A proposal to allow 32,000 more senior citizens to enroll in the state’s PACENET prescription drug assistance program cleared the House this summer, and is now in the state Senate for consideration. This would be the first expansion of the program since 2002.
House Bill 2069, which I supported, would increase the annual maximum income limits in the PACENET program to $31,000 for a single person and to $41,000 for a married couple. Current maximum income requirements for the PACENET program, which covers those individuals with incomes exceeding PACE maximums, are $23,500 for a single individual and $31,500 for a married couple annually.
An adjustment in the reimbursement formula would allow the program expansion without additional costs on enrollees or additional funds from the Pennsylvania Lottery or taxpayers.
The PACE and PACENET programs provide low-cost prescription drugs to nearly 282,000 Pennsylvanians age 65 and older.
Both programs are funded from proceeds of the Pennsylvania Lottery. For more information on the programs, visit RepPayne.com, and click on the “PA-At Your Service” icon.
Small business grants
The Department of Environmental Protection is inviting manufacturers, retailers, service providers, agricultural businesses and other small businesses to apply for Small Business Advantage Grants to finance pollution prevention and energy-efficiency projects.
The grants provide funding to projects that include auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks, HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery systems and waste recycling systems.
The grant program is funded by the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act, which is financed by the state Capital Stock and Franchise Tax and Act 13 impact fees, as well as hazardous waste transportation and management fees, and hazardous sites cost recovery.
Applicants will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be accepted until fiscal year 2016-17 funds are exhausted or April 17, 2017, whichever occurs first.
For eligibility requirements and more details, visit RepPayne.com, and click on “PA-At Your Service.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 16:12
I was startled when I heard Donald Trump call for an ideological certification and extreme vetting for people entering the United States.
The whole concept of an ideology — a coherent system of beliefs and values that motivate individuals and groups — is something that is foreign to the American experience. I expected a headline the next day in The New York Times recognizing the strangeness of this proposal. There was hardly a mention and certainly not the outcry I expected.
For most political or economic theorists, ideology is a morally and analytically neutral term that expresses the existing ethos of a group or civilization or, in fact, any comprehensive normative vision. For most of the average American middle class, ideology is a 75 cent word of little practical use.
For the people who think about it, ideology is what we live by. However, a pejorative aroma lingers about the term which, especially for Americans, implies a rigidity and mindless conformity to some abstract rule or goal. “He is an ideologue,” is not a compliment.
The governing “Elite” are supposed to protect and maintain an ideology as a system that all of the people are expected to know and support for the common good. Except that is not the way Americans see it.
Americans have a problem. It is doubtful that America has an ideology that “all of the people are expected to know and support.” In fact, polarization across the spectrum of potential ideologies raises serious doubts about that mythical philosophical point.
To put it simplistically, the American ideology begins with democratic socialism on the left and runs to the right through alt-right. In addition, lots of people put themselves outside that spectrum but they still consider themselves full-fledged Americans. Who belongs to or is deserving of the American dream, if I can use that term, has to be chosen after “extreme vetting.” And someone has to get very specific about that ideology when in reality the ideology is as vague and amorphous as the values that make up the American dream.
The present ever deepening polarization in America’s economics and politics is a disagreements about our values. The Great Moderation of the 1950s and early 1960s witnessed a consensus about our value system. The political, sociological and economic changes in our society during those years were not reflected in the society around them.
The power centers held on to the status quo. The educational system, health care and manufacturing establishmentsfor instance, had not adjusted to the new reality and when they did in the late 1960s it was violent with riots in the streets and assassinations.
Then the society tried to catch up and did it with startling speed. The society embraced civil rights, changes in sexual mores, feminism and gay marriage.
Because these changes were sociological, the people could institute the change practically by themselves. What took money or political power, did not get done and will not get done until the power structure of the previous ideology ceases to stand in the way. In the meantime, the middle class is losing its place and it’s faith in what is left of the economic and political value system that they counted on.
