Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: Dream park

Al Diamon

It’s time to talk about an idea whose time hasn’t come. And probably never will.

It’s called the Maine Mountains Park, and it’s the brainchild of Lance Tapley, the man behind the successful effort back in the 1970s to create the Bigelow Preserve in western Maine. Tapley recently wrote a column for the Free Press in Rockland in which he offered a proposal so audacious it could easily be dismissed without further consideration. Except his underlying concerns are real.

First the fanciful stuff: Tapley wants to turn 2 million acres in northern Somerset, Franklin and Oxford counties into a massive state park. This scheme would encompass the entire town I live in.

My first reaction was a thoughtful HELL, NO!

I don’t want to live under park rules where I have to apply for a permit to cut down a tree. I don’t want to be told I can’t drink beer on my deck. I don’t want to make it impossible to build a camp by a pond. I don’t want restrictions on hunting, fishing or snowmobiling, all crucial factors in the local economy.

Now, here’s the reasonable stuff: This part of the state is besieged with incremental industrial development that’s slowly converting it into faux wilderness. First, it was irresponsible logging operations that made a quick buck by leaving devastation in their wake. Then it was wind farms that besmirched the skyline with turbines and left the ground cluttered with dead birds and bats. Next, it’s Central Maine Power’s proposed transmission line to bring Canadian hydropower to Massachusetts. Finally, the Land Use Planning Commission (motto: Trees Bad, Dollar Stores Good) wants to open huge new tracts of forest to development.

Soon, there’ll be a Starbucks in every deer yard.

“My radical assumption,” wrote Tapley, “is that the North Woods are worth more than the bottom line on a corporation’s balance sheet.”

He’s basing his proposal on the Adirondack Park in upstate New York, which has been around for 130 years. Over half the land within its boundaries is privately owned, and that property is controlled not by park authorities, but by the 102 towns it encompasses. Virtually all forms of outdoor recreation are permitted, except in limited wilderness refuges where there are no motorized vehicles or hunting. And sustainable forestry is standard practice.

If Maine started a similar project, Tapley thinks it would take 50 to 100 years to complete, but would result in “a world-class preserve and well-planned and regulated playground, as well as a place where locals can make a decent living.”

This might seem outlandish, but so did Baxter State Park, which resulted from the perseverance of one rich and powerful individual, the late Percival Baxter, who imposed his vision of a “forever wild” preserve on a reluctant state. Or how about the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, which never would have happened but for another rich individual, Roxanne Quimby, and her politically adept son, Lucas St. Clair, who overcame a hostile reception.

All that’s standing in the way of the Maine Mountains Park is the lack of somebody rich and powerful willing to counteract what is certain to be a thoroughly unreceptive political establishment. Other than that, this thing is a lock.

Even if the park never happens, Tapley’s dream ought to spark increased resistance to corporate encroachment on Maine’s wilderness. That makes the idea one whose time may never come, but remains timely nonetheless.

Ranger Al will read comments emailed to

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35 Responses »

  1. Tapley is still having those dam p dreams?

  2. Here's the thing, Baxter bought the land that the park sits on and deeded it to the state for the purpose of creating a park, and LePage hating Quimby did basically the same thing only she went to the feds. The area in northern Franklin county doesn't have a single owner but rather many Irving's(the largest logging outfit in Canada, and Weyerhaeuser(bought Plum Creek's land and holdings) are the largest land holders in that area. Iriving's has done a lot of work for HydroQuebec, there is no way Irving's would sell out to a private person and jeopardize the lucrative deals they have with HydroQuebec and sell the future site of the NECEC.

  3. Keep out large-scale utility and industrial development in western Maine. It's a globally significant forest, and the last remaining contiguous forest east of the Mississippi. It's worth protecting from corporate encroachment, like that of a foreign-owned utility like CMP who wants to blaze the corridor through this area.

  4. Sandi... do you like the mountaintop whirligigs? Did and do you protest them?

  5. Typical liberal idea...kick people out of their homes for elitist ideas; you KNOW that's the intention. This sort of sentiment is now running rampant among those in the D party, and your candidates. It's pretty frightening, actually. From forced 'buybacks' of what the gov't never bought for you, to forcing you to buy "insurance" you can't use...relocation is always something the Left favors. Eco fascism.

