A rising tide lifts all ships

By Reade Brower | Feb 27, 2014

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” — Herman Melville, American writer (1819-1891)

Camden Selectmen voted to dismiss the matter of the Fox Hill zoning variance rather than allow the townspeople of Camden to decide the matter.

The vote was 3 to 2 and the vote itself, like the issue of whether to allow the Fox Hill group the opportunity to develop a high-end rehabilitation clinic, was hotly contested and talked about.

In the end, three elected officials decided the residents of Camden needed protection from themselves, and voted to not put it on the ballot next election.

The conclusion I come to is that they must feel they were elected to protect the town of Camden and enforce its rules. That is why they are there and they felt by voting this down, rather than allowing it to come to the June ballot, they were best serving the voters.

On the other side, two selectmen voted in the minority to allow the people to decide. In a democracy, it is the right of the people to vote and decide on issues that might affect their life and their pocketbooks, and to do so in the privacy of a voting booth, not in public forum.

Apparently this is not over or a “dead issue” quite yet. There is a process that allows for this still to get on the ballot but it will take some work on the part of the “pro-Fox Hill zoning” proponents.

They must get 10 percent of the voter population from the last election (I think I heard it would be about 289 signatures) to sign a petition that would simply get it on the ballot for the people to vote on.

I side with Don White and his minority vote that, regardless of what you think personally (Don stated that he was not sold on the zoning change); you should leave it to the people to decide.

Saving us from ourselves is another point of view to consider, and I respect it, but in this case, the issue is too important, to too many people to have five people decide. Especially when you can let the community decide from themselves.

I understand that one of the selectmen on the majority cited that we do vote in our elected officials to make the hard decisions for us, and if we don’t like how they vote, we vote in someone else next election.

In this case, I trust the people of Camden to enjoy more debate on the subject and to let it come to vote.

*****

The minimum wage debate is in full swing and I support it, with one small reservation.

Part of our prosperity has been achieved without any significant inflation. As a business person, it helps when we can keep our pricing steady and make a profit. Increasing costs will need to be absorbed and we all know that will play out with higher prices and a rising consumer index.

On the other hand, the minimum wage bill is not only right and moral, it will be good for the country. The working poor are tantamount to a failing business where the “drain is swirling” and the hammer is about to fall. For those who work and can’t escape poverty, a minimum wage increase will give them a chance.

And it will be an equal playing field if all businesses have to do it. It might actually help our small businesses compete with Wal-Mart and McDonald’s. If a 99 cent cheeseburger goes up a dime, how does that hurt McDonald’s? My son’s concession stand has to charge $3.50 for a burger and his cost of goods are more than the 99 cents that McDonald’s charges their consumers.

The trickle down theory has more holes than cover. How about considering a policy that “pours down” and shares a little more with the workers who create profits for their owners.

Better yet, how about some “trickle-UP” policies?

It seems so obvious to me that giving any of my 20-something-year-old sons a tax break is better than giving it to me. The simple idea of $1,000 being redistributed through our tax system from the people who can afford it to my children’s generation and the middle class (all my children have salaries and incomes that allow them to live, but not to consume) makes perfect “trickle-UP” sense.

Think about it, if you give me another $1,000 or take away $1,000 from me, nothing changes. I buy the same food, drive the same car, and go out the same amount of times each month to a local restaurant or movie theater.

Give that $1,000 to any of my children (or anyone who earns middle class wages), and the money goes back into circulation. They think about stepping up to a better car (or perhaps their first car), they go out one more time a week, they buy some clothes, a game, the newest “smart” television or just save it to consume on a vacation or their first home.

This all helps the economy in a way that protecting $1,000 for the wealthy, or $10,000 from the super-rich doesn’t do.

And the “trickle-UP” happens. The super-rich, and the mere wealthy see their business profits rise. The $1,000, redistributed through our tax codes, promotes the economy and is the gas we need to keep it humming.

I believe that saying; “a rising tide lifts all ships."

Onward!

Turn the Page. Peace out; Reade

Reade Brower can be reached at: reade@freepressonline.com.

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