Other areas such as global warming, tax reform, economic adjustment and political structures lagged because they require money, lots of it. Now consensual ideology exists to guide these changes.
Likewise, there was no agreement on who would pay and the 1 percent were not about to give up the money they had skimmed over the past 40 years. The polarization and strife represented by the rise of Donald Trump will not conclude just because he loses this coming election, if he does lose! The ideological base is going to have to be created and that is not yet in sight.
Nothing is more un-American or exclusionary than the idea of people being certified as ideologically correct and therefore worthy of entrance into the United States. That sounds more like Hitler or Stalin. In the meantime we have to ask what would a Trump administration certify to as a basis for allowing immigrants to enter the United States.
No one in his right mind would presume to know just where Donald Trump would go on that ideological spectrum. No one I know would presume to draft a certificate of worthiness.
Paul A. Heise, of Mount Gretna, is a professor emeritus of economics at Lebanon Valley College, Annville, and a former economist for the federal government.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 16:10
Written by diana mcglone
Over the continued path of our presidential election, I viewed the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate running for the presidency and I have determined who I will support.
Donald J. Trump is an example of the American dream and success story. He exemplifies that if one works hard and remains persistent, they too can be successful.
Mr. Trump started his career at his father’s real estate company. One of his first projects was to purchase a foreclosed apartment complex in Ohio. His investment wits and strategy soared the occupancy rate from 34 percent to 100 percent for that complex. He has been in the business of making something that many considered to be a loss, into something great.
His business and investment skills changed the skyline of America’s largest city, New York City. His success in business has transitioned to politics as he successfully defeated 16 other competitors for the Republican nomination.
Meanwhile, Secretary Hillary Clinton struggled to defeat a 75 year-old socialist from one of America’s smallest states. I guess Debbie Wasserman Schultz is good for something.
He is a government outsider. As such, his development projects put decent, hardworking Americans to work. He has been a better job creator than our current leaders.
From football and boxing sports to beauty pageants, and from television entertainment to golf courses — he simply has the Midas touch.
This example of success is needed in our country, particularly our government. Secretary Clinton has had a long career shrouded in scandal and corruption as she has unsuccessfully tried to claw her way back into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Leaving our diplomatic consulate in Libya unsecured doesn’t make me believe that she will make America safe.
Hillary’s refusal to use the term “radical Islam” makes me feel like she doesn’t take America’s security seriously. Talking about women’s health on one hand doesn’t make her a champion, while on the other hand she has fought to discredit the women that her husband has sexually harassed. As a woman, I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton.
I have no faith in the current Washington establishment of which Mrs. Clinton is part of. We need an outsider that can shake up Washington in the best interest of the United States. I believe Mr. Trump will nominate a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court who will protect religious liberties and restrain the left’s appetite for eroding traditional family values. He would also nominate a justice to the court who will uphold the Second Amendment, a right which President Barack Obama has tried and failed to erode.
Washington’s elite has been slow to improve our economy and they refuse to relax the tax code on the middle class to increase consumer spending, reduce government regulations to improve commerce, and relax energy restrictions to ease consumer’s energy costs.
Four years of Mrs. Clinton, will be 12 years of Mr. Obama. We cannot afford to let a leftist retain the White House beyond Jan. 20, 2017.
Middletowners, aren’t you tired of Washington telling you what you should do with your money? Aren’t you tired of Washington dithering, while our immigration system needs to be reformed? Oh by the way, how is that Obamacare working out for you?
Donald will make our country safe again by securing our borders and supporting our law enforcement personnel. Donald will make our country great again by reforming the tax code, reforming the Veterans Administration that is broken and not meeting our veterans’ needs, and repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a system more affordable that has a better price transparency for consumers.
Donald will end the elitist Washingtonians party and make the government work for the people. He will be our voice, he will represent our interests.
That is why on Nov. 8, my vote will be for Donald J. Trump for president of the United States.
