R. Macdonald: Beliefs, policies based on reality

Ding! I guess I really hit a nerve with Maine Equal Justice Partners guest column (April 15), "Fixation on fraud the wrong response." This time I wasn’t attacked by the help, but by Charles Dingman, president of Maine Equal Justice Partners’ board of directors.

Perhaps they are upset because our news conference at Lewiston City Hall changed welfare fraud from something that was deemed anecdotal by the Legislature to the reality that welfare fraud is out of control.

Simply put, we changed the legislative atmosphere from focusing on deceptive welfare recipients as societal victims to what they really are — criminals.

Welfare is a necessary part of society, used to temporarily assist our neighbors over a bump in the road of life. It is not meant to be generational, and it sure isn’t meant to be used as a retirement system for layabouts.

Meeting and listening to the working poor, I find that their concerns about drugs, crime, fraud and the distressed conditions of their neighborhoods (brought on by non-productive lay-abouts) mirrors mine.

The bottom line is Maine Equal Justice Partners does not have a clue about how to break societal poverty. The average eighth-grade student is able to conclude what those degree-rich social engineers can’t — enabling doesn’t work.

Unlike Maine Equal Justice Partners, my beliefs and policies are based on reality, not ideology.

Cry all they want, the investigations will continue and anyone committing fraud will be prosecuted.

Robert E. Macdonald, mayor, City of Lewiston

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PAUL ST JEAN's picture

It takes only a little bit of

It takes only a little bit of fact and reality to bring the boo birds out.
The point of the Mayor's letter was welfare fraud; not that the poor are collecting welfare. There have been poor people for over 2000 years and there will be poor people 500 years from now. The democrats will make sure of it. How else will they continue their power trip? Keep them on the dole and you're guaranteed their votes.

Jason Theriault's picture

No, the point was not that.

MacD was complaining about being criticized by Dingman. Why? Because Dingman said that focusing on fraud, which is a little piece of Welfare is part of the strategy of making those on welfare out to be cheats and layabouts. Like when democrats show a single mom being helped by it, Republicans can paint her as just having babies to be on the government dole, like welfare is some sort of vacation where life is easy and free.

Dingman want Republicans to focus on getting people off welfare not by cutting funds or kicking people off, but by getting higher paying jobs that a person can live on without welfare. Then we all win

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

When did it become the

When did it become the function of government to provide higher paying jobs for people so they won't need welfare? How about providing them (by teaching, which will require of them some effort to learn) with the skill needed to go out and find their own jobs. You, like so many other democrats, believe that it is the purpose and responsibility of businesses to provide jobs for people. The reality is that a healthy, well regulated, responsibly taxed, but modestly restricted business climate will create demand for a business's goods which will in turn require the business to hire help to create the goods. This is what creates jobs; not businesses, and certainly not the government. Supply and demand creates jobs. MacDonald can't create jobs any more than you and I can.

RONALD RIML's picture

The Government has been complicent in favoring

some parts of the country over others.

Jason Theriault's picture

Where did I say that?

I am not looking for the Government to provide jobs. I am looking for the Government to foster an environment that is conducive to job creation. While the Government can create jobs, that was not was I was suggesting. Hell, I agree with ya that "The reality is that a healthy, well regulated, responsibly taxed, but modestly restricted business climate will create demand for a business's goods which will in turn require the business to hire help to create the goods." 100% agree with that.

And MacD can draw jobs to the area. The Wal-Mart distribution center got some sweet tax breaks to locate here. That's what we need, more efforts to bolster Lewiston/Auburn's economy, not name calling and political drama.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The parrot sez Dingman said

The parrot sez Dingman said it, sort of, and should be made to walk the plank.
You and I appear to be in complete agreement, however.

 's picture

Reality what a joke.

I can find statements like the Mayor makes going back to before the Revolutionary War. Before welfare. Comfortable people have been saying these things about the poor perhaps forever. Its not reality. Its class hatred.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I read and hear, even from

I read and hear, even from our own president, vitriol attacks on the rich. To envy and exhibit hatred for the rich is an understandable human emotion. That is, they have what I do not for which I envy.

How and why should the rich hate the poor? What do the poor have that the rich envy?

Jason Theriault's picture


The poor have way more people in their ranks than the rich do. Thats why the rich pander to the middle class with promises of success and opportunity.

