A Performance Review for President Biden

More from our inbox:

  • Medicare Price Negotiations
  • The Largest U.S. Aquifer Is Running Dry
  • Don’t Call It Cancer
  • Learning From Cowboys About Training Horses

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Why So Many Americans Are So Down on Biden,” by Bret Stephens (column, Sept. 6):

Sure, the president is old, but, boy, has the country improved.

Morality and tolerance for others has returned at the highest levels of government. Respect for America in the world has returned. Foundations for the country’s future have been established (Inflation Reduction Act, Chips Act, etc.). And the basic economic approach has flipped from ineffective Reaganomics to very effective Bidenomics.

C’mon, forget an occasional stumble, or less than polished speech — it’s action and leadership that should be noted, and applauded.

Tim Neale
Amherst, Mass.

To the Editor:

All things considered, I believe that Joe Biden has done a fantastic job as president. Except in his most important role: He is not an inspiring communicator. And that is the No. 1 requirement of good leadership.

He is a manager. Not a leader. And because we project our national identity onto our president, he does not sate our desire for a robust, optimistic leader.

He has served us well. But he needs to pass the torch to the next generation. My own choice: Pete Buttigieg.

Carol Weiss
Bradenton, Fla.

To the Editor:

Bret Stephens makes a few reasonable points about President Biden’s popularity issues. But he fails to mention the most obvious reason for his low poll numbers: the relentless, steady drip of innuendo and lying and manipulation by Fox News and the many right-wing radio shows.

The dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine and the rise of all these shows have changed the political landscape … and not for the better.

Walter Kennedy
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Struggles to Sway Voters on the Economy” (news article, Sept. 3):

President Biden is our most effective president since Lyndon Johnson. He has passed major legislation to save us from the ravages of Covid, to build the country’s infrastructure and chips technology, to attack climate change and to allow negotiations to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.

Under Mr. Biden’s strong leadership, the economy is functioning extremely well. Unemployment is at or near record lows in many states, and wage growth has been impressive. In the last year, inflation has shrunk dramatically.

Still, the public is not convinced of Mr. Biden’s economic stewardship. We face highly divisive and uncertain times, and Americans desperately seek reassurance that their lives will be improved. Under these conditions, the phrase Bidenomics does not resonate.

A slogan like “Investing in You” would be highly effective. It creates a sense of hope. Investments take time to pay off, which acknowledges that the economy is still not perfect. It is a personal message that expresses the president’s concern for the welfare of every American.

“Investing in You” means opportunity and a brighter future for every American.

Ken Hargis
Los Altos, Calif.

Medicare Price Negotiations

The price negotiation program was established by Democrats as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.Credit…Scott Olson/Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “U.S. Names Drugs Selected to Face Price Bargaining” (front page, Aug. 30):

It’s nothing short of shameful that six large pharmaceutical companies are suing the Biden administration to block the new prescription drug price negotiation program.

The industry continues to be among the most profitable year after year and deserves credit for delivering some spectacular products, including the coronavirus vaccines. But it’s past time that the prices of some prescription medicines become subject to stricter government oversight, especially since Medicare and Medicaid are responsible for about 45 percent of nationwide spending on prescription drugs each year.

The Biden administration’s program is a measured experiment, initially encompassing a small number of drugs that meet certain criteria (such as lack of competition).

Industry claims that the program will undercut drug research and development are completely bogus, according to numerous expert analyses. It’s also inaccurate to say the program imposes “price controls” on the industry. The new program’s impact will be carefully assessed over the next five years.

Americans have long paid the highest prescription drug prices in the world, and the U.S. has been, until now, one of the only developed nations that didn’t have a program in place to make sure medicines are affordable. The industry’s effort to kill this program is an egregious example of putting profits above the needs of society.

Steven Findlay
Barnesville, Md.
The writer is a retired health policy researcher.

The Largest U.S. Aquifer Is Running Dry

Credit…Loren Elliott for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “America Is Using Up Its Groundwater Like There’s No Tomorrow” (“Uncharted Waters” series, Sept. 2):

Back in the 1960s, geologists studying the Ogallala Aquifer — the United States’ largest aquifer, which lies under parts of eight states in the Great Plains — warned that, while the aquifer had taken millions of years to form, mono-cropping and other industrial farming practices threatened its existence.

Few people listened, and water mining increased.

Wells have dried up, and deeper wells have been drilled to find new sources of water. Corn is one of the thirstiest crops grown, and most corn is used for ethanol and animal feed at factory farms, which themselves use a tremendous amount of water.

It’s way past time to outlaw these agricultural practices, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to fund them.

Regina Rae Weiss

Don’t Call It Cancer

Credit…Carolina Moscoso

To the Editor:

Re “Not Everything We Call Cancer Should Be Called Cancer,” by Laura Esserman and Scott Eggener (Opinion guest essay, Sept. 1):

When I was treated for ductal carcinoma in situ 15 years ago — with surgery, radiation and, eventually, a mastectomy — I wondered why such aggressive measures were necessary for something that at least one of the physicians I consulted assured me “wasn’t cancer.” But with no other way to talk about it, the only option was to treat D.C.I.S. (which has “carcinoma” in the name, after all) as if it were, or would surely become, an invasive disease.

I wish Drs. Esserman and Eggener luck in their efforts to rebrand D.C.I.S., and in so doing open up new treatment options, like active surveillance, that didn’t exist when I needed them.

Laura Goldstein
New York

Learning From Cowboys About Training Horses

Horses exercising at sunrise at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.Credit…Scott Serio/Cal Sport Media, via Associated Press

To the Editor:

“A Sport Facing Crisis and Decline Tries to Reform Before It’s Too Late” (Sports, Sept. 3) included many ways to improve the sport’s dismal rate of breakdowns and deaths without ever mentioning the most obvious and effective solution of all: raising the age at which horses are allowed to race.

Hopefully this would delay the training process, allowing a horse’s muscles, tendons and ligaments time to fully develop and malleable young bones to “set.” A horse doesn’t complete its final set of teeth until its fifth year.

The modern racing world could learn a lot from old-time cowboys, the best of whom didn’t start breaking a horse until it was four or five years old.

Rick Donahoe
Yellow Springs, Ohio
The writer, a retired farrier, is the author of “Me ’n’ Clint,” a horseshoeing memoir.

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