Letters: Views on unemployment system woes, our leaders' experts

The Detroit News

Unemployment system is bad at business

I am a small business owner whose income has dropped 90% due directly to the government's actions. As a result, I applied for unemployment and received a positive determination letter. However, I have not received a single penny. Each week, someone or something is "reversing payment."

I have tried calling the Michigan unemployment agency daily for a month about my account issues, but their auto-response system either directs callers to the website or disconnects the caller — no matter what phone options one selects. So much for all the new people being hired to answer the phone.

Within the unemployment portal, they have turned off the online chat help function. In addition, any messages sent via the portal are entirely neglected by the unemployment department. I have appealed to them repeatedly for an explanation for the reversal of funds. No response.

I have now begun contacting state and federal elected officials. I have received some calls by their aids, all assuring that they will get someone from the unemployment office to contact me. No one ever does.

I am a 56-year-old diabetic who is also disabled from a 2006 medical accident that damaged my spine in several places. I have had four surgeries so that I can walk again. I live daily in considerable pain. Given these issues, I am at high risk for catching COVID-19. So, I dare not visit the downtown unemployment office. It appears I have no options but to receive no support and hope that my business can somehow survive. Could you ever imagine a business operating this way? If I did, I would for sure be out of business.

David A. Posthuma, Livonia

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Deferring to experts is a cop-out

People today talk incessantly about listening to experts, but "expert" means a person who has a special expertise: epidemiology, the environment, economics, etc. These "experts" don't concern themselves with the big picture.

What we expect our leaders to do is listen to many experts and consider everything: viral disease, mental illness/suicide, the domestic problems associated with being quarantined, lost businesses and jobs, people with illnesses afraid to go to hospitals.

That's why we elect our leaders — to balance all the risks, not just listen to this or that expert. Dr. Anthony Fauci and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's epidemiologists haven't been trained to take this broad view. It's a cop-out to defer to experts when we're facing complex threats. In these times, we need leaders.

Tom Doran, Plymouth