To the editor: Our secretary of Commerce said in an on-air interview Thursday that a partial shutdown should really not be a problem for the government workers going without a paycheck. If they don’t have money, he said, they should just go out and get a “low-interest loan.”
Since the average civilian federal worker makes about $85,000 annually and many live paycheck to paycheck, I initially thought this was a ludicrous suggestion by a billionaire out of touch with average workers and their access to credit, not to mention their ability to pay the interest on even a “low-interest loan.”
Then I came upon an easy solution: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, a billionaire, alone or together with the other Cabinet billionaires and the president, could certainly join together to provide every furloughed government worker with no-interest loans. This will get the workers over the earnings gulf, and the president and his Cabinet would be heroes. It will also add some incentive for the president and his Cabinet to avoid future shutdowns.
Gary A. Hirsch, Pacific Palisades
To the editor: I will never purchase Trump’s book “The Art of a Deal” if I discover that in his book he advocated taking hostages (such as federal government employees) as a negotiating tactic to achieve an objective of his (such as obtaining congressional approval to fund a border wall between Mexico and the United States to appease some of his political supporters).
Furthermore, if Trump were to write a sequel to the aforementioned book, he should entitle it “The Art of No Deal,” and in it discuss the government shutdown effects that he created by the taking of the hostages.
To prevent the next government shutdown, new laws are needed to stop the House Speaker and the Senate majority leader from blocking a vote requested in a written petition by a majority of members in either house of Congress.
Most Americans would benefit from such legislation, even when there is a dysfunctional Congress or a stubborn president.
Marc Jacobson, Los Angeles
To the editor: Ross’ asinine statement that he did not understand why federal workers were in food lines during the just-ended government shutdown is yet another low for the Trump administration.
Not only did he not understand why these employees were running out of money; he also did not understand why furloughed federal workers could not just walk into a bank and get a loan. For starters, some workers might not qualify for a loan, and even if they could, it can take weeks to get the money.
He has no concept of real life in this country, and neither does Trump.
Phil Kirk, Encinitas
To the editor: This shutdown was not resolved in a way that makes another such event less likely in the future.
My suggestion: Enact legislation that would make future shutdowns apply to all departments of government and to all federal employees — congressional staff, White House staff, Cabinet secretaries, everyone. The pressure inside the government would make the shutdown brief or prevent one from happening at all.
We should be ashamed for our country that any leader can inflict this pain out of pure political animus.
Kathy Kaufman, Mission Viejo