Letters, April 13, 2017
Less costly future
I submit my opinion in contrast to Tom Seymour's in his column entitled "Maine hammered by artificially high energy costs" (The Republican Journal, April 6).
He agrees with Gov. Paul LePage's negative view of the solar industry in Maine because of its reliance on subsidies that raise the price of electricity and burden taxpayers. This is likely true, though no dollar amounts were given.
But subsidies? There are subsidies woven into Big Business, Big Oil, Big Government, Big Everything.
I agree with Tom when he says that industry should stand on its own, without government contribution. But oil and gas are not our future. Renewable energy industries — particularly solar — should be nurtured and encouraged until they take root. Then subsidies can be eliminated, if that's the government's inclination.
Eventually, it's likely that most of us will drive electric cars. If we plug into an electric grid that is still running on fossil fuels, watch the price of electricity spike. However, if we are parking those electric vehicles in solar collection lots while we're at work or at home, the cost will be low, because the sun is essentially a free source of fuel.
Thomas Jefferson once said, "My money is on the sun. It's the only thing that will last." This, before the mass consumption of fossil fuels.
A more cynical comment was made by my cousin, who said, "If we want solar energy, all we have to do is sell the solar rights to the sun to the oil companies." The fact is, solar energy cuts out the middleman.
It's true that Maine is an expensive state in which to live and do business. But we need to support infrastructure that relies on renewable energy in order to ensure a less costly future.
Join Climate Caucus
Dear Rep. Poliquin,
The U.S. Congress is about to debate current budget proposals. The Environmental Protection Agency is slated to be cut by 31 percent and its climate research funding completely eliminated. The White House insists that saving taxpayers money and beefing up our national security are its main priorities.
It’s relevant, therefore, to assess President Trump's current living/travelexpenses. In his first two months he has cost taxpayers over $100 million for weekend travel and other increased Secret Service security at Mara Lago, the White House, and at Trump Tower, where the Secret Service pays rent.
If his lifestyle/weekend demands continue, he will have spent at least $600 million by the end of this year, at taxpayers’ expense, even as his own tax contribution is questionable because he refuses to release his tax returns.
In contrast, last year's EPA science research budget was $588 million. That means at the end of this year the president might spend well over last year's entire budget for science research at the EPA.
I'm asking you to join the U.S. House's Climate Solutions Caucus. By doing so, you might at last demonstrate commitment to bipartisan support of protecting environmental sustainability, the lack of which, according to the Defense Department's own research since 2003, is one of the most destabilizing dangers in the world today.
I thank the editor of The Republican Journal for publishing earlier letters about the Comprehensive Tax Reform Amendments including last week's "Trumpcare and tax reform" (published March 30).
It's clear that politics in Washington are no better since Donald J. Trump took office. Poison politics and political self-interests still rule as the welfare of ordinary Americans is just a beat-up old hockey puck to be slapped around while the influential get still richer and the rest are ignored.
There needs to be a steep price imposed on such fraud and craziness.
The Comprehensive Tax Reform Amendments was clearly written to throttle poison politics and corruption in Washington. As I then revised my copies of the CTRA in 2016, and again this past March, it sets strict rules for Congress and the president for tax policy and statutory law.
In March, I fine-tuned its Section 2 to set the base income tax rate to just 20 percent, while income from holdings of one year or more are taxed at three-quarters of the base rate. Congress can still adjust the base rate from 10 percent to 25 percent, but that still resets to 20 percent each Jan. 1.
This change benefits every American by encouraging investment and unthrottling America's economic engines. High income taxes have long been known to severely dampen economic activity by tamping down in investments both large and small. High business and corporate taxes are brakes on the economy. Lowering income taxes is like pushing down the accelerator pedal in a fast sports car — it jumps forward ever faster.
Consumption taxes are like the load of a commercial truck — the bigger the load, the slower the acceleration — but you still accelerate. At least until you hit a steep hill. That's where the Federal Reserve's ability to — slightly — alter income tax rates and various interest rates helps regulate economic activity. Again, part of CTRA authority.
The well-to-do always cry about the "redistribution" that progressive income taxes inflict upon them, and I don't blame them for that. But neither should they get special loopholes to avoid taxes. Instead, the CTRA limits all deductions, and imposes two new "consumption" taxes — the minuscule Gross Receipts Tax of just 20 cents on one hundred dollars, and larger retail sales and services (plus imports) tax — the latter also altering the Constitution's Article 1, Sections 9 and 10 to allow states to tax interstate and foreign commerce, legally.
The GRT is not a "redistribution" tax; it is an "equilibration" tax upon each and every financial transaction — without exception or exclusion — thus its tiny, minuscule rate limited to five cents to five dollars on a thousand dollars. All legal American citizens benefit equally while everyone pays equally.
Carefully read the full text of the CTRA as revised in 2017. I hope the newspaper will publish a carefully proofed typeset copy of it for you to read in full. It will never get ratified by the states unless the voters demand it. Really demand it. So decide it for yourselves and pass it along. Whitehouse.gov has a "petition" website.
Randall B. Hofland
Maine State Prison
Don't mess with Mother
Like other citizens, I awake these morning to wonder what astonishments the daily news will present. Ever since the November election I have felt like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole into an alternative universe: the admirable Hilary Clinton should be in jail, not the State Department; Vladimir Putin is a strong leader whose thuggish tactics are just what we need; President Obama, who bailed us out of the bankers-caused recession, is "weak" and not to be trusted; and most astonishing of all, global warming is probably not caused by the burning of fossil fuels; at least "scientists disagree about the environmental impacts of the combustion of fossil fuels on the global climate."
So certain are the Trumpian deniers of this alternative thesis that they, dressed as Breitbart's "Heartland Freedom Institute," have sent books and films proclaiming the news to our nation's science teachers, including some in Maine. I feel like I've swallowed some wacky pills.
But then I come to my senses. They can't mess with Mother Earth, and science teachers are truth-tellers who won't be bullied by bull-ers. Mother Earth is way tougher and wiser than any oil salesman or any hotel tycoon. She is telling us very clearly that we need to change our ways, and respectable scientists agree with her.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, global warming is the result of the greenhouse effect, which causes the planet to get hotter and is primarily the result of burning fossil fuels. No doubt. Unless we learn to adopt new sources of energy, our planet will heat up, Mother Earth will suffer, and we just may be toast.
So I'm grateful to have read in a subsequent article that most teachers were deciding to use the "Heartland" gifts as means of teaching students to be bull detectors. I can rest assured that my grandchildren will not be brainwashed at school, and I can turn the heat down and share my respect for our common Mother with them.
Two out of three
On Feb. 22, I sent the following message to Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Rep. Bruce Poliquin, through their respective websites:
President Trump has repeatedly made claims of widespread voter fraud in the November election, claiming among other things that thousands of people were bused into New Hampshire to vote illegally. I have the following questions:
1. Is this a flat-out lie? If not, where is the supporting evidence?
2. If it is a lie, do you believe that the news media have a responsibility to expose it as such?
3. Do you believe that lies of this kind are a threat to our democracy?
4. Do you believe that you have a responsibility to speak out against lies of this kind?
I await your reply.
I have received responses from Sens. Collins and King indicating that they share my concerns. I followed up my message to Rep. Poliquin with several calls to his Washington office. Each time I was promised that he would answer my questions. No such answers have been forthcoming.