Diana McGlone represents the Third Ward on the Middletown Borough Council Reach her by email at
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 16:03
Written by Ed O'Connor
Happy anniversary! As I write this, today, Sept. 6, is the fifth anniversary of us losing our home and possessions in the flood waters of Tropical Storm Lee.
If the floodgate that is under Route 230 in Lower Swatara Township had not been closed and locked, thus allowing the water to back up and inundate our residence for eight days, we might not be enjoying our new life here in Cuenca, Ecuador.
But to be fair, thanks also to the various governments’ oppressive taxes that provided the additional impetus for us to make the move.
Hope you enjoyed a great Union Day weekend. The last time I was back in Middletown was two years ago when I returned to participate in the big Union Day fast pitch softball tournament in Elkland.
When I returned to M-town in 2014, the streets were torn up and there was but a handful of businesses in town. Has that changed? Has that improved? I was thinking about the small business situation in your town when we walked outside of our apartment today. I looked around and saw so many stores, shops, eateries, etc. close to where we live and was curious.
So Olga and I decided to walk one block in each direction from our apartment, (that is, north, south, east and west for the geographically challenged), and make a note of the businesses. I was astounded at the list we compiled which I will share with you. First, across the street from where we live is a market that would be kind of like Saturday’s Market on steroids. It is one block wide by one block long. Here goes with the other stores, shops and businesses within one block:
• Animal feed stores, 4
• Architect, 1
• Auto supplies, 2
• Bank, 1
• Bakeries, 3
• Beauticians, barber, 5
• Bulk nuts, spices, 2
• Business copier sales, 1
• Car repair, 1
• Cellphones, electronics (sales and service), 5
• Christian book store, 1
• Construction distributors, 2
• Copy stores, 2
• Cosmetics, 3
• Credit union, 1
• Dance school, 1
• Day care center, 1
• Dentists, 3
• Doctors, 2
• Eateries, 20
• General stores, 6
• Hardware, 2
• Health drinks, juice, nutrition, supplements, 6
• Interior décor, 1
• Internet cafés, 3
• Jewelry, 1
• Laundromat, 1
• Lawyers, 2
• Locksmiths, key makers, 3
• Machine shops, 2
• Medical clinic, 1
• Mini-markets, 21
• Music, video, 3
• Newspaper stand, 1
• Parking lots, 2
• Peanut butter manufacturing, 1
• Pharmacies, 4
• Physical therapist, 1
• Plant store, 1
• Purse, backpack store, 1
• Real estate, 2
• Seafood, 4
• Seamstress, 1
• Shoes, 1
• Shoe repair, clothing alteration, 4
• Shoe shine stand, 1
• Small appliance repair, 2
• Specialty blender sales and service, 1
• Specialized dairy products, 1
• Sporting goods, clothes, 3
• Stationery, office supplies, 2
• Stores that sell things made of plastic, 3
• Tailor, 1
• Taxi stands, 2
• Thrift stores, 2
• Travel agencies, 2
• Trophies, 4
I kid you not, all within one block – and this does not include all the various street vendors. We live nine blocks from center city. I can’t begin to relate all the retail venues that are in the center of the city and beyond.
Another interesting aspect of business here which one would not see in the USSA, (Uninformed Socialist Slaves of Amerika) – many businesses selling the same type of product are located near each other.
For example: we were walking on one of the main streets and within two blocks saw 11 different auto parts stores. Within two blocks there are four major appliance/major electronic stores.
Most appliance stores also sell motorcycles. The biggest sports retailer downtown also sells plumbing fixtures and supplies. Restaurants are very close to one another. Retailing here is definitely a different ball game.
And speaking of anniversaries, our 11th wedding anniversary will be in less than a month. Can you imagine being married to me for 11 years? OK, keep your comments clean and to yourselves!
Until later from beautiful Cuenca ...
Eddy the Expat
Ed O’Connor, a former resident of Middletown and Lower Swatara Township, is an expatriate living in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 September 2016 16:12
Written by James E. Miller
Karl Marx didn’t get it all wrong.
