Bear Pond Conservative Chronicles: Two Bad Decisions By Portland Leaders

By Ray Cardello for February 29, 2024, Season 1 / Post 15

There are many things a local, state, and federal government can do for its people, from ensuring clean, drinkable water and road maintenance to police and fire protection to border security. But there are some elements of life that the government should avoid, and Portland, Maine is considering crossing the line on two of them. The city of Portland is considering a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for all residents and an ordinance to increase the minimum wage in the city to $20 per hour. Both are terrible ideas that will harm local businesses and stifle the work ethic of an already stagnant workforce.

The problem with these suggestions begins with the premise. The Portland, Maine City Council’s Housing and Economic Development Committee is modeling its 2024 Plan on the implementations of Portland, Oregon. Portland, Oregon, is one of the most progressive cities in the country, and its policies are so toxic that there is an active movement for the more conservative eastern region of the state to secede from Oregon and join neighboring Idaho. This effort to secede includes portions of Northern California that do not align with the more progressive Southern California.

The Portland, Maine Council points to a pilot program of the Quality Housing Coalition that gave a UBI of $1,000 a month to a group of 20 mothers for one year. The site outlines the program, which started in 2023 but does not detail its results. The program includes training for those receiving the benefit, but not whether this is designed to be a bridge program or a renewable subsidy.

Setting up a UBI program, which was initially the idea of Democrat Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, is rife with potential opportunities for fraud and, as stated earlier, inhibits a person’s need to work. Though $1,000 a month is not a living wage, it might keep someone out of the full-time workforce at a time when workers are needed in every sector of the economy.

The minimum wage was never meant to be a living wage for a family, but that is what Democrats are trying to create. Recently, a California Senate seat candidate suggested a statewide minimum wage of $50, which would be a yearly total of $104,000. The thinking is that this is needed to support a small family in California. Can you imagine the cost of a Happy Meal or a pizza if the person making it was paid $50/hour? Wages should be set by the free market and not by the government. Arbitrarily setting a high minimum rate to give the appearance you are working for the people is destroying small businesses, which actually are helping people.

This trend toward a Socialist government, which involves itself in every aspect of life, has to be shut down. Pro-government must be replaced with pro-people and pro-business. We must get Americans back to work instead of their mailbox to get their paycheck. Since COVID, the new jobs created nationally have been filled predominantly by non-American-born workers. This trend is contradictory to what the government is attempting to control. The immigrants are filling the jobs at lower wages than Americans. At the same time, the government wants to regulate minimum wages. It is a vicious cycle that the government should pull out of.

One more quick example of a government idea gone wrong is the plan by Brunswick to house illegal aliens relocating to Maine. Maine allocated nearly $3.5 million to provide apartments in five new buildings in Brunswick to 60 illegal immigrant families. This amount breaks down to $58,333 per family that is in our country illegally. There are over 200 homeless veterans living in shelters or on the streets of Maine. Most efforts to eradicate veteran homelessness are donation-based. It appears our priorities are very messed up.

Categories: Maine, Uncategorized