The nexus of all the beneficiaries will be oil companies (“The New Shape of Travel: How to Play It,” Cover Story, Dec. 24). If airline travel returns to pre-Covid levels, the airlines will return to their pre-Covid levels of buying fuel. Cruise lines don’t run on electricity.

The big question is, will businesses give up Zoom meetings? Office buildings and the lack of commuters and wear-and-tear on cars might be negatives, but kids going back to school and coming home and finding Daddy unshaved and still in his slippers eating all the Snickers in the house might get things back on track.

Terrence Milan, on

To the Editor:

Steve Reynolds, CEO of Tripbam Analytics, is quoted as saying, “Everyone’s just itchy to get back to a conference or to a trade show,” I’m going to need to see some data to support this very sweeping assertion. The companies that depend on trade shows for sales and revenue certainly would like to see conferences resume, but I’m not sure that the companies of the would-be attendees feel the same way. At the personal-traveler level, I don’t hear anyone talking about how eager they are to get back into the business-travel fray. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant lifestyle before the pandemic, so I think there will be some permanent shifts that aren’t being anticipated, as people have learned that all of the travel just wasn’t necessary. Sorry, travel bulls.

Thomas Steele, on

The Fed’s Dual Mandate

To the Editor:

I understand that the Federal Reserve has a dual mandate to maximize employment and keep prices stable, but Neel Kashkari’s idea that the Fed has not been responsible for low interest rates these past 16 months strains credulity (“It Would Be Ruinous to Raise Rates Now to a ‘Normal’ Level, Minneapolis Fed Chief Says,” Interview, Dec. 24).

The Fed tried to shrink its balance sheet a little in 2019 until mid-September, when a Fed auction went splat and short-term rates shot up to nearly 10% when nobody showed up to bid for Treasuries. The Fed promptly reversed course and printed hundreds of billions in new money to suppress Treasury rates over the next six months. Then, the Covid-19 emergency forced the Fed to expand its balance sheet still further: Trillions were printed to buy up all of the government borrowings.

I realize that we still have a slack labor market and prices (if not FAANG stock quotes) are flat. However, the idea that rates would not be higher if there had not been all this money printing—both before and after the lockdowns—is not credible.

Dan Munson, St. Paul, Minn.

To the Editor:

Kashkari’s ethereal doublespeak comments about banks are antithetical with that of the federal government’s capital reserves. He wants higher bank capital assets and reserves (which I agree with) but gives a pass to the national debt at about $28 trillion. All are fine until you have growing unemployment, lower tax revenues, a pandemic, a struggling economy, and mass lockdowns.

The Federal Reserve cannot print an unlimited amount of fictitious dollars or massively borrow beyond a certain point.

How can a renewal of the Community Reinvestment Act be of lasting benefit? The 1977 legislation laid the seeds for the crash of 2008, specifically by requiring that easier credit and mortgages be made available for minorities, the underemployed, and the poor in order to encourage home or business purchase and ownership, regardless of the ability to repay the loans or location of the property.

B.J. Khalifah, Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.

To the Editor:

Barron’s stated that “Minnesota has some of the largest social disparities in the country.” This is to be expected when you consider that Minnesota has the highest number of refugees per capita of any state, almost all of them from impoverished countries. The importation of poverty is not a problem that the Federal Reserve is equipped to handle.

J.P. Newell, Washington, D.C.

Wants vs. Needs

To the Editor:

The pandemic has no doubt affected people, businesses, and municipalities at all levels.

However, we seldom read or hear about municipalities that can reduce spending without always beginning with employee layoffs (“Municipal Budget Crunch Pressures Payrolls. And Direct Federal Stimulus Isn’t Forthcoming,” The Economy, Dec. 24).

People as well as businesses have had to cut spending and usually look at cutting nonessentials first. In good times, spending for all entities tends to grow and perhaps grow beyond what’s really needed.

As my granddaughter reminds me: Is it a want or a need? I think municipalities should look at spending over the past five to 10 years and sort out needs versus wants.

Not every cut has to start with employees, but excess facilities, services, and administrative streamlining should be on the table for starters. That’s what the private sector has to do, so why not the public sector?

Tom Timmermann, Dallas

Send letters to: [email protected]. To be considered for publication, correspondence must bear the writer’s name, address, and phone number. Letters are subject to editing.

Corrections & Amplifications

Alibaba Group Holding’s

U.S.-listed shares fell 13.3%, or $34.18, to $222 on Dec. 24. The article “China Tells Alibaba It Means Business. What That Means for the Stock” incorrectly said that the shares fell to $34.18.

Jeremy’s Grantham’s investment in


was a personal one. Last week’s Preview article incorrectly said that Grantham made the investment through his foundation.