Yesterday, my energy was sidelined by this FaceBook Discussion in which I replied to this post by Candidate for State Representative Beth O'Conner with the question :Can you explain how Governor Lepage took 70 thousand of our lowest income workers off the tax rolls so they can better support their families?
Beth O'Conner: To the editor: I am responding to “Wrong Camp” 9/11/14 by Rebecca Hopper. First, thank you Rebecca for your willingness to use your first amendment rights and the right to go out and vote as a citizen of our beautiful state. Second, there are a few mistakes in the numbers you sighted regarding Medicaid expansion. There would not have been a savings of $570 million.
The administrative costs alone in this expansion would have cost the taxpayers in excess of 7 million dollars annually and by the 2020 -2021 biennial budget the taxpayers will have to pay an additional 150 million dollars. The federal government offers incentives that sound great but in reality, Maine has already traveled this path. We were promised a 90% Federal match during the Baldacci Administration and that promise now sits at 62%. Our costs have soared about 250% in a decade.
The panacea of promises to help our neediest citizens has been a failure. Over 3000 physically and intellectually disabled who have been given section 21 and 29 waivers are on wait lists for services they had been promised. The expansion would have ensured thousands of able bodied adults go to the front of the line and raise our taxes in doing so. That does not sit well with me.
Yes, Rebecca I do support Governor LePage. He has paid the hospitals the 750 million owed them, thus allowing them to offer better care and keep their employees working. Our unemployment numbers are dropping and thousands of new jobs have been created on his watch. The icing on the cake was taking 70 thousand of our lowest income workers right off the tax rolls so they can better support themselves and their families. Our Governor may be rough around the edges, but actions speak louder than words in my book and his actions are working.
Yes, Rebecca I do have ideological stances. They are based on the foundation of liberty and faith in the rule of law and not the arbitrary rule of man. I believe in fiscally sound policy that is morally just and serves the best interest of all of our citizens, equal rights, not special rights. I call it being principled.
There were many other questions I could have asked but I wanted to keep it simple. The FaceBook Page is called Maine Taxpayers United and Beth O'Conner has already threatened to bar me for being critical of LePage's policies, adding that my criticism tires her. I am reminding the reader of the former interaction as it gives impacting context to the the atmosphere present at Maine Taxpayers United.
Beth O'Connor the individuals who were making 16 K were fully taxed. That number was lifted to 20K leaving them more money in their pockets.
Before I had a chance to answer, Beth's response was followed with a post by Larry C Dunphy, a current member of the Maine legislature. The comment said in so many words" "That was a great answer, Beth".
I commented but when I looked the next day, it appeared that the Rep Dunphy's comment had been moved from the position previous to my post and placed after my post. As it turned out, this was not the case. Mr Dunphy had deleted his post and Jeffrey Blake had posted almost the exact content as Mr Dunphy had posted the day before, coming in after my post. From then on Jeffry Blake became the mouth piece with one response from Beth O'Conner and support for Mr Blake given by Rep Dumphy.
Jeffrey Blake likes the Republican Party but does not appear to be a professional politician. The strange deletion of Rep Dunphy's comment to be replaced by an almost identical one by Mr Blake took on the feeling that Mr Dunphy had been called in to defend Beth O'Conner against the big bad citizen of Maine (myself) and, after seeing my response, Mr Blake was brought in instead as Mr Blake had no political capital at stake in the game.
I am by now accustomed to these kinds of strange goings on as I have seem much suspicious looking finagling since I have been writing this blog and sniffing about the economic development statutes that our legislature put in place and which the media rarely reports about accurately or fairly. When I get back to telling my story about my first head on encounter with the overlord class of Maine- I will make a similar speculation about what occurred in the course of that event as well. Some may call me paranoid and even arrogant but, still, there is a long trail of circumstantial evidence in my wake.
You can read that conversation on FaceBook, I am not going to give a step by step account of it here but instead get to the point as to what really bothers me about Beth O'Conner's presentation.
Mr Dunphy and Mr Blake may have thought she gave a fine answer to my question but in my opinion she merely recited a political talking point and during election season, especially, it seems to be the mission of the political class, to ensure that political talking points are all that the public hears. Social media has made that mission a much more difficult one.
So once again these are the exact words that Beth OConnor wrote:
The icing on the cake was taking 70 thousand of our lowest income workers right off the tax rolls so they can better support themselves and their families.
