In 2001, when President George W. Bush proposed tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans totaling more than $1.35 trillion, Maine’s two “moderate” Republican senators had no problem in voting for those cuts, which were designed to help the richest 1 percent of the population.

The whole argument for the tax cuts was that the rich help drive the economy but, as can be seen in the intervening years, those tax cuts did nothing to help the economy and contributed to the current recession.

Contrast that with now, when serious health care reform is being debated that would give more choices and coverage to 98 percent of the population at a cost of roughly $1 trillion and what do the senators do? They demand that the process be stalled so they can water it down and make it less effective.

Reforming health care so everyone has coverage options will benefit not just individuals, but small companies and large corporations as well. The return on investment in health care is incalculable. When businesses are freed from their biggest monthly human resource expenditure, their competitiveness worldwide will grow quickly and tax revenues will increase and the nation will get back to having a balanced budget, something which Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins pretend to care about.

It is time for the senators to publicly explain their amazing hypocrisy. When presented with a choice, they quickly help the richest 1 percent, but for the rest of us? Not so much.

Dave Chirayath, Lewiston

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