    That's why I use the name "OverRegulated". I hope Maine smartens up before you REALLY find out what that means. Resistance of corporate encroachment must be done by the PEOPLE WHO LIVE THERE, not by elite entities working with the State....which is simply GOVERNMENT encroachment!

  6. Well, big corporations tend to support the Republican party, and most regulations are to protect big money from smaller and medium size firms. So maybe your fear of the "D" party is misplaced. Maybe the over-regulation is coming from the R's. Perhaps you should look into that.

  7. Oh, there's increased resistance to corporate and governmental encroachment alright, especially when it comes to the NECEC.

    Best part of this whole mess,well, if there is a best part, is the fact that the battle is non-partisan in nature and I firmly believe the people of this state will decide the fate of the NECEC in 2020.

    Now that's a precedence we all should be proud of.

  8. Scott,

    I often wonder if you and i live on the same planet. Have you been watching the news at all???
    Have you seen the nut jobs running for the DEMOCRAT nomination for president and listened
    To their plans??? Every single one of them has lost his/her mind!!!! They want to eliminate
    Fossil fuels in 12 years!!!! They want to sue oil and coal companies!!!! Some want to force
    Law abiding gun owners to sell their semiautomatic weapons to the government. Deblasio
    Wants an automation tax on every company that invests in robots that replace humans. They
    Want open borders and free healthcare for illegal immigrants, along with the EBT cards and
    section 8 housing. The hard working Americans who don't get freebies must pay higher taxes
    For this crap. You always claim to be pragmatic, but you are truly a hard left socialist!!!! Tell
    Me something. What will happen to every contractor in this country if the DEMOCRATS get
    Control and do exactly what they propose??? Let me help you a bit....local companies like
    E.L.Vining and Thorndike Logging have invested millions of dollars in heavy equipment like
    Bulldozers and wheel loaders and excavators and skidders and fellerbunchers, etc. Every
    One of these machines costs $200,000-300,000-$400,000 each. And every one uses a diesel
    Engine. And these machines have a life span of 20-30 years. If fossil fuels are banned in 12 the heck will these companies survive??? There are no battery powered wheel
    Loaders or excavators or skidders out there to my knowledge. What about all the huge ships
    That transport products across the oceans??? Most have diesel engines. The DEMOCRATS
    Are insane!!!! There is no way they can do what they propose in 12 years, or even 25 years.
    So Scott, what are your ideas??? Stop blaming the rich people for everything!!! Come on
    Man, give me some ideas here!!!! Get that pragmatic blood flowing and tell me how every
    Contractor and logger will survive??? Tell me how the military will operate...fighter jets use
    JP4 which is similar to diesel fuel. Some of those suckers cost $50-100 million...and we
    Have alot of them.

  9. Mike... Thank you.. However, trying to explain common sense to a 'nut job' is a waste of time.. Just be thankful that they are outnumbered... It is a bit scary that we pay taxes and tuition to some of these people to instruct our young ones..

  10. I'm also with Mike, and also don't care to explain what should be self-evident. However, I'll add - yes, it's great to see L and R Americans getting together to say "NO" to ideas that are simply bad, or perhaps crooked, like NCEC...maybe we can also do so to Big Tech for all their spying and over-intrusiveness, and so on. No 'social credit score' for THIS guy! There are a LOT of places where things seem to be going wrong, and for the life of us, the other side can't understand why the people 'across the aisle' don't feel the same way...why would one believe a politician any more than a CEO, or vice versa??

    To be able to get together on these things, we need to recognize that THERE IS A PROBLEM. They work very hard at making sure a sizeable % of people will support them, using dishonesty and manipulation, and outright lies. People seem very incapable of believing that some will say ANYTHING to make a buck or get power, whether "corporate" or "government" (aren't they the same thing??). Oh - and of course, all non-profits should be put up for sainthood - ha ha ha ha!

