A few weeks ago, it was reported that Lebanon’s public safety frequency had been illegally jammed to the extent that it was preventing emergency calls from going through, which obviously is a big problem.

When I say “reported,” I mean in a big way. It was front-page news in three weekly and two daily newspapers that I know of, including the Press Herald (“Radio jamming worries York County rescue units,” April 25), and it probably made all the television broadcasts as well, with a number of follow-up stories.

It was then reported May 9 that almost as soon as the feds got involved, the aforementioned jamming stopped.

So although the net effect was desirable, one might effectively argue that all the notoriety and attention might well have been a deterrent to the federal investigation to the extent that it’s hard to catch someone doing something, unless they are actually doing it.

I’m all for freedom of the press, and being aware of what’s happening in our communities, but I fail to see the benefit of making this such a major story before the perpetrator was caught. I don’t think it was worth the trade-off to have the bad guy still out there.

Bill Thomas

Sanford

Denial of health benefits wrong and impractical

Congratulations and thank you to Rep. Linda Sanborn of Gorham for her excellent column on the Maine Legislature’s poor judgment in denying health care benefits to individuals who are not citizens but who are legal residents of this country (Maine Voices, “MaineCare cuts will end up costing state far more down the road,” May 4).

She is right in saying that not only was this morally wrong but also makes no sense from a cost-benefit perspective.

Eliminating their coverage on the MaineCare plan won’t change the fact that these individuals will still continue to require health care services when faced with serious illness or trauma.

What will change is how the cost burden will be borne.

The cost will only be shifted from the state to our hospitals and ambulatory health care facilities in the form of charity care or simply remain uncompensated care.

In either case, as we all have come to learn, those costs are not simply “absorbed” by the system but rather they are passed on to the consumer.

The Catholic Church in Maine spoke to this very issue this year when the Appropriations Committee was deliberating the matter, as did the Maine Council of Churches.

As people of faith motivated by our belief that we are indeed our brother’s keeper, denying care to 500 of the most vulnerable people in Maine who are here legally simply because they are not citizens speaks poorly for our sense of compassion and justice.

Marc R. Mutty

director, Office of Public Policy

Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

Portland

Too few understand threat from massive national debt

A little perspective on our national debt:

It is said that few get excited about our enormous national debt as it is a number that most do not comprehend. Let’s try to put it into perspective.

One trillion dollars — if paid back at a dollar a second, it would take 32,000 years to accomplish. And we owe approximately $16 trillion in national debt. That means that if we paid back at the rate of $100/second it would still take over 5,000 years to pay off just the principle.

None of us is going to see us debt free in our life span at the current rate, with the economy still weak. Yet each and every one of us, including those who do not work at all, still owe $51,100 each as part of that national debt.

Since almost half are takers instead of makers, we compound that figure so that each taxpayer owes $138,400. Are you awake yet?

When one reads that federal spending on dependence programs, in our nation, has reached 70 percent of our national budget, it ought to send a message that these dependency programs must be rolled back.

It is not a matter of social concern for those who have less; it is now a matter of the entire nation being in jeopardy and in worse financial condition than Europe.

One little glitch and the house of debt cards will come tumbling down. Who then will feed and care for those in need?

I cannot understand the logic and reasoning of our government, who cannot see the outcome of spending more than you take in year after year.

Are they that ignorant as to the eventual outcome of that fiscal irresponsibility? This is a year for you to decide.

George A. Fogg

North Yarmouth

Austria an odd inspiration for tea party proposals

That the tea party has espoused Austrian policies is surprising (“State GOP stands by tea party platform,” May 9).

Austria is an economically stable country and has a low national debt; however, it was affected by the 2008 economic turmoil and moved to stabilize, support and even nationalize some of its banks.

I didn’t think the tea party went for government bailouts — even when it may prevent economic depression.

The collapse of one of Austria’s banks during the Great Depression led the way for the fall of many European and then American banks.

Austria is a social democratic republic. Its individual tax rates are quite high, going from zero to 50 percent. Above 11,000 euro (about $14,300), the tax rate is 36.5 percent; it is 50 percent on incomes above 60,000 euro (about $78,000).

Corporations pay a 25 percent tax, and the capital gains tax is 25 percent.

Its social security taxes are around 18 percent for individuals (employers pay about 22 percent). The social security tax covers medical insurance and pension contributions.

Austrians have social welfare benefits to prevent poverty. There are payroll and unemployment insurance taxes.

There are also real estate taxes, stamp taxes and the VAT tax, which is basically a national sales tax.

Austria has labor unions and collective bargaining agreements affecting the majority of the work force. There is compulsory military service.

It is geographically smaller than Maine yet has a population of 8 million to 9 million people.

What is it about Austria that the Maine tea party is channeling?

Linda Boardman

Cape Porpoise