The Governor has experienced a partial victory in the battle over the hospital debt. The Democrats have conceded that it is a good idea to pay back their debts. In most circles, this would not be viewed as any great accomplishment, as most regard this declaration as everyday common sense. But for the Justin Alfond Democrats, such a statement of even a small admittance of a need for responsibility has sent shock tremors through the very core of the Eastern Seaboard causing even “Punxsutawney Phil” to completely foul up his forecast.
Now we must realize these are baby steps for Democrats. They still don’t want to pay the whole debt. Just a portion, then raise your taxes and promise to pay the rest off with the new the tax revenue. I’m sure the hospitals of Maine are confident, in light of the past track record and Justin Alfond’s comments that we shouldn’t even pay the hospital debt, that the Democrats will keep their word. If you believe that, I’ve got some other stuff I can sell you….
Yet to this we have come as a State and as a Nation: when the Democrats can have some smug satisfaction in a partial promise to pay a portion of their debt, nearly 40 years in the making, and Republicans find a victory in forcing Democrats to admit they must pay their debts. This leaves many of the frugal Maine residents scratching their heads in dismay. How can so many of those elected to represent Maine become so detached from the Maine they represent? The answer may lie in the study of two political faces from a town called Dexter.
Justin Alfond grew up on Acadia Street in the affluent side of Dexter, when Dexter had an affluent side. His family owned the famous Dexter Shoe Company. The Alfond family sold Dexter Shoe to Warren Buffet and one of his conglomerates. Consequently, the company moved out of Dexter costing the small town some 1500 jobs.
Another political figure also has his roots in the little town of Dexter. Paul Davis grew up on the corner of Lincoln and Water Street, which Dexter residents will tell you are a decidedly different part of town, the other side of the tracks, if you will, or, in the case of Dexter, the other side of the stream. Paul Davis grew up learning the value of a hard earned dollar. He also learned from experience how hard it is to keep a dollar and how devastating debt can be.
Now the lessons of thriftiness and frugality are not exclusive to poverty nor are they exclusive to wealth for that matter. But as a wise man once said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” And there is plenty of fruit from both these individuals to see the standards of their fundamental core.
Justin Alfond has most infamously stated that we should ignore the hospital debt and treat it as a “meaningful cut”. He has also led the Democrats in a dogged obstruction of the Governor hoping to keep him from paying the hospital debt. Now they have capitulated to the Governor, but only in part, still maneuvering for an opportunity to raise taxes off the backs of Maine residents. The only candidate that the Justin Alfond Democrats have put forward to run for Governor states that, since the 40 years of mandated regulatory hell that Augusta has placed on rural Maine has pushed many towns to “insolvency”, the answer is just to shut them down and move the people like cattle to more urban locals. This smacks of young men, who are used to having someone else’s money covering the mistakes of their poor decisions.
On the other side of the stream, we have Paul Davis along with Ray Wallace, who grew up in the same part of town in Dexter, along with many other conservative Republicans who have held the line beside the Governor demanding that debts be paid. This columnist knows from personal experience that Davis has a dim view of debt and has lived his life by the “owe no man anything” precept. He refuses to purchase anything unless he can pay for it. Wallace and many of his comrades share Paul Davis’ disdain of the slipshod accounting practices of the Alfond Democrats. They stand along with the Governor with their backs to the edge desperately trying to hold Alfond and his Democrats from pushing Maine off into the fiscal abyss.
Maine people need to decide which face of Dexter they prefer to see to their State’s affairs. The face of accountability, honesty and “pay as you go” approach to life that you see in Paul Davis and his allies, or the make promises, accumulate debt and then “cut and run” approach of Justin Alfond and his allies. The edge for Maine inches closer, while the Governor, Paul Davis and their allies can only hold for so long. We must lend our voices to theirs, for be assured, that if Maine falls over the edge, Alfond will not go with us. He will cut and run.