shelters hidden away in the filing cabinets of tax attorneys and the IRS. All uniquely designed to reduce or eliminate someone's taxes. And increase yours.

There is only one way to fix this mess, and it isn't by raising tax rates or cutting exemptions and deductions. Kill the tax code!

High taxes kill economic vitality, plus encourage avoidance and cheating. So do unfair or punitive tax policies. Thus, "sin" taxes harm sales of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, but also spawn tax avoidance schemes. Those high taxes -- mostly hidden -- are much of the final price you pay.

Total economic flux (TEF) is the gross real economic activity down to the last penny spent on anything and everything. That includes tangible economic activity, such as sales, taxes and fees paid, imports and exports, payrolls and benefits, and other obvious financial transactions. But it also includes the creation of new commodities, physical and financial (such as stock options).

Anything money is, or can be, spent on or derived from is economic flux, including contractual obligations. No exceptions or exemptions. None!

TEF is not a traditional economic concept, but is a very real fact. TEF is both a local phenomenon, as well as regional, national and international. It includes the visible as well as the hidden economic activity, such as the underground cash economy. Every little bit of it. Huge!

The total economic flux of major commerce centers in America is each huge on their own. Wall Street's stock exchanges alone make billions of dollars in trades and other commerce during every business day. Every business day!

This flux creates jobs and taxable incomes, investments and consumption. Taxes impede the flux and move it elsewhere. Current tax policies discourage investments and spending, plus massive waste of financial resources on accountants and tax specialists, not to mention political lobbying. Who benefits? Not you!

Ponder a simple income tax system with a flat 25 percent tax on net income after simple, uncomplicated deductions. For individuals, let's say the "poverty income" deduction setpoint is $15,000. A married couple with two children could, under my proposed income tax system, earn over $30,000 before paying any tax, and potentially $60,000 before paying income taxes. if using all allowed deductions except charitable deductions, they wold pay an actual tax of $10,000 on a gross income of $100,000 (10 percent), $35,000 on $200,000 (17.5 percent), or $235,000 on $1,000,000 (23.5 percent). Is that not simple, fair and equitable?

The Social Security system has been, from its very beginnings, just a legalized Ponzi scheme doomed to failure. It cannot be fixed!

The total economic flux of the American economy is so large that even a 0.25 percent gross receipts tax on it would likely garner well over $1 trillion each year, and possibly much more. that would create proposed annual trust fund distributions of hundreds or even thousands of dollars into each of the beneficiary savings accounts for individuals. Compounded growth on those and other contributions over many years would provide retirement nest eggs, plus fund other expenses. This is not a Ponzi scheme.

A small national sales tax could add to the general funds, state and federal. But never forget how high taxes damage both the economy and ethos. Many small taxes is better than a few big taxes.

Remember what those taxes would fund. The proposed gross receipts tax system feeds dedicated savings accounts for every citizen. It also funds the states' National Guards, a national university system, plus "UniCare," a universal health maintenance system to be run by the states.

UniCare provides the administrative framework for any supplemental coverage while ensuring preventive health care for all citizens, this including comprehensive prescription drug programs and routine vaccinations. Individuals, families and employers could add expanded coverage with ease, both dental and medical.

Politics is increasingly destructive to the nation as a whole. This is dangerous. Change is essential. A carefully structured tax system mandated by the Constitution can cure some of these ills. But our government is irreparable as it stands today.

Stupid is as stupid does or allows to be. Acquiesce to it, and you are to blame.

Randall Hofland

Maine State Prison

Warren

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