    Gotta support the folks commenting right above this - the big threat right now can be heard from the D candidates' mouths, and those of their ilk who really seem to hate freedom...and I'm still waiting for data to support why Trump 'is a racist' or 'broke the law'....? Propaganda is a very powerful thing. I recognize it when my side presents it to you?

  11. Well, Mike, I could point out things about what Trump says and tweets in response to you saying the Democrats are "insane," but I'll avoid going that route.

    Nobody is going to eliminate fossil fuels in twelve years. You can find only a tiny number of Democrats who say that, the vast majority know it's going to take longer. Conservatives in Germany have set a goal of 2050 to be fossil fuel free. That's more realistic, though they also admit is is aspirational. Gun control is a hot issue, but everyone knows they're not going to force people to sell their guns, again, that's a small portion - a tiny portion - of the Democratic party. To be sure, conservatives in Europe support what here would be radical gun control, so it's not a left-right issue. I also think DeBlasio's automation tax is a non-starter, he's try to appeal to the left wing of the party.

    The stuff on immigration seems misguided. The US doesn't spend much money on immigration, and making sure that people here have health care is not going to cost much at all. No democrats have been calling for "open borders" - that's a fake claim. But I would argue that given the decline in population, we need immigrants. Maine is going to fall off a demographic cliff in about five years, with the population even older than it is, and fewer young workers than ever. We'll stagnate if we don't increase immigration.

    Again, rest easy. Only the most extremes are saying 12 years to end fossil fuel, and that is NOT supported by about 98% of the rest of the party. It isn't going to happen - and no one will tell companies they have to ditch their equipment. Even if we do end up shifting to a better fuel source, it'll be gradual, the companies won't be hurt.

    The thing is - I could go to the extremes of the Republican party and find lots of stuff that sounds just as insane, especially from the religious social conservatives. But here is what I find insane: Massive deficit spending while an economy is growing. Trump has increased the debt and deficit to records (Obama had it declining after it went up during the recession). When an economy is growing you pay back debt, you don't increase it - you certainly don't increase the pace of borrowing. That is setting up a very painful recession. I also find it economic suicide to increase tariffs (haven't we learned anything since Smoot-Hawley?) The cost is passed on to consumers, and it reduces total production. Moreover, while the Chinese have stopped buying our goods due to tariffs, Americans are still buying Chinese goods - the tariffs are hurting us more. Moreover, we can only run these massive deficits by borrowing more and more - and China holds a good chunk of that in bonds, stocks ,and US currency. If they really wanted to hurt us, they just could dump of of those bonds...or even just refuse to buy more! That's how vulnerable we are.

    So to me, I don't cherry pick what people say on the extremes to attack the whole party. And in critiicizing Trump's policies I'm ignoring the usual ones and focusing on his massive increase of deficits during a period of economic growth. That is economic malpractice. It can give you short term good results (it's like borrowing on a credit card more than you earn), but that doesn't last. We're burdening our children with a number of problems, massive debt is one of the biggest.

  12. Sorry, but one more thing I forgot. My own views on those issues: 1) Climate change is a serious threat (outside the US that has right and left in agreement, here is the only place the science is rejected for political reasons). We do need to develop and support alternatives, working with manufacturers. I think Germany's 2050 goal is nice, but the transformation should be done in a manner that doesn't hurt the economy. Many Europeans think theirs is being helped because they're developing new and better technology; 2) I oppose an automation tax.

    3) Taxation should shift to actually tax the corporations and wealthy who have gotten all the tax brakes. Jimmy Buffett pays a lower percentage than his secretary! We need to rehaul the tax system and I really think both parties could come together to try to do that. I do think immigrants under our care should be treated well. Most illegal immigrants do not cost us money - in fact they pay more into the system than they cost ($13 billion per year in social security funds they'll never get back). So I think your worries there are misguided. I do think we need to have a immigration policy welcoming those who want to work here to help us as we lose more and more young people. But more freebees go to big business and corporate American than go to the poor. It's sort of a scam: "heh...heh...we're milking the system and we're getting the average folk to blame the immigrants and poor. Suckers!"