I know that might sound shocking coming from a conservative writer, but the father of communism wasn’t completely off the mark when it came to human anthropology.
“The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones,” he wrote in the opening to the Communist Manifesto.
America’s unique form of liberal democracy created a society less refined and more enterprising than Europe. But it failed to put the hierarchies of old to rest. The knights and feudal lords of medieval times were merely replaced by industry leaders, and the serfs and slaves became the working class. The arrangements were now voluntary, but the authority remained.
Just as the Industrial Revolution altered our social structure, this election cycle has sparked a realignment of class interests. The battle for the White House between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a normal partisan affair.
But it also represents so much more — namely, a struggle between uncultured wage-earners and cosmopolitan elites.
It’s both a dollar and cents struggle and a fight over national vision.
As Ross Douthat remarked recently in The New York Times, “From now on the great political battles will be fought between nationalists and internationalists, nativists and globalists.”
The American political dynamic wasn’t always like this. As the sociologist Charles Murray points out, the divide between classes used to be different. “Yes, America had rich people and poor people, but that didn’t mean that the rich were better than anyone else,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal in February. Although they were separated by tax brackets, Americans still had a shared sense of common purpose and identity.
The explosion of non-European immigration following the 1960s altered the country’s demographics, threatening America’s large WASP population. The importation of cheap labor and the efficiencies engineered by globalism enriched the corporate class, while leaving low-skilled workers with fewer options to earn a buck.
So attitudes shifted. The elites, with fuller wallets thanks to improved production standards, detached itself from the people screwed over by the flattening globe. They preached inclusion and compassion while moving into gated communities, secure high-rises, and exclusive condominiums. The unlucky — whom sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild calls the “anxious middle” — were stuck in their old neighborhoods, left to deal with immigrants who had little incentive to assimilate.
When Donald Trump stepped onto the scene and announced his candidacy by promising to stunt illegal immigration (and saying a few unpleasantries about Mexicans), it was music to the ears of the angry and the dispossessed. Just like that, the wealthy real-estate developer transformed himself into the working-man’s candidate, and the enemy of corporate America.
With a striking blend of patriotism and populism, Trump has upended the GOP’s triad coalition of free-marketers, defense hawks and traditionalists. His “America-first” foreign policy is at odds with the neoconservative wing.
His protectionist tendencies are repellent to economic libertarians. And his prurient lifestyle turns off social conservatives.
In alienating much of the conventional GOP base, Trump has brought massive numbers of non-college educated whites into his fold. Polls show the mogul leading Clinton by double-digits among those without college degrees. For the first time in four decades, Democrats can no longer count on the working-class voters.
Clinton, on the other hand, is making inroads with moneyed Republican constituencies. Her openness to using military strength has garnered her the support of many Republican foreign policy advisers, including Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense under President George W. Bush. Hedge funds have pumped nearly $50 million into the Clinton campaign and various pro-Clinton super PACs. GOP Rep. Richard Hanna of New York is voting Clinton, as is Meg Whitman, a former GOP Senate candidate and CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
More revealing is that Clinton actually leads Trump among the college educated by big margins — a first for a Democrat. Clinton is the candidate of Davos and Goldman Sachs, a paramour of Wall Street, a darling of D.C. bureaucrats, a fetching choice to the well-educated, and a wannabe prefect of the fiction called “the global community.”
Trump is a rough-and-tumble, outer borough-raised reality TV-star with a love of luxury and country. His provincial positions have made him a traitor to his own class.
The political realignment we’re undergoing is so unusual, a fiction writer would struggle to think it up. A billionaire businessman has become the tribune of poor, white nationalists. The party of Tammany Hall is now led by a woman who hobnobs with the upper crust of American life.
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles,” Marx observed. In America, the struggle goes on, with each side led by a new champion.
November’s results won’t change this new dispensation.
James E. Miller, a native of Middletown, works as a digital marketer in Northern Virginia.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 September 2016 16:11