The editorial Feb. 8 discusses abuse of the word "politics." Practically every policy position of an opposition party is now labeled “playing politics.” Gov. Paul LePage used the term in his State of the State speech to attack his opponents.
Another misused word in public policy discussions is “fair.” The word gives an emotional charge for those who advocate higher tax rates for those who earn more than a middle class wage.
The correct term is progressive taxation. A progressive tax structure is the concept that those who earn more should pay a share disproportionate to those who earn less.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines fair first as “in accordance with the rules.” The sentence imposed on an individual convicted of a crime is considered fair if sentencing is in accord with the rules of sentencing. It is not judged to be fair based on what the victim believes to be fair or on the defendant's family's opinion.
An individual's opinion on what tax rate their neighbor should pay should not be the criterion of fairness.
The harm to society is that as citizens develop the opinion that they are being treated unfairly, a feeling of discontent is leading to a lack of faith in public offices, legal institutions and economic systems, resulting in a breakdown of society's trust in government.
I hope we stop hearing the accusation “playing politics” as well as the rabble rousing phrase “paying their fair share” in future debates about public policies.
Carol Rea, Auburn