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An idea better than a stimulus package?

President Joe Biden at the White House on

President Joe Biden at the White House on Sunday. Credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

With the new COVID-19 relief stimulus deal adding $1.9 trillion to the ever-ballooning federal debt, I propose a modicum of accountability that would actually provide financial relief for struggling Americans ["IRS: Stimulus package payouts are on the way," News, March 14]. For anyone or any business owing the federal government money from back taxes or student debt loans, a one-time 50% lump-sum discount payment would settle the debt. If, say, a married couple owed $18,000 in back taxes, they could "beg, steal or borrow" their way to accumulating $9,000 cash that would settle the debt. To me, getting a one-time stimulus check falls far shorter of economic relief than taking high-interest, long-term debt off one’s balance sheet. And the immediate cash infusion that this would provide to the U.S. Treasury could at least offset part of the debt accumulated by these stimulus checks.

Eugene R. Dunn,


People who want free money don’t understand that it has to come from somewhere. Eventually, I believe taxes will rise exponentially, Medicare payroll deductions may increase, social programs will go away, potholes won’t be filled, and the list goes on. This stimulus package is not free.

Valerie Romeo,


Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) praised Democrats for using a bill he cosponsored "as the outline for the formula to distribute funds to our local communities," and Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) says he supported the measure’s relief for local municipalities. But both voted "no" on the COVID-19 relief bill. Sorry, but in my view, you can’t claim any credit for help that you tried to deny.

Mel Granick,


Education can make U.S. real melting pot

A reader wrote about "cultural appropriation," saying that "a child who wears a feather in a headband as a Halloween costume, to me, is celebrating Native-American culture, not stealing it ["Change can be scary, but do research first," Letters, March 11]. Let me add, children should be in a learning environment where the curriculum includes the interdisciplinary study of race and ethnicity of our minority citizens. Among the minority groups in America, Native Americans are unique in that they are native to this country. This makes their relationship to larger society special in ways not shared by any other minority. Their culture has been honed for at least 15,000 years on this continent. I teach my students there is a struggle between the "real vs. ideal." Educating our children to the history and culture of not only Native Americans will show the value of diversity, provide skills for working with various groups, understand interactions of race, class, gender and sexuality, and prepare them to make a difference. With this in mind, we may come closer to the "ideal," a true melting pot.

Chet Lukaszewski,


Editor’s note: The writer is a retired high school social studies teacher who developed an American Indian Studies course that he taught for 27 years.

Cuomo isn’t ‘guilty until proven innocent’

I realize that there is no such thing as a perfect politician or a perfect human, for that matter. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is no exception. On the balance sheet of performance and character, I would give him the benefit of the doubt and reserve judgment until a full investigation is completed regarding the responsibility for the reported nursing home numbers and sexual harassment charges ["Major Dems join chorus urging gov to go," News, March 13]. When has our legal system proposed that someone is "guilty until proven innocent" while other politicians call to remove our governor before the investigation is done ["Liberal, socialist leaders call for Cuomo removal," News, March 3]? Just as history will judge the politicians’ mishandling of the Jan. 6 insurrection impeachment decision, it will judge this governor’s tenure, for better or worse, once the legal system runs its course.

Rose Colarossi,


The pro-Cuomo readers who sided with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wrote about the alleged sexual harassment issue but failed to mention a word about the nursing home debacle and apparent cover-up involving the deaths of almost 10,000 New Yorkers ["Taking sides on Cuomo," Letters, March 14]. Could the reason be the nursing home scandal was not covered as much and sometimes buried inside an article about other issues, lessening the impact?

Robert D’Addario,


Reader Stephen Rothaug wrote about Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s situation, and I agreed with him — until he started spouting his political views. To me, it seems the height of hypocrisy to bring up liberal Democrats after what was ignored about former President Donald Trump, whose indiscretions were known around New York before his election but easily dismissed.

Stephen O’Connell,