Politics, personality dominate Supreme Court decisions

It happens every June. The third of the three branches of government becomes, for a week or two, the most important. That’s when the U.S. Supreme Court issues its decisions on major issues it has considered since last October. This year, the Supreme Court made several such decisions, the most widely known being the validation […]

Secrecy erodes people’s role in government

What do these have in common? The congressional consideration of new trade negotiating authority for the president. The development of the Maine biennial budget. The National Security Agency collection of data on Americans’ communications. Answer: they were all conducted in secret. In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln spoke of “government of the people, by the people […]

Greek crisis affects U.S. dollar, jobs

“That was Greek to me.” These words, written by Shakespeare in 1599, means something is too hard to understand. Now, it applies to Greece itself. What’s all the fuss about and does it matter to us? The answer to the second question: your job could depend on how the Greek financial crisis is settled. The […]

In political wars, Maine, U.S. images suffer

Appearances matter. But recently the images projected by the Maine and U.S. governments have contributed to a loss of the positive reputation Mainers and all Americans consider their birthright. Maine has a reputation of being populated by hard-working people with their own sense of humor and a serious, if not dour, demeanor. Mainers are often […]

The GOP scrambles, while Clinton seen as inevitable

It is definitely too early to be paying much attention to the 2016 presidential campaign, with the election 17 months away. But Washington seems blocked by partisan deadlock with the conflict between a Democratic president and Republican Congress as the focal point. So we naturally focus on the future. Without handicapping the candidates, it may […]

Income gap, tax policy closely linked

People are becoming increasingly aware of the income gap – the growing spread between incomes at the top and the bottom. Proposed solutions range from levying a higher income tax on the wealthy to raising the minimum wage to doing nothing in the belief the market take care of the problem. The gap would be […]

Democrats their own worst problem

The Democrats may be their own worst problem. The party has considerable advantages according to recent national polls, but, at best, it comes across with a somewhat blurred image and, at worst, as pursing a version of liberalism that has limited appeal. Yet surveys show that most Americans agree with what is usually considered Democratic […]

Social Security’s troubles deepen

The good news is Americans are living longer. The bad news is many Americans cannot afford to live longer. Many people do not have enough money saved or in Social Security to provide sufficient income in retirement. Of course, some are wealthy or have good employer provided retirement plans, but they are a minority. Most […]

Conflict undermines historic governing consensus

The American political system isn’t what it used to be. While change in governing is as inevitable as it is in every other part of life, the transformation of political practices and behavior is radical. The system is subject to constitutions, federal and state, and to laws made to carry out their intent. But the […]

Jobs programs guarantee profits, not new employment

Do government programs to encourage job creation work or do they merely guarantee corporate profits? Nobody knows the answer with certainty, but there’s evidence corporations promote development subsidies more to boost their profits than to create new jobs. The mantra of most politicians is “jobs, jobs, jobs.” But many of them oppose direct government hiring […]