  13. Hrtlss - I'm not against ALL tax breaks. The whole system is rigged in favor of big banks and big corporations though, often at the expense of small business (especially regulations). Would Walmart close if it didn't get tax breaks? Sometimes you have to wonder. Way back when the US switched to unleaded gas the auto makers howled that this would be too expensive and would drive them out of business, especially hindering them in foreign markets. Well, not only did it not do that, but it helped save them as they became leaders in the technology and other countries followed. So I'm not always convinced by claims made. Walmart would leave if it could not profit, to be sure. I've always thought a good interstate linking, say, Augusta (or Auburn) with Montreal would make sense.

  14. Mr, Erb,

    Illegal immigrants are, well, illegal .Now, before you take offence please remember, that I have been there, done that. There is a proper way, and a illegal way. Please, stay within the realm of the law.

  15. Glen,

    You're 100% correct. Trying to show Dr. Erb the truth is hopeless and a waste of time. He must be getting
    His news from CNN or MSNBC. He has no clue. We are spending BILLIONS per year on the illegal border
    Crossers!!!! Homeland security has been shifting billions around this year just to tackle the crisis on the
    Border. Congress just gave several BILLION more for the crisis down there!!! And just a few weeks ago at
    The DEMOCRATS debate for President when asked if they would give free healthcare to the illegals....every
    Single person standing on the stage raised their hand. But Scott says "Us doesn't spend much money on
    Immigration, and making sure that people here have healthcare is not going to cost much at all". I guess
    Tens of BILLIONS of dollars per year is just a drop in the bucket to a highly paid college professor. That is
    Easily how much we spend every year on illegals!!!! Of course, it is true that President Trump is spending
    Alot of money on increased Defense and the border wall and a few other important things, butttt the BIG
    Spenders are the DEMOCRATS who refuse to go along with any spending increases unless they get an
    Equal amount of increases in domestic free stuff for the layabouts. So, these yearly
    increases in government spending are divided equally among both sides. Only a true leftist liberal would
    Blame it entirely on the President. And the 10 trillion added to the deficit during Obama's term was not bad
    According to Scott...must be Trump's fault too. Glen, i will do my best to avoid these hopeless debates with
    those on the hard is really a waste of time. Thanks

  16. Terry, And those illegal immigrants (to be sure, I've done a few illegal things today myself - I think all of us do illegal stuff now and then) have been lured here by businesses wanting labor that Americans are often unwilling to provide. But yeah, we should make it legal and have a logical immigration policy.

  17. Scott Erb, The dems are doing more to pass laws and regulations that will crush small businesses, Obama used an executive order to prevent small time vehicle repair shops from burning their waste oil in a furnace but rather they had to pay recycling fees where as places like Walmart service centers, Meineke and Midas didn't, dems want a $15 an hour minimum wage and paid sick leave, nobody but big business can afford to do that, do you think small stores like Tranten's could afford to pay that? Walmart could, but they won't, they will cut people and hours to keep their bottom line up. Seattle raised their minimum wage to $15, most workers only saw an $8-$10 a week increase after taxes(not exactly life altering). Maine is $11 an hour, Walmart paid $10.50 an hour, just about every business in Franklin county paid at least $10, some as high as $13.50 to start, Maine's minimum maxes out at $12 next year. And the poverty wage earners, 1.2 million people between 16-24 with no high school education.

  18. Ah, Mike, thanks for demonstrating that you are not serious. You ignore that illegals don't qualify for most social welfare programs, and they put $13 billion a year in social security that they'll never get back. You go into a fit over what you think Democrats said at the debate - yes, when people are in our custody they should get health care. You also ignore that big business and big corporations get far more - massively more - in freebees than do the poor. You seem to want to scapegoat the poor and immigrants, which has an ugly history in politics. It inspires me to do all I can do combat it and assure others don't fall for such lies.

    I have worked in Washington DC, for a Republican Senator - I was even at the GOP convention that nominated Ronald Reagan. I now tend to vote Democratic (but have voted for both Collins and Snowe), but I try to see both sides and recognize that we need disagreement and different ideas - and both sides have them. I thought maybe you would be able to and would respond with a reasoned argument. Your simplistic little "Democrats are all bad" is so over the top ridiculous that I wonder if you possibly can truly believe what you write. You seem lost in a fantasy world where one side is all good and the other is evil, an Orwellian "two legs bad, four legs good" perspective (see "Animal Farm.")

