To the Editor:
I agree with Robert A. Reed’s Letter to the Editor, titled “Why Maine needs welfare reform,”(TCT, page 3, September 6, 2012).
However, there are reasons as to why we are in this welfare crisis, as is most of the nation today. As a retired Mainer, I have seen the decline of the middle class over the years. As an example, a few years ago, there were many factories in Maine that produced a variety of goods that went out of business due to the global economy.
The greedy, who control the working class in order to acquire more wealth—not that they needed more, but some people are driven by it—sent the jobs overseas for cheap labor, leaving high unemployment, not only here in Maine, but throughout the country. Why not allow people who do not want higher education or perhaps are not able to succeed in these areas of learning to work with their hands to be able to support a family and earn a decent living and not need public assistance?
Not everyone wants or is capable of a college degree or can afford one. Should it be all about excessive profits?
Reed states that the most recent data from the National Association of State Legislators shows Maine’s welfare budget to be 30% of the total expenditures made each year. Is this entirely the fault of those needing the assistance? I think not.
Part of the blame is on those who control the economy of these United States and the world economy. One example that remains fresh on my mind is when I was a teenager growing up in Lewiston. There were two medical doctors that lived in my neighborhood on middle-class Fair Street. Their houses were not spectacular, and they were thought of as regular people.
These days, doctors don’t live in middle-class neighborhoods anymore. They live somewhere else in extravagant homes with more rooms than they need, and many have second and third vacation homes elsewhere.
Now, when the insurance companies pay only a small portion of the high cost of medical care and many working Mainers are unable to afford the balance due, the hospitals send it to a collection agency, thus driving more middle-class families toward the welfare line. The cost of medical insurance premiums that working families must pay to their insurance companies is outrageous.
As long as this country continues to ignore the plight of their needy neighbors, welfare will continue to rise. People need work to be proud and productive citizens. They need work to support themselves and their families.
I, for one, am glad my children never saw me on welfare. I was able to provide an example of a work ethic and was able to find a decent job that paid a livable wage. Should our priority be to cut welfare before creating jobs?
It is up to the “powers that be:” Do they want to continue the excessive greed or do they see a moral obligation to their fellow citizens?