The U.S. has a mountain of debt. This massive debt extends decades into the future and will be a continual drag on our economy.

Entitlements are the major source of the debt problem and must be addressed. We cannot say cut “x” or “y” and in the same breath say “don’t touch my Social Security” or “don’t touch my Medicare.” If we truly care about our kids and grandkids, we will not leave them with this debt.

That would be immoral. Whatever we paid into it, whatever we think we earned doesn’t matter any more. It is too late. Government pensions and pay scales, military pensions, retirement eligibility, and all of the rest must be on the table.

As a start, would an immediate increase in contributions toward health care and pensions or a decrease in benefits hurt? Probably not! Would an immediate increase in the age for retirement eligibility hurt? No!

All of us have to pitch in to solve this. This does not mean the “collective” notion of “shared sacrifice,” which is just a way of trying to get people to accept more taxes and the ever-increasing size of government and is not a long-term solution.

What is needed is a sacrifice by all of us to cut government fiscal liabilities to get our financial house in order. Limiting government size and reach is the only way to keep this from repeating itself in the future.

We must actually demonstrate to our kids that we care about their future. Their very liberties and freedoms depend on it.

Burnell Bailey

South Berwick

As global recession looms, we can trace its roots to University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman and President Ronald Reagan.

Sadly there has been little retrenchment from Friedman’s deluded view of human nature and economics, which appeals to the basest of human nature. It appeals to the bullies, the greedy, the power-hungry misogynist bigots, and sadly those who fail to study widely and challenge their own beliefs on a regular basis.

No administration since Reagan is blameless, nor any Congress, and now we have a Supreme Court that embraces Friedman in spite of the Constitution and precedence.

As Aldous Huxley so aptly stated: “That men learn very little from the lessons of history is the most important lesson of history.”

John Wood

Hollis

I have been lied to, pushed around and used by Republican and Democratic “leaders.” More fool me, I have even voted to elect Democrats to public office. Well, I voted them in and I can vote them out. They are my employees, not my lords.

There are about 215 million people of voting age in this country. Too many of them are trapped in poverty, struggling in low end jobs, afraid that they will lose what little they have, and frustrated and angry about congressional and presidential failure to meet their needs.

This is a call for all those people to join me in creating a government that works. This is a call for the people to unite, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as people who want their government back. This is a call for people who still believe in a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Forget about writing to your congressman, forget about raising funds for campaigns, forget about signing petitions for this or that. Forget about taking to the streets in mass demonstrations. We don’t need them. We have the vote! The people can take back their government if they can decide on an agenda for change, find candidates for office who will commit to the right agenda and then vote them into office.

In broad terms, the main goals of the People’s Agenda for Governmental Excellence are getting serious about peace, creating an economy that works for everyone, reforming the tax code, providing public funds for campaign financing, making health care available for everyone and supporting Social Security.

Hubert Kauffman

Oxford

OOB should join other towns, ban beach smoking

As a Maine resident, I respectfully wanted to submit some concerns I had about your article on Old Orchard Beach’s potential smoking ban on the beach.

I understand that in Maine we thrive off tourism and need and want to keep those tourists happy who come from near and far to enjoy our beautiful beaches and parks.

However, surveys consistently demonstrate that more than 75 percent of Mainers support smoke-free environments including restaurants, bars, homes, workplaces, parks and beaches. Further, when the state laws went into effect banning smoking in restaurants, bars and state beaches and parks, there was no negative impact on business or tourism.

Most importantly when discussing tobacco policies, the issues regarding the extreme dangers of secondhand smoke are critical.

Reliable and credible sources such as our nation’s highest medical official, the U.S. surgeon general, as well as Stanford University researchers have published reports warning about the dangers of secondhand smoke in outdoor settings.

This research proves that drifting secondhand smoke can indeed pose a significant health risk for nonsmokers sitting or standing near smokers outdoors.

Conclusions from researchers include that smokers need to be at least 20 feet away from non-smokers in order to avoid concentrations of secondhand smoke and that contaminant levels can be as high in outdoor settings as in indoor settings.

This is important since we know that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that even brief exposure can trigger an asthma attack or heart attack.

I hope that OOB councilors will follow in the footsteps of the other five large beach towns and see the wisdom behind a tobacco-free beaches policy which will protect our beaches, people, pets and wildlife for generations to come.

Tina Pettingill

Scarborough

Closing island post office only a temporary problem

The Portland City Council claims if the Cliff Island Post Office is closed, “It would mean a three-hour round trip by ferry for residents who need to mail packages.”

What nonsense. Within weeks of the closure a private service, or competing services, would spring up to replace the lost government office.

The same is true of a great many government-provided services, local, state and federal.

Nicholas Walsh

Yarmouth