Her answer was to repeat the first part of her statement in different words.My question was why does that mean lowest income workers can better support their families. Granted a one time cash boon helps but when one is supporting a family on sixteen thousand to twenty thousand dollars a year income, that one time cash boon should be gone in about a nano second and so to parlay that as helping them to "better support their families" is really just political hyperbole- a bandaid over the real problem.
In Maine today, since the government took over central management of our economy, all capitalization goes by stated intent to finance jobs for the upper middle class and above. In my opinion such a policy is a population displacement plan as was not so hidden when the Baldacci administration came in, complete with Baldacci's guru in tact, professional social engineer, Richard Florida, who is credited with inventing the "creative economy" template. It is not easy to locate the same rhetoric today but in those days it was clearly spoken that Richard Florida's economic "solution" was that states had to compete for a new influx of wealthier citizens and the urban communities had to be designed to attract those citizens, who, according to Florida, and gobbled up by Baldacci, all wanted to live in the exact same sort of environment for which Richard Florida provided the template, compete with a point scoring system. The more that cities conformed to Richard Florida's "creativity" and "diversity" template - the higher the creativity score they received.
That was a thinly veiled gentrification scheme- which no state has any business pursuing since states are supposed to serve ALL of the people- not only the upper end of the economy- but we know that by design, the corporation of Maine serves the upper end of the economy, since such intention is integral to the definition of our legislature's "targeted sector"
In the course of the conversation Mr Blake stated that the reason why many are on general welfare is because they are lazy. This type of blanket characterization is representative of Maine's political class's view to all of those- welfare or not- in the bottom half of the economy as represented by the statistical Median Household income- except that one needs to replace "lazy" with "stupid"- which granted is my own version of political hyperbole, but there is a grain of truth to it as evidence in the glorification of the "creative" and "innovative" classes that we hear from our political class as standard rhetoric.The glorification of one class of people goes hand in hand with the denigration of another.
As I have spoken of in this blog previously, the global capitalist political philosophy is based in a two tier society in which the bottom half of the economy is governed by socialism and pacified off with "entitlements" ( politically correct speak for "rations") The top half of the economy is governed by private capitalism with the state playing the function of redistributing wealth as rations to the bottom and opportunities to the top.
I submit that as a culture we need to reconceptualize "social justice: as "equal opportunity for all" and that means opportunities at the bottom as well as the top to better one's circumstances through one's own efforts. It is only when lower income workers have access to opportunity that the words "they can better support themselves and their families: become true. Entitlements may make life a little bit easier but they are paid for at the expense of the real "opportunity zone" for the bottom sector- and that is the capitalization of a middle class economy, which is being depleted by both corporate and general welfare.
Mr Blake debated the subject for a while but ended his participation with this most revealing statement:
In the context in which Mr Blakes makes his apology to Candidate O'Conner, it comes across as apologizing for taking the conversation away from the talking points of the re-elect Lepage Campaign, a direction which is being construed by some these election season days as "railroading the conversation". Off-talking-point discussions about issues that affect the people of Maine are labeled as socially unacceptable behavior. If that is the case now- what comes after the election season? When is the time for the public's voices to be heard by those serving or hoping to serve the public? In my view there is no better time than during an election season for the people to speak their concerns and for politicians to listen and to respond.
In the process of responding to my question addressed to Beth O'Conner, Mr Blake came forth with this most acute character assessment of myself:
How true it is! (misplaced guilt aside since Mr Blake clearly did not accurately read what I was saying about minimum wage being conflated with a living wage, appearing to believe that I support that agenda !) However- I do confess I am a publicly educated member of the most elite class in history - the American middle class- that rare breed of a class possessing transformative powers to manifest opportunities for all ! My families ceramic design and slip casting production business is a natural inhabitant of that rare zone- providing- of course, that the minimum wage is not conflated into a living wage, which would likely prohibit the ability of an organization such as our own to continue our long established practice of training people on the job and offering others an opportunity to discover their own natural abilities and skills in an ancient craft and in other business functions as well without having to pay to learn those skills.
Jeffrey Blake You must be a product of the public education system. No, I didn't say all. Far, far to many welfare recipients should be working when they chose not to. The middle class, I'm proud to stay has far from disappeared. I and most of the people in my life are middle class. I submit that you, madame, are an elitist filled with misplaced guilt. Your statement regarding "living wages" supports my assessment. Just another guilty liberal. I revise my opinion of you and your stance. I doubt very much that we share any common ground.
The voices of business owners like ourselves should be part of the conversation, because we are a part of the answer.