Washington Post Writers Group political cartoonist Lisa Benson (“Lisa Benson’s View,” Page A4, Sept. 12) and leaders of the Republican Party need a lesson in macroeconomics.

The national debt is higher than it should be, but we don’t have a crisis, as many Republicans seem to think. The national debt is slightly higher than the gross domestic product, as it has been for the past few years. By these standards, the national debt was much higher after World War II, and we are still here arguing about the debt.

Congress should not blame its reluctance to fund research and prevention for the pending Zika epidemic on the national debt. There is time to correct any funding shortages. The Republicans should allow passage of a clean Zika bill.

A tax rate hike on the upper-bracket taxpayers is a simple way to fix the funding shortages for Zika prevention and address other current issues: namely, fighting the Islamic State on three fronts, repairing storm and fire damage, fixing creaking bridges and finding homes for the homeless.

The real problem is Congress’ lack of political courage to do its job.

Peter Konieczko

Scarborough