Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011: Economic bubbles, church and state and slot machines

Posted Nov. 14, 2011, at 4 p.m.

The next bubble

Less-developed country debt crisis? Savings and loan crisis? Internet and telecom crisis? Credit and housing crisis? Those will pale compared to the next one.

Where is it lurking? Right in front of you. On every radio and television station and throughout every conceivable media outlet. The tragic abuse of three words: real, matters and deserve.

Have you noticed? Real stories from real people. Chase what matters. Because your family deserves the very best (versus who, your neighbor?). Buy Wendy’s because you know when it’s real. Because you matter more. ESPN: Real gear for real fans. Nutrisystem: Real food for real guys. Covergirl: Give your eyes the color they deserve. Perhaps thousands of similar ads. Deserve, real and matters, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Every time a paid shill utters these words, she is confirming what most of you already know: This country has never been less real, it has never been more distrustful and it has never felt less genuinely connected than it does today. Feeling like just a number sometimes? You should, because most of you are.

Is late-stage capitalism to blame? Hard to say.

What I do know after spending 20 years on Wall Street is that bubbles never end well, particularly for the majority of American people.

This one won’t either, and I suspect its repercussions will echo far beyond the daily headlines and become a chapter in the historical narrative of the country’s eventual demise.

Tick, tick, tick…

C. McLane Smith

Portland

Backwards letter

Bill Hale’s “One Percent Solution” letter to the editor, which advocated that local Occupy Wall Street protesters camp out on Stephen and Tabitha King’s lawn, has it backwards. Tax-supported public land belongs to the people and is the perfect place for Occupy Bangor to gather to exercise the constitutional right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The Kings may belong to the 1 percent but their generosity to this community is admirable and I’m sure 99 percent of Bangor would agree.

As for Mr. Hale, let him eat cake.

Jerry Metz

Addison

Shame on Hinck

The Monday, Nov. 7 top story in the state section of the Bangor Daily News was about possible LIHEAP reduction to Maine by the federal government. This money is received by many low-income, seniors and disabled people to assist with their fuel costs over the harsh Maine winters.

Gov. Paul LePage was asked what he would do if the funds were cut. He replied that he would ask the Legislature to dip into Efficiency Maine, a quasi-state agency that deals with promoting energy efficiency and receives $53.5 million in surcharges and federal dollars in the next two years.

I was very surprised that Jon Hinck, the lead Democrat on the Legislature’s Energy Committee, criticized the governor for considering such a move. Democrats profess to be champions for the poor and disabled, but evidently he is more concerned about losing the $53.5 million Democratic slush fund than the help for the less fortunate among us.

Fortunately, an article on the same page explained his position. Hinck announced that he was entering the race to unseat Olympia Snowe for the U.S. Senate. He certainly doesn’t want to upset the Democratic hierarchy by raiding that amount of federal dollars by sending it to seniors, the poor and the disabled.

Shane on Rep. Jon Hinck, the Democrat from Portland, for putting party politics above the people of Maine.

Dale F. Whitney

Machias

Back to God

America was established with a moral fiber but now it’s being eaten up by the lust and greed of those who are self-righteous. What was good is now evil and what was evil is now good.

Concerning the issue of the separation of church and state: this language does not even appear in the constitution. The concern of our founders was that no particular church group would become the state religion of our country, as it was in England. It didn’t mean separation from God; there’s no separation from God. The nation that is separate from God will not have his blessing and protection. America is fast becoming a heathen nation bent on tossing all moral, honest and family values right out the window.

There are still a lot of good moral people in America. We need to stand up and speak out about corrupt government, corrupt laws and corrupt family values.

I write this letter not out of belligerence but out of sadness and a great sense of concern about our beloved country. It is important that we recognize the worsening condition of our country, but also to know that things can change through a return to godly principles. Let us remember the words of God in II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Gloria Boynton

Prospect

Ban slots

I have a dream. Next year, I want a referendum on banning slot machines and gaming tables in the state of Maine. Let’s get back to the old days of high-stakes Bingo on Native American territories and the state-run lottery system.

Fred Rogers

Calais

The 1 percent and immigration

Occupy Wall Street, along with many OpEd writers, (“Wealth disparity is national shame,” BDN, Nov. 8) are focused on the unprecedented economic disparity in America today. The top 1 percent of incomes captured half of all economic growth between 1993-2007. Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman calls these numbers “astonishing” on his blog.

Although there are multiple reasons for this disparity, one of the major reasons is almost never mentioned, namely, immigration policy. We have swamped our labor market with more than 40 million new immigrants in less than four decades. At the same time, we outsourced millions of good-paying jobs.

The arrival of so many new workers, whose numbers are set by the federal government, is driving down wages, forcing the poor and increasingly the middle class to compete against each other in a race to the bottom. And despite astronomical unemployment today, the level of immigration remains unchanged.

In his book, “Heavens Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy,” Dr. George Borjas of Harvard reports: “In dragging down wages, immigration currently shifts about $160 billion per year from workers to employers.”

In short, the savings from cheap labor travels upward. And no group is more harmed by these policies than previous waves of immigrants.

We need to discuss immigration policy without labeling people as “anti-immigrant” or accusing them of “blaming the immigrants.”

Jonette Christian

Holden

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