Alas, our three heroes who showed such courage, wisdom and compassion when saving the Affordable Care Act this summer have allowed the Man Behind the Curtain to turn them back from defeating a tax bill that would negate their brave stand on health care, threaten our vital social programs, and widen the income gap while exploding the national debt.

Regarding health care, removing the ACA’s individual mandate will allow President Donald Trump to finally reach his goal of destroying Obamacare. Sen. Susan Collins is holding out for the passage of the Collins-Nelson and Alexander-Murray bills, but the Congressional Budget Office determined they are inadequate.

Regarding our entitlement programs, it was clear that these programs were not safe when Republicans unanimously voted down an amendment requiring a supermajority to pass any bill that would take funds from Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security to fill the gap left by tax breaks for the wealthy. Borrowing from Social Security is already so heavy that it comprises a sizeable portion of the $20 trillion national debt. The Republican leadership promised Collins that they would not raid Medicare, but while crossing their hearts were they also crossing their fingers?

In 10 years, the Trump bill will add another $1 trillion in debt, and after seven years, taxes on 50 percent of Americans will rise, while corporate tax breaks will remain permanent. Will these corporations use their windfall to stimulate the economy? Data suggest that corporations would rather invest in job-killing mergers and acquisitions.

Our heroes are under a tremendous amount of pressure to rush Trump’s tax bill through Congress, but we must ask them to again find the wisdom, courage and compassion to find an equitable, well-thought-out solution to America’s fiscal woes. There is too much at stake to do otherwise.

Melanie Lanctot

Readfield