The results of the Executive Council elections show the injustice of the manipulation
Nov. 12 — To the Editor:
The recent election results for the New Hampshire Executive Council paint a perfect picture of how manipulation has distorted our representation. Republicans took four of the five seats, but given the total number of votes cast, that shouldn’t have happened. Statewide, Republicans won 301,723 votes and Democrats cast 303,223 votes. So the Democrats cast more votes overall, but only won 20% of the Council. With a fair distribution of votes, one would expect an extra seat or two to go to the Democrats. Republican maneuvering filled Warmington’s district with Democratic strongholds (she won by 20 points), leaving fewer Democrats spread across the remaining districts.
An attempt to get an impartial redisting commission to draw the districts (fairly) was opposed by Governor Chris Sununu. So he got his Executive Council stamp and the voters were cheated.
Whether my skin is thick or thin, I inspire bigotry
Nov. 12 — To the Editor:
I am pleased to read that T. Stephen McCarthy found my letter interesting, but I am afraid that he has misunderstood my position and therefore feels the need to clarify it.
I firmly believe that everyone has the right to express their opinion. And if Mr Brighton had written that he thought the councilor was stupid, or dishonest, or ugly, or stinky, or some other banal, insulting adjective, I’d disagree, but I wouldn’t mind.
The problem is when a historically persecuted class of people is used as a slur, thereby perpetuating a hateful stereotype that I find offensive. If, instead of using people with intellectual or physical disabilities as an insult, he had used any other group — be it a race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or nationality — his letter would (hopefully) have been met with widespread dissemination and harsh condemnation.
And while it’s true, as Mr. McCathy contends, that I may have thin skin (something I should probably see a dermatologist about), it’s better than having skin so thick that you feel don’t feel offended by bigotry when you see them.
$10 billion opioid deal not as impressive as it sounds
8 Nov – To the Editor:
On the face of it, the recently proposed opioid deal with CVS and Walgreens for a $10 billion ($5 billion each) payment seems like a good deal. (Walmart may also be part of this agreement.) The money would be paid to states, local governments and Native American tribes to help offset the costs of past and future programs to address the opioid crisis. CVS money will be paid out over the next ten years; Walgreen is to be spread over a period of 15 years.
The payment appears to be a substantial sum of money. But for comparison, in 2018 CVS paid a total of $68 billion to buy Aetna Insurance, so $5 billion really isn’t going to be a huge liability, and keep in mind that the money is meant to be paid out over a 10-year period roughly only about $500 million a year. That will come from corporate revenue that totaled just over $300 billion for CVS in 2021, with actual earnings approaching $7 billion. That makes the annual payout a little over 7% of company earnings, and consider that CVS’s actual profit margin has increased by about 10% each year, so that percentage will go down every year thereafter. Ultimately, regardless of the payment, it qualifies as a business expense, making it deductible, thereby reducing the amount the company owes Uncle Sam at tax time, which is a significant benefit to the company’s bottom line.
Then consider this: The $500 million is split each year as it is distributed to the various state and indigenous recipients of the funds. While the final formula has yet to be determined, NH’s stake could be close to, say, $10 million a year. This will certainly help fund important programs, but another relevant area of comparison is this: The current total annual compensation for the CEO of CVS is just over $20 million (the CEO of Walgreen gets just over $28 million) , and we can be confident that this number will increase significantly over the next decade.
Past profits stem in part from the over-marketing of the opioid products that created the conditions that formed the basis of the litigation that has now resulted in a settlement within each company’s decision as to what consumers will pay and you can safely rely on set higher prices over the next ten years.
So we should be very clear about who is actually paying for the comparison. It’s you and me. Whenever we buy goods or services from CVS (or Walgreen’s or Walmart) or buy a policy from Aetna, we as consumers assume the full cost of repairing the damage these companies have caused over so many years. The cost to our communities has been enormous; not so much in this comparison for CVS and the other companies involved.
Congressman-elect Balboni thanks voters and looks forward to serving in the district
Nov. 12 — To the Editor:
I would like to thank the citizens of Greenland, North Hampton and Rye for giving me the opportunity to represent them in the New Hampshire State House for their next term. In the past few months I have met many people who have taken the time to discuss their concerns and worries about our state government. I appreciate this contribution and I hope that during my tenure, residents will continue to reach out to me so I can be an effective representative of our communities.
During my campaign, I was encouraged by numerous friends, old and new, who gave advice, held meetings, campaigned with me, wrote letters, put up signs in their yard, held up signs at the elections, and most importantly, voted for me on November 8th. I am so thankful for your support! Special thanks to representatives Jaci Grote, Dennis Malloy and Jim Maggiore; Chris and Melanie Muns; Donna McCay and Donna Seigel and the North Hampton Democrats; Alice Passer and the Greenland Democrats; Stacey Brooks and the Rye Democrats; and my family for their patience and understanding of my campaign commitments.
I look forward to serving you in Concord.