    And when did I say everything was Trump's fault? Trump is to blame for his increasing deficits, being done when an economy is growing. Obama inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression, and deficits were skyrocketing under Bush and Obama for that reason - that is expected in a recession. As the economy improved and started a long run of growth, Obama reduced the deficits FASTER than people had expected. Trump came in and started massively increasing the deficits and debt, which is setting up a huge crisis.. His trade war is also a failure. But now, you ignore all that to try to foster hate against the poor and immigrants, ignore the big corporate welfare payouts and other waste. If you want a real discussion, I'll be very careful and attentive, and listen and try to respond. If you want to just call names via a partisan rant, well, that's worthless.

  19. Hrtlss - I'm all in favor of cutting regulations, though it's not all from the Democrats. In fact, big business often gets both parties to pass regulations that stack the deck in their favor. As for minimum wage increases, that can be complicated: - I think the problem for me is how much the wealthiest make in the US - the top 0.1% make massively more than the bottom, and this is more skewed in the US than in other advanced industrialized states. From the end of WWII to 1980 US debt went from 120% of GDP to 30% of GDP, and the gap between the rich and poor narrowed. Since 1980 debt went back up to over 100% of GDP (in the 1980s it leapt to 60% by the end of the decade), and the gap between the rich and poor is back to what it was like in the 1890s. Moreover, total debt is massive, at least 350% of GDP, as private debt is huge (some put that figure at nearly 2000% of GDP if you include future social security payments, etc., as debt). A huge chunk of that debt is held by foreigners, with China being one of the main holders of US bonds, currency and stocks - giving them a lot of power over our economy, should they choose to exercise it. This is a situation brought to us by both parties, and it can only be solved by both parties working together.

  20. Scott,

    I'm gonna waste a bit more of my time to educate you. You should do a little more research before you
    Make those ridiculous that the US spends very little on illegal immigrants...and they don't qualify
    For welfare...and they pay $13 billion into Social security. Here are the FACTS you forgot to get. The low
    Estimate of the illegal immigrants population is 12.5 million currently. The high estimates are over 20 million.
    Yale university researchers estimated the population at 22.1 million in 2016. I looked at over 7 databases
    And the Annual costs to the US government for illegal immigrants ranges from a low of $116billion to over
    $200 billion. DHHS put the costs at 116 billion for 2018, The Hill and FAIR and Politifacts also agreed that
    This number is a reasonable estimate of the costs to our government every year!!!! And they pointed out that
    This is probably the LOW end of the annual costs because they used 12.5 million as the population of illegal
    Immigrants. You are correct that the IRS gets about $13 billion per year in SSI taxes from them, BUT the cost
    To our government every year is at least $116billion AFTER they deducted that $13 billion. So our country
    Loses at least $116 billion per year because of illegal immigrants. And these estimates are from 2018 and
    We have had record breaking surges since the costs are probably in excess of $150 billion per year
    Now. And by the way..i am not scapegoating the poor or immigrants!!! I have no problems with LEGAL
    Immigrants. In fact i have 2 very close friends who are LEGAL immigrants from China. I met them when they
    Rented an apartment from me in 2011. Maybe you remember Dr. Shengli Dong who taught at UMF for 1 year
    He is now teaching at a southern university. He and his wife followed alllllll the rules and it took them over
    10 years to get their green card. And they are both extremely hard workers and taxpayers. So please don't
    Judge me just because i point out your errors. Oh yeah, one more thing. I don't like the wasteful spending of
    Either party, and i think many republicans are swamp creatures too. And i don't agree with corporate welfare.
    I want SMALL government!!! The DEMOCRATS want BIG government that controls everyyyyyyyyyyy thing.
    That is a TERRIBLE idea!!! NOTE to all too can find these figures online. Just google it 😁

  21. Mike, stop trying to strut and make silly claims like "I'm going to educate you" and "do more research." It makes you look silly, you're trying too hard to claim you're better. But that's meaningless, it's the quality of what you post.

