Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tolls, Taxes, Health Care

Some places could have a little shower or thundershower activity today, but this generally good week continues. This is the kind of week that folks who have rented a camp or camping area for a week or so really get lucky in getting. There have been precious few of these weeks this summer.

Gator Wife’s procedure went exactly as we hope all such procedures go for everyone. She’s good for another five years. As she said, that is a good sign when they tell a patient that the next appointment will be in five years. Sort of gives a little hope one will be around at least that long, doesn’t it?

While sitting in the waiting room yesterday for GW to complete her adventure, I got a chance to read the “New” Portland Press Herald, literally from cover to cover. It was a very small paper, but it had decent content. The actual news content was mostly that: news. It wasn’t laced with reporters’ personal feelings. I disagreed with the editorial page yesterday, but that’s OK. Opinion pieces and columns are clearly marked and we can accept or reject the opinions according to our own feelings and interpretations of the evidence.

One thing I read was a story about the Maine Turnpike Authority putting off its planned widening of the Pike from Scarborough to Falmouth. There’ll be no new interchanges, but feasibility studies for connectors to Gorham and Sanford will continue.

The most interesting part of the story was what I thought it didn’t say. The story pointed out that revenues are down on the Turnpike and blamed high gas prices and the recession. What it seemed to omit was a reference to recent toll increases. I’d suspect those increases might be playing a part in the reduced revenue. I know it is in my own situation. I now find alternate routes most of the time to avoid the increases. With nothing to back up my opinion, I’d bet others have done the same thing.

Tolls are sort of like taxes in raising money. Several government administrations since JFK have lowered taxes, at least for a while. In every case, government revenue increased substantially during that time. Our federal government is now spending money at record clips leading to what some administration officials say will bring a need for tax increases. Right now, the government’s revenue has declined dramatically.

Maine’s taxes have been going up steadily for the past several years. Maine is facing revenue shortfalls in the millions, yea a hundred million, of dollars. The state’s answer: raise taxes even though the governor says he won’t allow it. How many times has he said that before?

So, the MTA raises tolls on the Maine Turnpike and, predictably, revenues drop. But let’s blame high gas prices and the recession. That way we don’t have to look into our own practices. It’s always easier to blame something or someone else rather than admit that just perhaps we may have goofed.

I’ve written a lot about my feelings on the government’s creation of a universal health care system, even though the government denies it is a universal socialistic system. The bill itself sure does create doubt in the credibility of various statements from those government people, including the Congress Critters.

I’ve urged people who doubt what I say to read the bill themselves but haven’t given a clue where they can do that. So here is the place you can find it. Be fairly warned, it’s 1017 pages long. House Bill H.R. 3200.

You know one of the many places I read daily is the political forum As Maine Goes. There is a letter from one person, a Maine mother, that has experienced the evils of government health care personally. If you’d like to read one woman’s experiences, you can find it here on AMG.


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