Conservative to the Core

Maine’s unemployment rate hits all-time low

By Tom Seymour | May 05, 2017

Sometimes good, heartening news gets short shrift in the national media. For instance, Maine’s current unemployment rate should have a long shelf life on national news. But it’s doubtful that many people outside Maine are even aware of the exceptional work done by Maine Gov. Paul LePage and Maine’s Republican leaders.

Maine currently enjoys the lowest unemployment rate since 1976 when such record-keeping began. Our unemployment rate of 3 percent marks a historical low. Better yet, this is not simply a dip in the numbers but rather, an ongoing, steady figure that shows no signs of increasing.

According to Maine GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas, private sector employment stands at an all-time high. Also, and this marks an important milestone, employment in government jobs is also at a historical low.

So, on one hand, we see private sector jobs increasing and, on the other, government positions decreasing. This is as it should be. Of course some government jobs are necessary, but a large proportion are not. In fact, it was always my contention that a great many government and government-funded positions are unnecessary and wasteful. But despite years of proclaiming just that, it was always just a theory.

Positive trend

Now, though, things have changed and the correlation between fewer government jobs and more private sector jobs is undeniable. Consider this. The government does not create wealth, it only confiscates it and redistributes it. Private industry, both large companies and small, mom-and-pop enterprises, stand as the bedrock of wealth creation and that translates to a more comfortable lifestyle for Maine people.

“As Maine goes so goes the nation,” was once a popular slogan. But that slogan had long ago fallen into disuse. Until now. In fact, Maine government under the LePage administration has become a model of how government should operate. Even on the national level we occasionally hear (if we listen very carefully) praise for the so-called “Maine Model.”

President Trump is well aware of how Maine Republicans have taken chaos and turned it into prosperity. It is not only possible but likely that the president will thoroughly examine Maine’s handling of such hot-button topics as welfare, taxes and employment. In the not-too-distant future Maine may well become a national bellwether for better things to come.

While no one can entirely excise the scourge of high taxes and government over-regulation, Gov. LePage has done a remarkable job and has come closer than anyone in recent memory in putting Maine on solid, economic standing.

People’s choice

The new National Monument in northern Maine, ushered in during the final days of the Obama Administration, may soon become a battleground for those who eschew heavy-handed government and those who welcome a dictatorial form of government.

Gov. LePage has decided to ask President Trump to review the case of our new National Monument. No one on either side of the controversy should interpret this as meaning that the governor is trying to undo the new National Monument. Rather, LePage has rightly pointed out that the Monument was instituted despite a majority of public opinion against it.

In other words, it is the method, not the outcome, that LePage wants examined. If, in the end, the same individuals and communities that opposed creation of the monument have changed their minds and now support it, then it will truly become the people’s choice. Ditto for an opposite result.

But either way, our governor has brought a profound controversy to the public eye. That is, the federal government must not arbitrarily confiscate untold acres of land (and also water) without first securing a consensus.

Whether or not Maine’s new National Monument remains in place is irrelevant to the argument. The most important thing now for both Maine and the nation is that freewheeling government intrusion into matters best left to the states will be subject to the highest scrutiny.

It is clear that President Trump has become a leading supporter of state’s rights and with input from Gov. LePage, his future dealings in such matters can be significantly strengthened.

Possible candidates

While no decision has yet been made, Maine Gov. Paul LePage may consider running for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Angus King. At the same time, Sen. Susan Collins has admitted to toying with the idea of running for Maine governor come next election cycle.

At this point in time anything anyone can say about this stands as pure speculation. But with future Sen. LePage representing Maine nationally and current Sen. Susan Collins as governor, more good things could be on the horizon for Maine citizens.

So keep watching the news, because Maine may once again become a prominent national mover.

Tom Seymour is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, book author, naturalist and forager. He lives in Waldo.

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