    The millions you claim illegal refugees cost is much below their social security contributions, and of course they pay other payroll taxes too. I do not believe your claim of hundreds of billions. I've looked at many sources and the only ones that get figures that high try to include everything that possibly could be spent on any individual, and does NOT include the taxes paid. Most illegals work, pay taxes, and thus things like education costs and the like are paid by them just like they are by any citizen. I mean, the only people who get those high numbers include normal costs like police and fire protection paid for by every citizen. It's a bogus claim.

    Moreover,it is pretty clear that all economists believe the economy is helped - not only the taxes paid (well above the costs you claim) but in other residual effects. You don't post your sources, here is an article with a lot of links to sources: You can also find a lot more cites on the Wikipedia page on the economic impact of illegal immigration. Illegals are far more likely to pay taxes into the system than to use benefits.

    Moreover, we need more immigration, and those who came illegally did so because American businesses wanted to hire them to work. The Bush administration was especially winking and nodding as illegals flowed in for jobs that couldn't be filled by Americans. Now, we can figure out a way to rationally deal with this, which I think requires a sound immigration policy. But fear of immigrants, claims they are costing us a lot of money (again, they pay into the system), are wrong. You also don't acknowledge how corporate welfare and breaks to big business far exceed anything spent on illegals.

    Finally there is no 'record breaking surge.' Illegal immigration is down from its peak by quite a bit. The total number of illegal immigrants is down from its peak during the Bush years, and the number crossing over each month is way down. There is no crisis, just fear mongering.

  22. My dear Scott,Mike stated that we are spending big money on the illegal border crossings and you think we are actually benefiting from them.News flash for you,the illegals are more than likely not paying social security or any other taxes they can avoid.

  23. Scott Erb, the top 1% wasn't always the top 1%, the classes are fluid, people move up and down all the time. Take Jeff Bezos, owner/CEO of Amazon, He worked at McDonald's in high school and got a science scholarship to Princeton, his mother was a high school drop out and his father owned a bike repair shop, he wasn't born rich, his parents weren't rich, but Bezos is rich now with a net worth of $113 billion. Michael Jackson was worth $2.2 billion, when he died he was half a billion in the hole. Walt Disney started out poor, never went to college, barely got through elementary school, and look what he did. I know of another guy named Mark Rober age 39, middle class kid from California, went to Brigham Young University($5,000 a year for tuition) and then worked and got student loans and attended the University of Southern California, in 2004 he went to work for NASA and was a designer of the Mars rover Curiosity(that was only supposed to last for 2 years, almost 2000 days later, it's still going.). People are where they are in life because they choose to be, not because they have to be. I myself am in my mid 40's, I have owned my own home for 20 years, I love to hunt, and trap in the fall and winter, I bust my butt from March until the end of September, then I take October to the end of February off, perks of being a tradesman, I can always find work, generally in the $30-$40 an hour range, ask your average art history major if they earn around $16,000 a month.

  24. HB Nailed It.

    Enjoy the gender studies degree...the rest of us are keeping your lights and heat on and a roof over your heads as you try to drag us down because the world isn't set up exactly all YOUR way, and you don't want to share it. And we're very, very aware of how you feel.

  25. Hrtlss - classes are NOT fluid in the US. We have less social mobility between classes than many European countries. The best indicator of what someone will earn in their lifetime is what their parents earn. The super wealthy structure the game to benefit themselves, and thus they stay wealthy. The idea that people are moving between classes via hard work is a myth. Sure, we all know individuals who may have done really well, but statistically that's quite rare. I agree those of us with privilege have a lot of control of what we can accomplish, and it was easier in the past than now. I've never once in my life complained about either taxes or how much I earn (even when I was earning minimum wage). Here are a bunch of charts - note that Canada, the UK and Denmark all have higher social mobility than we do, and our rate of social mobility is declining. This is real, but a lot of people don't realize it because they bought the myth that you can choose what you become simply by being willing to work hard.

