Like millions of Americans, I would like to see reasoned, bipartisan solutions to our economic problems. So I found the March 13 edition of The Post incredibly interesting, with Rep. Paul Ryan’s vaguely magical proposal [“Ryan sets stage for a budget duel,” front page] contrasted with Martin Feldstein’s reasoned proposal to reduce tax expenditures [“The one-step solution to the budget mess,” op-ed], which is the first approach I’ve seen that sounds like a responsible way forward. Yet, because of partisan gridlock, I have no hope that our leaders will find a sensible way to a national solution.

Meanwhile, the front page also featured a photo of the gathering of Roman Catholic cardinals in the Sistine Chapel to elect the next pope. Later that afternoon, the 115 cardinals from around the world, representing more than 1 billion followers from different global cultures, suffering from major political and moral issues of their own, found a way to an agreement in only two days. Why must we continue to suffer while the two parties play to their own narrow political bases?

Richard Johnson, Potomac

Two images from the March 13 Post:

Photo, Page A1: High priests in medieval costume conduct secret rituals in their gilded citadel to determine which among them shall become the infallible conduit of the word of God.

Photo, Page A2: A remote-controlled robot on Mars sends back to scientists on Earth the results of its experiments indicating the planet once held the essential conditions for life.

What strange worlds we live in.

Stephen R. Coffee, Falls Church