Who’s at fault in fiscal meltdown?

Financial reform needs attention now!

One of the darkest hours in the financial history of America came to all of us in October 2009. The following collapse of the housing market, unprecedented job losses by Americans and the drying up of credit brought us to the tipping point of a financial disaster that we had not seen since the Great Depression.

Most of the established politicians in Washington were sitting on their hands prior to this emergency, but because we had a newly elected president who had the integrity and personal courage to do the tough thing and also the right thing, we launched a historic rescue mission of our financial institutions that stabilized them from collapse as well as to give us hope.

Now a year beyond that near fall off that precipice, we have an obligation to support President Obama in his efforts to bring about financial reform. It is apparent to most of us that the lending practices of the banking institutions need to be reformed drastically.

As well, we need to bring in more open and transparent regulations on the way that the stock market functions. Adding stronger governance procedures to the way that Wall Street trades in those complicated and risky ventures in derivatives is essential.

Now that we have regained some positive degree of economic stability, we should not either put our heads in the sand nor block the valid reform measures put forward by Obama.

Since he has been in office he has been fighting the sharp head winds of the opposing party. The degree that his initiatives are being challenged with such relentlessness is not over valid differences of opinion but a more crass line of behavior. America comes first and politics last.

John Oser

Parsonsfield

Votes by Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to block the “Restoring American Financial Stability Act” demonstrate that they will side with the interests of big banks over the future of working families and their hard-earned investments and savings.

It’s no secret that the risky gambling of Wall Street banks worsened a collapsing housing market and cost Americans 8 million jobs, while sucking up hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout money that would have been better spent on job creation.

Now, the big banks are at it again, gambling with Americans’ money, paying themselves massive bonuses and pouring millions into lobbying against financial reform.

Enough is enough. The more Congress delays and puts forth fake solutions that have been bought and paid for by the banks, the greater the risk of another economic collapse that will cost American workers more jobs and halt the economic recovery.

Congress needs to pass a strong, comprehensive financial reform bill now to end the casino economy of Wall Street and prevent further catastrophe for consumers. We hope Sens. Collins and Snowe will reconsider their positions on financial reform and put the public interest of working families in Maine over the private interest of Wall Street lobbyists.

Nikki McLean

Portland

Extend and pretend: That’s what modern “bankers” do with loans that they know will never be paid back. They extend the loan and pretend that everything is going to work out.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are poster children for these new types of “investments.” Congress, with the help of the genius “bankers,” created two institutions that exemplify and promote the concept of black hole banking, where money heads in a one-way direction to the other side of creation, never to be seen again.

Well, maybe at the Rapture it will return. Anyway, Greece just got another one of these loans courtesy of the European Central Bank. Spain is on deck and the list of countries that are headed not toward, but past bankruptcy keeps growing.

The United States is down the road a spell, only because we can keep printing money until the world runs out of paper and ink. The lesson that none of these genius “bankers” or esteemed marble-hall dwellers in Washington seems able to absorb is that, in the long term, this is very bad for business.

Sooner or later these “investments” are going to be worth what they are based on: nothing.

Barney Hildreth

Cumberland

City needs to monitor how homeless spend aid checks

A May 8 headline in the Portland Daily Sun said, “Stimulus aiding city’s homeless.”

Angela Harlin, the administrator for the city’s Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, looks at sustainability (if they can maintain their apartments when the funding ends).

What the article doesn’t say, and certainly she fails to address, is that the program has only helped those who are already receiving a government check in the form of monthly Social Security Insurance paid for by the taxpayers, because they did not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance since 80 percent have never paid into the system.

What happens to the rest of us?

Something is terribly wrong, horribly misplaced and what will hindsight say in the years to come? Did the federal government get something right, only to have state and local governments get it wrong?

When we talk about the overcrowding at the Oxford Street shelter, let’s try to remember a conservative estimate of 10 percent of them receive a government check and have been in and out of various apartments.

But since no one monitors how they are spending that money, some chose to forego the rent until they are evicted and end up back at the shelter. Some simply choose instead of paying the rent to buy video games, alcohol, drugs and other nonessentials. These are just a few examples of what they spend the taxpayers’ money on.

How many more real homeless people in Portland could be helped if the city simply monitored their expenditures? How much more could the stimulus monies have been used wisely, not to mention saved?

So once again the question begs for an answer: What about the rest of us?

John Russell

Portland

Critics forget all the good Poland Spring has done

Dana Connors is right on with his comments about Poland Spring.

During the ice storm of 1998, Poland Spring donated tractor-trailer loads of free water all over the state.

Have we forgotten this kind act? Once again, a small minority of those opposed to a subject like this one are the most vocal.

Activists like these, spreading lies and tons of misinformation, have pushed logging, hydro-electric dams, nuclear power, jobs and common sense out of our state.

And folks like me don’t often take the time to say “thank you” to Poland Spring.

Dave Libby

Falmouth