I propose people be allowed to voluntarily say where their taxes will go. Those of us who really want to see debt reduction will be free to put our money where our mouth is.

The IRS could set up a link on its website and assign a few folks to deposit any checks coming in with the word “deficit” in the comments line. All such funds would be specifically used for deficit reduction over and above current government payments.

We could expand on this by allowing citizens to contribute voluntarily to specific departments within the government. Worried about national security? Donate to the Pentagon. Concerned about infectious disease? Write a check to the CDC.

We could even make it super easy by making it an annual event; when you send in your income taxes you could check off a voluntary contribution box and write “deficit,” “Army” or “HUD” in the space provided and enclose a corresponding check.

This would also allow low-income patriots to participate, by contributing some or all of their refund. I may be down to $400 a week, but I would pony up for that, wouldn’t you?

Then there’s something old — war bonds. We could at least bring back home our debt and the revenue it generates in interest payments by issuing “deficit bonds.” Just like war bonds in World War II, we could encourage youngsters to start a college fund by buying and holding bonds. We could hawk them at movie theaters and ballparks. We could require FDIC-insured banks and credit unions to advertise and offer them.

This way even those who have a hard time understanding why they should pay their share would be able to see there is something in it for them.

Karen Alcott


 When diabetes strikes, results can be deadly 

It isn’t news to me that diabetes is on the rise in Maine. On Nov. 23, my wife, Jane Eva Powers, lost her battle to this disease, which had also taken the lives of her sister and mother, all around the age of 55. Jane turned 55 on Sept. 9, and we celebrated on our 7th wedding anniversary on Oct. 18.

In Jane’s case and those of her sister and mother, there was a genetic disorder that made it only when, not if, each would lose her battle to diabetes. I felt so terribly helpless when Jane died that afternoon in November. I thought I had failed her, but did not learn until later that it was only a matter of time.

So the news that Maine ranked 27th in the nation in percentage of population with diabetes did not surprise me, but saddened me instead. I don’t want to think about the emotional ride that we went through together, each time hoping and praying the ambulance would come. Up until the morning of Nov. 23, the EMS rescue crews would save the day.

This time,nothing could change the outcome; Jane had finally succumbed to the inevitable. She would join the countless others who have fought and lost their battle to diabetes. The human cost? Well, at the ripe old age of 66, I lost my best friend, my soulmate.

I ask all of you to live a healthy lifestyle and begin to reverse this terrible toll that diabetes has taken.

Frank Powers


Bankers, officials learn ‘infinite debt’ isn’t real 

The great global banking Ponzi scheme of the last few decades is unraveling. The bond kings and derivative ghosts are starting to twitch and mumble.

Nervous bankers are bailing out entire countries, and then bailing out the bailouts of the bailouts, and so on and so forth. Reconsider, reconfigure, refinance and readjust all day, next week, next year, year after year, but one inescapable fact just will not go away.

The concept of infinite debt is not looking like such a great investment after all. Yes, you knew that already, but the bankers seem to have a problem with this reality. The big holders of infinite debt don’t want to take a “haircut” on their piles of worthless paper.

Back at Camp Chloroform (in Washington), the central bankers have been teaching the investment bankers that reality is nothing that can’t be fixed. Counselors Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke are leading a two-day intensive session on “Channeling Amnesia” and its corollary adjunct of disproportionate negative articulation: “Default is not an option. How did I get here?”

Confident that he has the best brains in the business working on it, the president gets ready to do some heavy lifting of his own, as in raising the debt ceiling so we can borrow more money to pay the interest on the money we borrowed last year.

Two plus two equals 10. Say good night, campers.

Barney Hildreth


Leaving hints for crooks always a terrible idea 

Usually I do not agree with the letters that gun-control advocate Cathie Whittenburg writes to your newspaper because I think that she is against even BB guns. But her letter of June 28 to your newspaper really hit a nerve.

I’m tempted to say I couldn’t agree with her more when she says that a new law allowing Mainers to leave a gun in an unattended vehicle for eight hours a day at work, especially if you have a bumper sticker on your car proclaiming membership in the NRA or the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, is like putting a sign on your car telling thieves, “Gun in car; owner inside at work.”

So she’ll be glad to know that I have scraped off my truck the NRA signs, the one that says “Gun Nut in Truck,” the one that says “I Love Guns” and the other ones proclaiming gun ownership.

Maybe we should take this a few steps further.

If you own a television and you have an antenna on your roof, probably thieves will break into your house to steal the TV. So I have taken my antenna off the roof so no one will know I own a TV.

The problem is, I cannot get any reception now so I have to watch one channel. But at least no one will know I own a TV.

I only hope that Whittenburg appreciates what I am doing to take a bite out of crime.

Buck Buchanan


Editor makes sense, while Augusta doesn’t 

As a 47-year-old male, I understand from past studies published in this paper that I am in the group that most reads and gets most of its news from newspapers. I have subscribed to The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram most of my adult life.

As a moderate Democrat, I want to commend the top editor of this paper, Richard Connor, for many of his opinions expressed in the editorial column.

From the silliness of removing the labor mural because it only depicted laborers, to the dumbness of changing gun laws when our laws seem to be working fine, to the meanness of tabling the bullying law because it was too one-sided (who will help the bullies if they get bullied?), to his support for the eight Republican lawmakers who published an article critical of Paul LePage, to his constant pleading for the governor and Republican lawmakers to make some responsible fiscal changes, and to his exasperated pleading for the governor to show some dignity, I am reaffirmed that a “moderate” means common sense — which is why we both voted for Eliot Cutler.

What we have in Augusta, to a degree I could have never imagined, is a right-wing freak show.

John M. Donahue

South Portland