Opinion | Advice for Biden on His Cabinet

To the Editor:

Re Who Are Contenders for Biden’s Cabinet? (news article, Nov. 12):

What an outstanding list of possible cabinet secretaries! All fully qualified, and from what I can tell not a single party hack or industry lobbyist among them. How utterly refreshing!

I would caution, however, that many are currently extremely useful to our nation in their present positions and it may be best to keep them there. Perhaps a new system could be instituted in which a cabinet secretary is chosen as well as naming a few highly qualified people to staff a senior advisory panel that would have access to the secretary.

Ronald B. Johnstone
Santa Clara, Calif.

To the Editor:

The incoming Biden-Harris administration is considering a slate of highly qualified individuals for cabinet appointments, but there is one sector that has been overlooked since George Washington’s time: arts and culture. The arts are a critical economic driver in the United States, a $877 billion industry contributing 4.5 percent annually to the G.D.P., according to a 2017 government report. The arts contribute more to the G.D.P. than transportation or agriculture, yet both have had their own cabinet representatives.

The arts sector has been devastated by Covid-19, as organizations that depend on live audiences were among the first forced to shutter and will be among the last to safely reopen. Their plight has been all but ignored by Capitol Hill.

Establishing a Secretary of Arts and Culture would guarantee that this sector, so closely intertwined with tourism, hospitality and transportation, finally gets the long-term investment it deserves.

Charles Segars
Los Angeles
The writer is chief executive of Ovation TV and founder of its Stand for the Arts coalition.

To the Editor:

It is disappointing to see that President-elect Joe Biden’s short list of senior-level appointees contains so few individuals from the business world. The others come from government, advocacy organizations or academia. It’s good for the president to get a full perspective on American life by including business perspectives.

Four businessmen competed for the presidential nomination this year — Andrew Yang, John Delaney, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. Surely business people merit consideration for positions in the Biden administration.

David Levinson
Southbury, Conn.

To the Editor:

Here’s a novel thought regarding Joe Biden’s cabinet contenders: Keep Attorney General William Barr in place. His views on the unbridled powers of the president, including total immunity from the legal process — ignoring all subpoenas directed toward him or any member of his administration because, well, just because — and his legal opinions on ruling via executive orders were wholeheartedly supported by the Republican Party, so certainly they cannot complain if President Biden adheres to those policies.

What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

William N. Fordes
Santa Monica, Calif.

To the Editor:

This presidential transition takes on additional urgency as more than 1,000 Americans die daily from the coronavirus as the infection spreads rampantly through much of the country.

The president-elect’s naming of a Covid advisory panel is welcome, but getting his transition teams into the federal agencies responsible for combating the spread of the infection cannot wait, however reluctant Republican politicians may be to risk offending President Trump’s base. How many more lives will be lost as a result? Isn’t it time to put the nation’s interests over partisan political advantage?

Ann Korky
Alexandria, Va.

To the Editor:

You write of Pete Buttigieg, a contender for heading the Veterans Affairs Department: “Mr. Buttigieg, who is gay, was endorsed by …” I scoured the article to discover who is straight, to no avail.

Bradley Craig
New York

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