October 13, 2013

In his Oct. 11 letter, Edward Steinhouse argued for the elimination of the federal debt-limit law. While I agree with him that the law presents the opportunity for political “mischief,” I strongly disagree with his contention that it is superfluous.

To the contrary, it is a valuable reminder of our national profligacy. Whether due to chronic budget deficits or debasing the currency, both of which are currently in play, this continual bumping up against the debt ceiling is evidence that our national finances are not healthy. The day of reckoning because of consistently living beyond our means is inevitable, and the debt-ceiling debate is a useful warning along the way to the train wreck. I could agree to repeal the debt-limit law — as soon as we have a balanced-budget amendment in place.

John Supp, Mechanicsville

Last week, I tried to access the Agriculture Department’s Web site to get information about evergreen trees, and the message that popped up said that the site was not available because of the government shutdown. Is this gamesmanship or what? How much does it cost to run a Web site that is already operational?

As if government employees don’t already earn more and get more benefits than I ever will. I am having less and less sympathy for some of the players in this shutdown game.

Jan T. McCarthy, Keswick, Va.

It’s pretty clear that our federal legislature is broken, and it’s equally clear that Congress won’t fix itself. I live in Maryland, a staunchly “blue” state, yet with one of the most gerrymandered maps in the nation. I used to be a Democrat, but I’m disgusted with all of them. It seems to me that the only possible fix is through state legislatures and governors. They’re the ones who set legislative districts and rules about the election process.

So I have decided to query all candidates running for the Maryland legislature and seeking my vote about where they stand on “open primaries,” in which voters do not have to align themselves by party. I will vote only for state politicians — regardless of party affiliation — who agree that they will fight for open primaries. I hope that The Post, in its election coverage and summaries of candidates, will report on candidates’ positions on open primaries for federal and state elections.

Only when the candidates become representative of the electorate will the elected representative also represent me.

N. Jay Bassin, Silver Spring