 's picture

The rich always need allies

but pandering is the wrong word. The rich create a myth of social mobility to tether the best and brightest to them. Its like winning the lottery; enough "make it" to entice a good number of the people into it. I was recently reading "Unruly Americans" about the reasons for the Contitutional Convention. Almost every page has some founder saying precisely what the Mayor did in one way or another. Could be government should transfer wealth to me because I'm most productive (or the Government should pay face value for depreciated continential paper in gold and silver which comes from the farmers who must pay taxes in species (taxes are on land and people therefore farmers pay much higher taxes than merchants. The mercant buys the depreciated continential paper with depreciated paper not species. Then ships his species to Europe where it will be safe. Leaving the farmer with worthless paper with which he can't pay taxes. And the government is complicit in this fraud which caused the agrian depression of the 1780's and the hundreds of rebellions that lead to the Convention.). And its the poor who will suffer from moral hazard.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Jonathan, Many people climb


Many people climb the social-economic ladder in contemporary America; why else is America a migration magnet of the world?

Just become some people fail, perhaps you, there is no need to advertise sour grapes.

The day American is no longer the migration destination of the world, then perhaps I’ll buy your sour grapes story.

Zack Lenhert's picture

"there is no need to

"there is no need to advertise sour grapes"...

C'mon Mark... you are consistently one of the most pessimistic commenters on these boards.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Well, I guess there are two

Well, I guess there are two general points of view one can align with.

If one likes larger government, then they may consider my comments pessimistic.

However, if one likes smaller government, like me, they may consider my comments optimistic, insightful, or pithy.

Whether I’m pessimistic or optimistic is in the eyes of each individual who takes the time to read my post. I’m okay either way.

Now to address comments about economic mobility directly; there were nearly 300,000 new millionaires in 2012. That would not be possible if economic mobility does not exist. To claim economic mobility does not exist is simply not true; perhaps there are a few sour grapes involved after all.

RONALD RIML's picture

A few remaining cents.....

And the wealthy will figure out a way to leverage them from the poor.

BTW - Vienna is nice; I haven't heard them all 'Wien'ing about "Gun Rights"

Be back to crazy-land in a couple of days......

MARK GRAVEL's picture

You talk like the poor cannot

You talk like the poor cannot control their spending habits or make wise financial choices.

Perhaps you don’t understand the language, so you don’t hear the whining.

RONALD RIML's picture

The 'Poor' don't have the lattitude of choice in spending habits

which more affluent persons have.

But what would you know of this with your 'Let them eat cake' mentality.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

If we measure “poor” using a

If we measure “poor” using a global standard, there are very few poor in the U.S..

That said, there is a gaggle of people with poor money skills.

Let’s give them beans and rice instead of cake and lobster.

Lastly, affluent person has more latitude in spending than the less affluent. It is like saying tall people have more latitude in reach than a short person – ostensible and nothing wrong with people having a different reach.

RONALD RIML's picture

If, If, If......

If you keep changing the parameters you always get to be right.

How Lucky you are!!!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Figures you would jump ship

Figures you would jump ship when asked to quantify your assertions.

Simple , define what it means to be poor in America?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

How is giving you my general

How is giving you my general definition of poor change the parameters?

Poor is subjective, I just quantified what I see when someone references the "poor".

Let’s have a dialog, how do you define “poor.”

I defer to you....

Jason Theriault's picture


In 2009 the estimated per capita income was $18,329. That's no " bump in the road of life", but a permanent road to poverty and suffering. Just looking at the stories coming from the fires shows that when they do hit a bump, they have no give, no margin for safety. They are homeless.

But hey, you got your zing in. Ding!

Now maybe you can figure out a way to help the 1000's of Lewiston's residents struggling to make ends meet, instead of sticking it to the 80 or some people abusing the system.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Ah, you do know how per

Ah, you do know how per capita income is calculated – right?

Jason Theriault's picture

On a computer

I'm pretty sure it uses math.

In all seriousness, I didn't calculate it, but it's the total income divided by the population.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

So in a population that more

So in a population that more people don’t work than work, the per capita dollars will be low.

In other words, the produces are carrying the non-producers.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

So, those screwing the system

So, those screwing the system should be allowed to proceed unimpeded?

Jason Theriault's picture

Just read the guest column....

Just read the guest column

The mayor missed the point. In his rush to declare victory, he entirely missed the point and actually proved Mr Dingman’s point. The Mayor is so intent on proving a political point, he is wasting time and effort demonizing the very people who need his help the most.

The mayor caught 80 cheats. How many people are on general assistance? 100’s? 1000’s? What’s his plan to help them? Or, is he just going to go back to LePage and crack some more jokes about them.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You don't consider 1000's too

You don't consider 1000's too many to be on general assistance?

Jason Theriault's picture

I do

I do consider 1000's too many to be making so little that the government has to give them money so they don't starve to death or become homeless.


Mr. Mayor, I have listened to

Mr. Mayor, I have listened to you speak at public hearings and I have listened to you speak to the press. Please take a public speaking class. If our children did oral reports the same way you speak in public they would fail. You really have no clue.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Only outcomes matter, not

Only outcomes matter, not story telling.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Why don't you run for Mayor

Why don't you run for Mayor and show us how it's done?


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