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Allow withdrawals from an IRA or 401(k) during pandemic

If the SECURE Act becomes law, annuities could

If the SECURE Act becomes law, annuities could be added to your 401(k) portfolio. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/DNY59

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For all Americans and especially Long Islanders, where the cost of living is high and a $1,200 government check wouldn’t go far, allow the withdrawal of up to $5,000 from an IRA or 401(k) without tax or penalty. This could help many get over the hump until we have normalcy. Once over, allow them to restore the money to their accounts besides regular allowable contributions. This doesn’t add $1 trillion to the deficit, which upsets financial markets.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo seeks sites to be temporarily repurposed as emergency medical facilities. We need money put into the economy now, and enormous funds are in retirement accounts. Why not temporarily repurpose that money now? It’s a good start to supplement what the government is doing.

Doug Augenthaler,

Glen Head

How’s your RMD? The amount of your required minimum distribution is based on the Jan. 1, 2020 value of your retirement account [“How retirees can weather a downturn,” Business, March 22]. Considering the stock market’s big drop and corresponding drop in the value of IRAs, an RMD based on Jan. 1, 2020 values would excessively drain most IRA accounts. The government must take action to protect retired seniors from having their retirement savings drastically reduced by this inequitable RMD withdrawal. I recommend the following:

Base RMD on year-end 2020 values with withdrawals due April 15, 2021; reduce the percentage of RMD to less than 2%, or totally waive the RMD for 2020.

John Cassano,

Coram

Responding to the letter writer who blames the Democrats and media for wasting time on a “strictly political” impeachment instead of “reporting more facts about this virus so we’d be better prepared” [“Lost opportunity to fight coronavirus,” March 27], if the U.S. Senate Republicans had done the job they were sworn to do during the impeachment “trial,” we’d also likely be better prepared to fight this virus right now.

Robert Emproto,

Huntington

Let’s take advantage of the pandemic (fewer commuters and citizens staying home) and accelerate projects that would interfere with normal commuter activities. Expand and speed up the Penn Station reconstruction.

Do the same for other Metropolitan Transportation Authority projects such as replacement of Long Island Rail Road bridges that require weekend shutdowns of parts of the system. Similarly, accelerate third-rail work between Hicksville and Floral Park. Accelerate city infrastructure improvement on subways and tunnels. Infrastructure improvements on highways, parkways and residential roads also could be accelerated — and expanded.

This would make the return to work, riding the LIRR, using Penn Station and subway more humane and convenient when normalcy returns.

Frank J. Aimetti,

Hicksville

The cost to the average person of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s shutdown of most of the economy will be so drastic that more will be ruined by this than by the coronavirus [“Cuomo: Nonessential businesses must close,” News, March 21].

By suspending the economic activity of state residents, he will crush small-business owners and the workers depending on those jobs. If he really believes this is necessary, then let him suspend collection of property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes and fees. If the people cannot earn money, then the state shouldn’t earn any, either. Let Cuomo put his money where his mouth is.

John Memoli,

Massapequa

The state government should rescind the law that requires stores to not distribute disposable plastic bags. Customers with their own cloth bags can cause a problem. Few people “wash” these bags occasionally. Their reuse can contain a virus.

Also, let’s cancel all individual taxes for one month. This should include real estate and school taxes and eliminate the government sending Americans money. These tax savings alone should financially help those who lost jobs or other income.

Joe Brancati,

Plainview

The term “social distancing” is not really fitting for how we want people to behave and actually has a bit of a negative connotation [“Plans to reduce density at parks,” News, March 22].

The term may help explain why some groups don’t comply because we are social beings who need to socialize. While important that we should not socialize in groups, maybe we can change the language to “physically distancing” and emphasize connecting via social networking. Let’s “physically distance and emotionally connect.”

Carol Fealey,

Massapequa

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