To the editor: In columnist Robin Abcarian's imagination, President Trump will happily sacrifice hundreds of thousands of Americans in order to revive the economy and win a second term.
Question: In what universe does a politician ride a wave of mass deaths to reelection? Certainly not the one we live in. Does Abcarian believe this point would escape a politician as shrewd as Trump?
The president thinks this epidemic is being overestimated. He's probably wrong, but the rest of us needn't react as if he has his finger on the nuclear trigger. We'll know much more by mid-April, as will he.
If at that time Trump's idea of acceptable casualties differs from most, we have another backstop: the governors and mayors who will actually decide when to send Americans back to work and play.
Michael Smith, Georgetown, Ky.
To the editor: Roger Lowenstein's op-ed article, "How to balance saving lives and rescuing the economy as coronavirus rages on," puts forward the argument that there are ways to reopen American commerce with minimal sacrifice of human life, arguing the point with a veneer of sober logic that makes it even more dangerous than our president's ham-fisted attempts to say the same thing.
My misgivings only increased as he built his case around one fallacy after another, until he arrived at his final misguided notion — that, in a pandemic, we ought to be listening to economists. What about doctors and scientists?
Even if we listened to economists, most of them would say that their advice is to hit this thing with a sledgehammer, not a wiffle-ball bat.
George Crowder, Los Angeles
To the editor: I agree with Lowenstein that economics will have to be a consideration in our recovery process.
We view human life as something with which there is no conceivable trade-off. This is even more so if the trade-off is specified and forces us to make a moral choice. The fact that the choice is being presented by Trump tends to further take it completely out of consideration for half the country.
But the quality of human life is also important. At some point, we will must weigh the loss of life against the potential of an economic disaster that persists for many years. There are two hopeful elements to consider: the apparent relative resilience of younger people to this disease, and the fact that some geographic areas are being less affected by the coronavirus.
This is not something that can be decided quickly, but I believe that an approach that considers physical health and the economy must be considered sooner rather than later.
Jack Kaczorowski, Los Angeles
To the editor: How ironic that some of the Republicans who (falsely) alleged the Affordable Care Act authorized "death panels" are now willing to sacrifice our seniors for the sake of the economy, and some who railed against President Obama's bailout plan are now rushing to approve a relief package that is much larger.
They once complained about deficit spending, but now they seem to think there is no limit. No wonder politicians have so little credibility.
Brian Gough, Santa Barbara