As a young woman and a citizen of Maine, I was inspired to correct Rousselle on several grave mistakes and assumptions. It is time for the people of Maine to realize that corporate-funded politicians such as LePage, and multi-national conglomerates, such as Wal-mart, do not place the needs of Maine above their own financial agenda. It is in the best interest of both political parties to keep people poor and shopping at Wal-mart and to use young people like the author to work there for an unlivable wage. Could Rousselle support herself without social services using only her Wal-mart income? I am not saying that Rousselle would personally be tempted to commit welfare fraud, but Wal-mart encourages its employees to apply for food stamps, and welfare fraud it just a drop in the hat compared to the exploitation and fraud which Wal-mart uses as its general business practices all over our state.Furthermore, even cutting out all social services for people in Maine will not solve our state’s deficit, relieve our growing debt, create careers in our state, stimulate the economy, help our aging population and “youth drain” in our state.
According to Forbe’s annual ranking of best states for business, Maine “… lands at No. 50 for a second straight year. Maine suffers from energy costs 31% above the national average, stagnant population growth and anemic forecasts when it comes to job and gross state product growth” (www.forbes.com, 11/12/11). Wal-mart sells almost entirely imported items from China; instead of the manufacturing careers, businesses have outsourced employment and left nothing but a low-paying retail and service-sector economy with seasonal tourism employment in Maine. Young people of Maine need sustainable careers with livable wages in our state which will lift themselves and their families out of poverty. These are not unreasonable or unattainable goals for LePage to focus on if he is concerned about the long-term health of our state.
Wal-mart’s import business could pay for Maine’s state welfare fraud a million times over, while at the same time crushing US-made competition. It is in the best interest for Wal-mart, and for the people bought and sold in our government, to keep Americans poor, and a few million in food stamp fraud is a pittance. I hope that Rousselle will learn more about the true cost of globalization and outsourcing at her out-of-state college.
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