US News

The Temporary Truce on the Debt Ceiling

To the Editor:

Re “McConnell Vows No Help on Debt Limit Next Time” (news article, Oct. 9):

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader, and his flock of sheep are hypocrites. First they intentionally brought the United States economy to the brink of catastrophic disaster, for the purpose of creating a political talking point in the 2022 midterm elections. Now they are crying foul because Senator Chuck Schumer beat them to the punch, hammering them for their fiscal irresponsibility.

In a frenzied letter to President Biden, Mr. McConnell asserted that the Republicans will do absolutely nothing to assist the Democrats in lifting the debt ceiling in December. In other words, the Republicans will continue to jeopardize the U.S. economy and their constituents’ personal finances in order to achieve political advantage.

It is ludicrous for Mr. McConnell, one of the most toxic senators in history, to attempt to justify the Republicans’ continuing to court financial calamity because they are offended that Senator Schumer is playing partisan hardball.

David Schlitz

To the Editor:

As the Democrats celebrate Mitch McConnell’s “folding” on the debt limit, I wonder why no one can see the tactical moves to come. A quick study of history would advise that this is a Trojan horse, ready to explode and harm the Democrats just before the year-end holidays.

There is no question that Republicans will tie the next debt ceiling vote to the physical and social infrastructure bills, and accuse Democrats of spending all of our grandchildren’s money. This is war, and Democrats need to understand the stakes.

M. Susan Ubbelohde
Oakland, Calif.

To the Editor:

In all the sudden concern about a need to hold back spending, various legislators want cuts in domestic programs but never suggest cuts in military spending. Military spending does nothing to improve the quality of life for taxpayers. And the recent wars that have gobbled up trillions of dollars have perhaps even left us less secure as a nation. Isn’t it long past time that Americans reverse this mentality and instead begin using our tax dollars on us?

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Jerome Donnelly
Winter Park, Fla.

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Formally Recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day” (news article, Oct. 11):

It is absolutely correct that President Biden should recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day; it is upsetting that no president before him did so.

At the same time, Columbus Day should not vanish into oblivion. Our nation was formed by Europeans bringing their culture to this continent. This is essential to our history and should not be forgotten, lamented or canceled. They brought their violence and their diseases as well. A multilayered holiday would give us occasion to grapple honestly with both the triumphs and the tragedies in our history.

We could appreciate that history even more fully if we were to observe this day with a third layer: Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day and Immigrants’ Day. That would address the full scope of our national heritage.

Ron Meyers
New York

To the Editor:

Re “An Emboldened Xi Remakes China’s Business World in His Image” (front page, Oct. 6):

One of the nicest New York Times turns of phrase ever appeared back in 1993 when Nicholas Kristof wrote that Deng Xiaoping had led a rapid conversion of China’s Marxist-Leninist ideology into “Market-Leninism.” This meant that the Communist Party would retain absolute political control but had turned to a competitive marketplace, given how poorly Marxism had served economically.

Over the next two decades China experienced the most rapid and broad-based creation of wealth in history, with hundreds of millions of ordinary Chinese going from famine to feast in a generation.

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There are many indications that the party now wants not just to regulate but actually to take back control of the economy. If President Xi Jinping’s policies reverse Deng’s philosophy, that would mark a great leap backward for China.

Michael Brownrigg
Burlingame, Calif.
The writer is a former U.S. trade negotiator and investor in China.

To the Editor:

Re “What’s a Little Disagreement Among Factions?” (The Conversation, Oct. 5):

It was easy to be dismayed by the Trump administration’s immigration policies, which were cruel, and the erection of its Southern border wall, which was marked by incompetence. But I find myself agreeing with Bret Stephens and many others who are advocating for strong, focused, no-nonsense border and immigration policies.

If we have a migrant border crisis now, imagine what it will be like when climate change forces entire populations of the Southern Hemisphere north. That time is not far off. It is critical that we be prepared.

Yet I’m not seeing the leadership we need in either party to help us navigate the difficult decisions involved — logistical, budgetary, ethical. If we’re not wise and forward-thinking now, I fear that when the time comes, we will be forced to exert unthinkable brutality.

Tim Moriarty
Scarsdale, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Studying the Beatles Near Penny Lane” (Arts pages, Oct. 5):

I was 13 and on the front lines of Beatlemania in 1964. The nuns told us, “Girls, you will forget them by the time you’re 30.”

Fifty-five years later I took my Beatles Pilgrimage to the U.K., including Liverpool and London. I saw every site; I took private tours. I immersed myself in their ineffable magic.

The nuns’ prediction could not have been more laughably wrong for me, my classmates and the world.

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Studying for an M.A. in the Beatles in Liverpool? Keep that one and mark it fab.

Beatles forever.

Coreen Steinbach
Pompey, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Streets and Storefronts Empty, SoHo Is Teeming With Anxiety” (“A City Stirs” series, front page, Oct. 5):

Anxiety is what the retailers feel in SoHo because of the lack of tourists and shoppers. The residents feel the opposite.

I have lived and worked in SoHo for the past 40 years and welcome the relative quiet and lack of crowds in the streets. There are many artists and other residents who have moved here for the feeling of neighborhood, low density of people and beauty of the cast-iron buildings.

The city wants to change that with its plan of increased height and density of buildings. Hopefully we will turn that down and keep the character of SoHo.

Claude Samton
New York
The writer is an architect and artist.

To the Editor:

Re “Why Everyone Is Always Giving Unsolicited Advice,” by Tressie McMillan Cottom (Opinion,, Oct. 1):

There is a valuable slogan that I have shared with college students and psychotherapy patients for the last 40 years: “Unsolicited advice is almost always received as criticism.”

If someone asks you for advice, give it. But if no one is asking and you offer it, don’t be surprised if you receive an irritated response.

Sometimes we give advice because we want to “fix” or “help” the other person. But often the other person just wants to be listened to in that moment. Listening can make a huge difference to someone if he or she is upset or stressed.

Beth Rosen
The writer is a psychotherapist and a former adjunct professor in CUNY’s School of Professional Studies Human Relations Program.


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