    Overregulated: you're just being arrogant and silly. Everyone works to contribute to our society, you want it to be your way, others want it to be their way. Those with wisdom seek compromise and respect people from all walks of life and situations. Fools think they are better than others.

  26. Taxed - you're wrong. Illegal immigrants pay social security and other taxes, and they work. They probably work harder and take less social welfare as a group than average Americans. This article has links documenting how much they pay. There is a lot of misunderstanding about this.

  27. Has anyone noticed that the only one here acting childish and name calling is our local professor Erb.
    None of us called him names, we simply pointed out errors he made. I did use a bit of sarcasm by saying
    "let me educate you", but i never called him any names. Now he claims i am "Struting and being silly and
    i think i am better than everyone. I never said that, never have claimed that. I just pointed out the many
    Flaws and errors in his arguments. I guess when someone challenges the good professor he gets ticked
    off and reverts to childish name calling. OverRegulated, you "arrogant silly" person!!! And Taxed, you are
    just plain wrong !!!! I found my information by googling "what is the annual costs to US government
    For illegal immigrants" and many articles came up and i read thru them. As i pointed out earlier, they
    All had figures in excess of $100 BILLION not million as the professor misrepresented. And i did give
    My source...i said google it. But i am wondering if maybe the professor has a different version, maybe
    Updated version of google. My computer is old and slow, he probably has a shiny new modern one that
    Can access the special google website!! Calm down doc. You're hard left sources may have been drinking
    From the socialist democrats Kool aid bowl. Did you ever think about that??

  28. Scott Erb, I earn in 2 months what my father earned for a whole year working for the state of Maine in the 70's, that whole "well if my parents are poor then I'll be poor" nonsense is just that, nonsense. But there is a simple easy to follow idea that works for about 90% of the people who use it, graduate high school, get a job and don't have kids until you get married. Here this is how I did it, I graduated from high school, got a job working at Northeast wood turning and rented a room for $30 a week, not bad when you're only making $7 an hour, within a year I bought an acre of land and put a small "shack" on it, a couple years later I said screw this, I had some money saved and with financial aid, I went and learned a trade, now 20 odd years later it is 60 acres with a bigger shack, but I never claim to be better than anybody else, because I haven't done anything that anybody else can't do. The schools exist, the means of going to those schools exist either out of pocket or through aid programs, the jobs that require a certain skill set exist, will somebody make top dollar right out of school, it's possible but unlikely. And that is part of the problem today, people think they deserve top dollar for doing the most menial jobs. Are there good paying menial jobs out there, absolutely, Vinings is hiring flaggers for $13.50 an hour, that's good pay for a no skills required job. I know people who have started out making $10 an hour and 3 years later are making $23 an hour, if people aren't where they think they should be in life, it's because they spend too much time living in their own heads and talk negatively to themselves, "I can't do this because of this." or "If this had happened I would be better off than this." sitting around thinking like that never got anybody anywhere. Graduating from high school isn't a privilege, it's an educational standard, the days of not going to high school because of certain mitigating incomes or social order are long behind us. There are two reasons a person won't graduate from high school, 1) They are mentally deficient. or 2) they choose not to go to school. America doesn't have a stacked deck against people, people stack the deck against themselves. And America's youth being fed a daily diet of "If you were that guy, you'd be rich right now." isn't helping the matter because they are not that guy(they should be told how that guy got rich) and the dems dropping free this, that or the other every time they get in front of a crowd doesn't do any good either. Andrew Yang wants to give 250 million Americans $1000 a month, medicare for all and tuition, where he plans on getting the money to pay for it all is beyond me.

  29. Mike, now, let's turn to the substance of your post. Oh my, all those words and it was mostly attacks with no substance! You ignore my links showing that illegal immigration has a positive economic impact, you ignore how much they pay into the system. You make a claim about their cost, and I point out the only cites I see with that kind of cost include everything that any citizen gets (and for any group of citizens it would be that much), not taking into account what they pay in. I challenged you to counter my links, and provide your own. You just get made and launch wild attacks on me. Given how sensitive you seem to be, I will call you one name: Snowflake.

