“Governor downplays possibility of tax-hike extension” (Oct. 28), said that “Democrats have fashioned a winning combination in power that includes a quality most often associated with Republicans—fiscal prudence.”
What fiscal prudence? The 2009-2010 state budget showed total agency spending of $119 billion. The 2013-2014 budget shows agency spending of $145 billion. That’s a 22 percent increase in four years.
Not a lot of Californians have seen their income go up 22 percent in four years. I’d hate to see what California Democrats would do if they didn’t feel constrained.
Although there may be some disagreement around the edges, most people agree that this country needs to build infrastructure, reform the tax code, adopt an enlightened immigration policy and improve our education system.
So why do our politicians continue to engage in destructive wrestling matches over social side issues instead of summoning the political will to address these economic issues? And why do we, the people, permit them to get away with it instead of exercising our collective electoral weight to replace them with leaders who will do the right thing?
JAY N. FELDMAN Port Washington, N.Y., Oct. 24, 2014
Note from KBJ: Jay Feldman hasn't noticed that values differ. It's one thing to say that the tax code should be reformed, but quite another to specify the reforms. Different people have different conceptions of what is "enlightened." Different people have different ideas about how to improve our educational system.
Since returning from Liberia, where I treated up to 80 Ebola patients a day for six weeks, I have been incredulous, shocked and now angry at the fearful, panicked and, yes, cowardly behavior of the American politicians and public. America needs to get a grip.
I risked my life day after day treating Ebola patients, donning protective equipment with my team. Why, as Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey implied, would I not comply with self-monitoring when it will be what saves me? Imagine the anxiety that I lived with upon my return wondering if my temperature would spike? Why does anyone think I would risk someone else’s catching Ebola? I have seen firsthand what an awful sickness it is.
A colleague of mine, Kaci Hickox, has been confined to a tent. At best she is going to be forced into a form of house arrest. Why?
There has not been one single case of Ebola infecting a member of the general public. Ebola cannot be transmitted when an individual is asymptomatic.
I feel ashamed to see how fear has a life of its own, with the result that I and my heroic colleagues are at risk of losing civil liberties for no reason other than political grandstanding and a lack of medically informed decision making.
DEBBIE WILSON Lenox, Mass., Oct. 27, 2014
The writer is a nurse.
To the Editor:
Some public officials and readers of this paper have claimed that those who favor mandatory enforced quarantine for those returning from Ebola sites in Africa are thinking in a panicked and unscientific manner. Those of us who support a mandatory quarantine are looking at the only two data points available, in Texas and New York, where health care workers’ decisions to self-monitor have endangered the public.
The decision to risk one’s life by flying to Africa and becoming immersed in the sad and dangerous situation there in an effort to help is noble, commendable and heroic. Why is it not reasonable to ask such health care workers to understand that three weeks of quarantine, even if it causes further inconvenience, is a logical and necessary part of their sacrifice?
Ebola is not about inconveniences. Must the wider public encourage such volunteering by endangering itself?
Yesterday I thought about ordering Richard Wright’s book “Black Boy” for my ninth-grade son, who needed a copy for his English class. Amazon was convenient. I could stay in my seat, in my nightgown, drinking my French Roast coffee while reading the Sunday New York Times.
Then I remembered how much I hated Amazon because it is a bully. So I got out of my chair, got dressed and drove to my friendly Barnes & Noble to buy the book, and while I was there, I went ahead and picked up the CliffsNotes and Jane Smiley’s new book, “Some Luck.” It’s hard to change my habits, but not too hard when I am focused on staying true to my principles.
DOLLY PATTERSON Redwood City, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014
Note from KBJ: I love Amazon. I don't want to get out of my chair, get dressed, and drive to my local bookstore. I want to make a few clicks of my mouse and wait for the book to arrive at my door.
It is astonishing that our government would allow high-risk exposure people returning from West Africa to “self-monitor.” You see where it gets us: A supposedly knowledgeable doctor doesn’t self-quarantine and now New York City health officials have to chase down hundreds of potential contacts and monitor them. We simply don’t have the resources to keep this up if more people show up sick in the United States.
No one forces these people to go to West Africa, so requiring them to be quarantined for 21 days when they come back is not in any way a restriction of their civil rights but a consequence of their own decision. They should not be allowed to put other Americans at risk. If we cannot achieve a travel ban, then mandatory quarantines are necessary to protect ourselves.
BRIAN BROKER Phoenixville, Pa., Oct. 24, 2014
The writer is an allergist and ear, nose and throat specialist.
Note from KBJ: I prefer suing these people into oblivion. I'm sure this doctor has plenty of assets.