Taking hold and letting go: What’s next?

By Reade Brower | Mar 28, 2019

The Mueller Report is out and no proof of collusion. With the obstruction of justice charge found to be “not definitive,” its future is left in the hands of the attorney general and perhaps Congress to sort out.

Where to go from here; the answer lies somewhere between “let it go” and “let Congress finish the  job.”

What is interesting is the people who want to “let it go” are the same talking heads who still talk about reviving “crooked Hillary” investigations into Benghazi and her email.

The hypocrisy continues in Congress and in the Senate where the same representatives who said enough when the Clinton investigation was over, don’t want to do the same with Trump.

A brazened Trump is trying to turn the tables wanting to investigate the investigators; another diversion. In the next breath (tweet), he tells us this has been awful for our country and distracted us from his work on “making America great” again, yet he continues beating the drum that the investigation was a witch hunt and those conducting it treasonous.

Round and round we go; for what?

To get to the finish line, we need the report shown to the taxpayers who paid for it. After Trump (before the report came out) repeatedly said he had no qualms with it being public, now Mitch McConnell leads an effort to block that. It is not unreasonable for the attorney general to take a little time to redact sensitive information affecting national security, but transparency should be the goal.

If Trump would show us his income taxes, that would also answer a lot of the questions regarding whether he has ties to foreign entities and allow us to move on.

There is not enough interest in truth; both sides politicize this and make it about something it shouldn’t be about — politics.

We need to be fixing immigration and health care; this is the best way to move forward. If the report merits more investigation, so be it. If it doesn’t, let it go and get to the finish line on the issues with focus on the long-term health of our economy and how can we eliminate the debt and deficit so we don’t burden our children and grandchildren with a day of reckoning. Perhaps climate change, too.

Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” — Flannery O’Connor, writer (1925-1964)

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In Rockland, there is a movement to up the minimum wage from $11 to $15 an hour.

Becca Shaw Glaser and Nathan Kroms Davis wrote a column in last week’s Free Press extolling the virtues, but their logic on how to pay for it fell short.

The concern is Maine’s $11 current minimum wage is already far above the federal level of $7.25. To have a minimum wage more than double the federal level is too much, too fast. They also want to add an “Amazon Clause” that would not allow companies to cut back hours (the way Amazon did when they got cornered into a $15 minimum wage).

That’s a lot of legislation, and to believe businesses can pay for that out of current profits is left-field thinking; have Becca or Nate owned a business with 15 or more employees? Do they understand “money doesn’t grow on trees”? Do they understand that paying 40-plus percent more for labor will increase prices, setting up inflation that could derail the economy? Do they assume, like many, that all business owners are rich and profits abundant?

From this perch, that isn’t so. To think money will “pour back into the local economy” is naïve in the sense that it won’t be enough to support a 40-plus percent increase in the minimum wage. The reality is businesses must cut back or raise pricing; neither is good for the long-run.

Becca and Nate quote retail sales of $427 million, a 3.3 percent increase year-over-year, as their basis for this increase. Think about it; 3.3 percent increase (about half of that relates to inflation) in sales equals a 40 plus percent increase in a minimum wage that has already been bumped 40 percent the last two years. That is “new math” and “bad math”.

Most business owners understand and respect their employees, and want them to share in the business’s success. This happens through raises and bonuses, not through regulations.

Becca and Nate are right about the need to lessen the gap between the “haves” and “have nots.” Yes, $24,000 a year is the working poor, and we need to continue to build on the $11-an-hour minimum wage.

The solution comes with tax breaks (no federal or state tax to individuals making minimum wage), paid for by those who can afford it. Tax excess profits and excess wealth.

That isn’t about redistribution, it is about fairness.

Our shouting is louder than our actions, / Our swords are taller than us, / This is our tragedy. / In short / We wear the cape of civilization / But our souls live in the Stone Age.” — Nizar Qabbani, poet, diplomat (1923-1998)

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