    Hrtlss, you aren't responding to the links I gave proving that there isn't a lot of social mobility in the US. You give examples about how you are earning more, and what jobs exist. That really doesn't counter all the stats out there that show we're rather low on social mobility. We can always find individual examples of people who break out of the mold, but the statistics don't lie - our classes are not very fluid, neither in absolute terms nor compared to other countries. I really think things have changed in the last thirty years and its gotten harder for average folk to move ahead.

  30. Mike, I've re-read your posts, and I think you should stop being so focused on what my job is. We're two people discussing an issue, having a disagreement. In politics, disagreement is good, it's what democracy needs. What you or I do for a living is irrelevant, and bringing that into the discussion is inappropriate. Please look back at my posts. Note the cite earlier today about how much illegal immigrants pay into the system, note as well the cite about how illegal immigration has been overall an economic benefit. Those articles themselves have links in them. If you think I'm missing a cite, please post it. I did find a couple that put the number over $100 billion, as I noted, but they were including everything any citizen uses (education, etc.) and did NOT take into account what is being paid in. But I'll gladly look at any link you choose to post. I also note that you haven't responded to the fact that illegal immigration is way down from past years, and thus is not a crisis (both in total number in the country, and in numbers crossing). This downward trend started about the time of the 2008 recession.

  31. Scott Erb, I don't respond to VOX links because they are so far left of center. The classes haven't stagnated, the people within them have. It's a generational thing, I was raised by people who grew up during the great depression and worked themselves into the middle class. Now there are young adults who were raised by people who lived during the turn on, tune in and dropout era of American history who themselves were raised during the economic boom after WW2 when a house in a box could be had from Sears for a few thousand and a good car for a few hundred, all off a single income. The sad part is that to every up there comes a down, and the down is that we have, 3 generations of people whose parents didn't teach them the value of a dollar or how to earn it. When I was 12 if I wanted a new toy or comic, my grandfather handed me a rake or dragged out the lawnmower or stacking wood, he had to earn his money, so I sure as hell was going to earn mine was his philosophy, the other day I saw an 8 year old with a Kindle in an alien shaped case, I dare say he didn't stack a cord of wood for it. My grandmother's way of thinking was a bit more cut and dry, If it didn't contribute to food, water, or shelter or be needed to facilitate getting those things, it wasn't necessary and I wouldn't die if I didn't have it. I have seen people start out like me who now do better than me, and I have seen people start out a lot better than where I started from, who now have 4 kids and collect welfare for a living. I probably only have 10 more good years left in me, 15 if I take it slower after the first 10, what's Social Security pay now a couple grand a month? Hey look at the bright side, I will save $450 a month in medical insurance payments when medicare takes over when I retire so there's that.

  32. The information there is accurate, with the various sources cited. Social mobility was greater in the past. I would argue it's because our economy has been structured for the very wealthy - especially the top 0.1% (who earn in the tens of millions...I use the term "earn" loosely). I honestly see as much drive and ambition in young people now as I did forty years ago. At some level I'll agree with you - I think most people are in a position that if they choose to make good decisions they can achieve a lot in life. I certainly believe people should take responsibility for their lives, that's the only way to achieve what you can, and to be happy. That said, the economy is structured to benefit those with money. It is harder for a person to raise up from poverty to achieve a lot, especially if their parents are not good role models or helpful. It is pretty easy for someone with wealth to land a lucrative job. I had a friend in college who was lazy (he'd skip class to watch soap operas and was thrilled with a "C"), but his dad owned a bottling plant and last I heard the family business was making him wealthy. That's an extreme example, and I do believe in trying to inspire those from bad conditions to make the effort to rise above their circumstances, but at least statistically, that's not happening enough.

  33. This conversation is dizzying. In this country we have over stressed the importance of the individual. Over regulation/no regulation?? Where is common sense? Can we not be a successful country that values community,shared responsibilities and integrity? The fact is we are lost in a tsusami of rage, divisiveness and hate. Where are our shered commjunity values; where is our agrred upon social contract. This can be found in other countries. Right now, in this country we all are losing,losing. ;Most of us are either sad or lmad.

  34. apologize for the typos.