Monday, March 28, 2011
Open for Business
A couple of weeks ago Gov. LePage unveiled a new sign on the Maine Turnpike, actually an addition to an existing sign. The existing one says, a little tritely but yet inspiringly, MAINE: The Way Life Should Be. The new sign under it, thriftily fastened to the other's supports, says, OPEN FOR BUSINESS. Fittingly, it's near the Kittery exit. I'd suggest one at Freeport and one at the Maine Mall to complete the ugly trifecta.
There is no new sign that says OPEN FOR LABOR. Indeed, the Guv has had a mural in his Labor Department removed, apparently for depicting working people in their work-a-day clothes to the exclusion of managers and owners and executives in suits. (You will not be surprised that once again the national media has picked up a LePage story.) And he had it removed in the dead of the weekend, when those lazy state employees and pesky media types don't work. The mural's whereabouts are presently unknown, but it's rumored to be headed for Portland, a place with a bit more sophistication and kindness than the mean streets of Augusta.
I guess this is another indication of the open season on ordinary folk, echoes of Wisconsin and Ohio and Florida whose chief executives similarly boast tax cuts for the rich and humiliation for the poor. This one-sided decision-making by CEOs, ruled only by considerations of the bottom line, preferably one's own, is exactly why business needs to be regulated and watched. Greed and power need to be checked. It's terribly ironic that the policies of the conservatives will hurt most, in both the short- and long-term, the very people who make up its ranks. In the sea of business, a rising tide lifts mostly yachts.
It's especially discouraging in a place like Maine, known for, utterly dependent on, the beauties of its natural, undeveloped environment. I blame no one in the desire for a better life; I blame anyone whose desires are contemptuous of the common good.