I have many issues with Professor Susan Feiner’s commentary. A few nonpolitical ones follow.

Money — a medium of exchange, a measure of value: Professor Feiner confuses money with asset and liability columns used to record who owes what to whom. When you, or I, or a business “click,” we are moving money from one column to another. The money still exists.

The Treasury should “bring state spending back to 2008 levels”? How? Is Professor Feiner advocating for the Treasury to monetize state debts? Are you serious? The last thing I want is for federal funds to facilitate the profligate spending of states like California.

Since 2008, the Federal Reserve balance sheet has tripled to almost 3 trillion dollars. This is where the loanable funds have “exploded” from. 

Why are the majority of these funds still unloaned? Because you and I are trying to get out from under the debt we already have. It is called “deleveraging.”   

Quantitative Easing 1 and 2 and Operation Twist have not restored growth to the economy. Printing, or “clicking,” more money will do nothing more than cause greater misallocation of resources than we have now.

U.S. short-term interest rates are negative because other nations consider the U.S. dollar a safe haven. Why? Because they have faith in the U.S. to keep the dollar fiscally sound. If the Federal Reserve began printing unlimited dollars, the interest rate would go up — maybe not this year, but eventually. 

Obviously, I have serious disagreements with Professor Feiner. However, I do agree with her general concept of applying a Keynesian approach to assisting the U.S. economy, as long as federal funding is used for projects that have a multiplier effect on the economy, such as infrastructure. Our roads and aging electric grid certainly could use some attention.

Malcolm Weatherbie

Cape Elizabeth

Susan Feiner and our president want us to believe everything would be fine if the governments had just spent a lot more of our money over the past few years (“Why baseball can never run out of home runs,” Aug. 5).

These theories of economist John Maynard Keynes failed in the Great Depression and are still wrong.

Ms. Feiner and President Obama want the feds to get our states hooked on “free money.”

Tried that, too, a couple of years ago, and it didn’t work then either. Just put the states deeper in the hole. Obamacare is trying to accomplish the same thing.

She mentioned our currently low interest rates. So obviously she knows even government debts must be borrowed, even if they aren’t paid back.

When interest rates inevitably return to normal, our interest payments will be a bigger expense than defense, health care and education combined.

That will cause even larger debts (deficit spending).

China and Japan own more of our debt than anyone else. After World War II, we owned so much British debt, we forced them to replace the pound sterling with the dollar as the world’s currency. Do we want to be forced to use the yen?

We must drastically cut spending.

And, by the way, our government has never used more taxes to reduce debt — they just use it to spend more.

So don’t believe Obama’s ads, either. Send him to the showers — he’s run out of runs.

Bill Thornton


Material used in cellphones hazardous to users, makers

Kudos to Devra Davis, quoted in the article “Probe a wake-up call on cellphone safety” (Aug. 5, Page 1), for having the guts to question cellphone safety.

Radiation is a huge concern, and I believe it can indeed be a carcinogen for certain cellphone users (those susceptible to radiation poisoning). Cell towers’ energy emanations also contribute to human health problems.

Although the article was excellent, I must add that coltan (also known as “columbite-tantalite”) is a possible risk.

Coltan (aka “niobium”) is processed into tantalum, a metallic powder used in cellphones and every other techno-toy mankind feels they “need.” (More likely it’s subliminal advertising by cellphone companies’ stimuli bringing forth such rabid “have to have” responses; Pavlov likes it.)

Tantalum is used because it stops techno-toys from overheating. I have never seen any test results concerning the use of coltan-tantalum. Were these substances’ properties ever tested for safety? Does Davis believe that the coltan-tantalum connection is causing the radiation emanations?

I see “techno-toy zombies” everywhere, yakking on the phone while they’re driving a car. (I believe the only thing an auto driver must be doing is driving the auto — period.)

It is astounding that most of humanity has been fooled into believing they need cellphones and other techno-toys by cellphone-computer companies that are happy to take the zombies’ monthly money so they can yak on and on and on.

Shame on the capitalistic canyon dwellers who rip off the gazillions of humans who are hooked on their poisoned perceptions and possessions. They never tell you about the deaths of billions of bush meat species that the mining of coltan causes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (where coltan is mainly harvested).

If coltan causes health problems for cellphone users, just think of the havoc and problems it causes for those who mine it.

Jackie Freitas


Learn a lesson from history: Don’t raze historic bridge

In 1931, the Waldo-Hancock Bridge was opened. The first permanent span over the Penobscot River, the soaring, majestic bridge was an engineering marvel of its day and opened Down East Maine to millions of vacationers traveling Route 1.

Now the Maine Department of Transportation wants to tear it down starting Oct. 1, mere weeks away. Why the rush? Where is the public debate?

The MDOT says the bridge is too old and decrepit. Old it is, but consider the Golden Gate Bridge, opened in 1934 using identical design and materials. Or the Eiffel Tower (1889) or the Brooklyn Bridge (1884). Can you imagine the outcry if these historic structures were destroyed to save the cost of maintenance?

Why is it that the people of San Francisco, Paris and New York preserve and cherish their historic structures while we Mainers tear ours down? Remember Portland’s Union Station? Shame on us if we let it happen again.

The MDOT spent millions on new supplemental cables in 2003, restoring the bridge to its original load capacity. Where is the return on that investment if we simply tear it down?

The MDOT also failed to make provision for pedestrians on the new replacement bridge. For the cost of tearing down the old bridge, it could be modified for pedestrians and bicycles, linking historic Fort Knox with the resurgent Bucksport waterfront and providing a needed service for years to come. Let’s at least talk about it before it’s too late.

J. Michael Davis

Stockton Springs

Violent image distracts from article’s real point

Regarding the Aug. 12 Maine Sunday Telegram article titled: “Election 2012 — This ad’s for YOU!”

Many people in the United States appear to have a fascination with and a reliance on their private arsenals — arsenals that spawn an exceptionally high rate of murder by firearms in the USA.

Is it likely that we can move toward stopping violence by publishing a visual depiction in the Telegram of a woman’s manicured hand firing a gun? Does the visual even vaguely relate to the topic of the article: the coming elections?

Shame, shame, shame on the editorial staff of The Portland Press Herald! They all participated in the use of a violent image to accompany a thoughtful essay on the use of Internet technology for reaching voters in the different demographics in our multicultural state and nation.

Agnes B. Dailey