G.H. Bowers Jr., Springfield
I was stunned to see the March 21 Metro article “Bloom and doom.” When our country is facing a pandemic of proportions that none of us has ever experienced and health experts are urging social distancing to control the virus, The Post made light of the situation by writing about an elderly trio (one of them 96 years old!) making a “jail break” from their retirement community to see the cherry blossoms.
These individuals made a poor choice that could endanger not only their own health but also the health of many others who are highly vulnerable in the retirement community. It is irresponsible to write about it as though it were just an amusing springtime outing. Please take this pandemic seriously and quit promoting such irresponsible behavior.
Carol Radomski, Silver Spring
While many may agree with the sentiment that a complete “lockdown” is hardly what the United States needs at this moment, it may represent a fundamental misunderstanding of the current epidemic and epidemiology in general. I am a practicing cardiologist, and many of my patients feel that they do not need to stop smoking, take a particular medication or exercise. While I may empathize with their desire to continue these behaviors, their behaviors proceed to harm them regardless of my feelings.
If our best epidemiological minds decide that the most likely way to save thousands of Americans is to lock down for several weeks, then not following their advice is a choice to allow thousands of our fellow citizens to die. That sentiment sounds a lot like our administration’s response to the intelligence reports presented in January and February outlining the coming epidemic as it made its way into the United States from China. Allowing the United States to stay open for business may preserve our economic growth rate and may help thousands of teenagers fight off boredom, but that choice must be made with a clear understanding of the trade-off, not just a feeling about what Americans need or are willing to sacrifice.
Jeffrey Jackman, Arlington
Regarding the March 21 news articles “More ordered home as economy reels” and “Burr seeks Senate Ethics Committee review of his stock sales”:
The intelligence community issued warnings about the global danger of the coronavirus in January and February; however, this information was provided to a select few lawmakers, including the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in regular briefings. At least one member of each committee financially profited from access to privileged information. During this time, the rest of the citizenry was receiving delayed and often conflicting messages from the highest levels of our government on the potential economic impact and health risk of the virus.
Though the information gathered and analyzed by the intelligence community had at the time and may still have national security implications, it also was the beginning of a public health crisis.
The citizens of this country deserved to have the same information as our lawmakers so they also could make informed judgments and decisions about news that would personally affect them.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has requested a review of his stock sales, and while the findings may prove the trades were within the law and standards of ethical behavior, a review is needed of why citizens were not granted the same timely information.
John Dadiani, Reston
The current severe economic downturn is not solely the result of the coronavirus and social distancing. Instead, this naturally sourced economic stress test has revealed serious underlying economic problems.
As Steven Pearlstein revealed in his March 10 Business column, “A market crash was coming, even before coronavirus,” lower-rate corporate debt now outstanding is the highest it has ever been as a result of corporate stock buybacks.
In 2008, former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan “admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets.” In the wake of Mr. Greenspan’s admission, key elements of the Dodd-Frank act were overturned under the leadership of President Trump.
Twelve years after the massive bailouts of the Great Recession, we now face more bailouts. Federal deficits promise to explode from $1 trillion per year, perhaps to trillions of dollars per year.
Rather than more deregulation, we must reinforce Dodd-Frank and pursue additional laws and regulations to require greater disclosure and regulation of financial markets. The alternative is to anticipate yet another round of massive government bailouts soon, after our next debt-fueled “free-market” calamity.
David Banks, Rockville
Anyone who has ever been seriously ill or needed medication or surgery can immediately see that a stronger economy is a poor substitute for a functioning health-care system. The health threat posed by this pandemic is not just that many will sicken and die from it directly (including our dedicated health-care workers) but also that no one else will be able to get care.
This is already starting to happen. We have a health-care system already working at near-capacity. Let us do what it takes to preserve it, for all of our sakes.
Margaret Fisher, Clifton