Letters to the editor of this newspaper tend to run about 9-1 in favor of “progressive” policies and viewpoints, but two Monday letters showed the weak foundations of progressive arguments.

One writer (Grayson Lookner) praised single-payer health care, even though countries that have it (especially Italy) have struggled mightily with the pandemic. He criticized the American health system for having “no centralized, publicly accountable authority” and for being “a hodgepodge collection of for-profit entities who are ultimately accountable to their shareholders, not the public.”

• First, places with “centralized authorities” tend to underfund agencies and reduce adaptiveness (think Venezuela and Cuba).

• Second, any for-profit entity that does not meet the needs of customers (the public) will go out of business.

• Lastly, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, nearly half of the U.S. health system care is already government funded (poorly), which creates many of the current problems.

Another writer (Jeremy Smith) mocked the president over the fragility of the strong U.S. economy once governments forced businesses to shut down.

This betrays lack of understanding of how the economy works. With the sudden lockdown, businesses have no cash in-flow, so their owners can’t pay rent and payroll, their employees can’t pay bills, property owners can’t repay business loans, etc.

No matter how strong the economy, the sudden stopping of cash in-flow creates problems. (This is what happens in recessions, although over much longer periods.)

President Trump understands this, and wants to restart cash flow. Our challenge is how to do that while balancing public health with economic health.

John Voyer

Portland

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