Letters to the Editor: Our government doesn’t need to be made bigger to fight coronavirus

Capitol rotunda
The Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, seen on March 19, is closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic.
(AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Susan Crawford asserts our current crisis proves we need larger government. Her argument is unconvincing.

She claims that President Herbert Hoover pursued a laissez-faire approach at the beginning of the Great Depression. But his massively anti-market Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, huge tax increases and other actions say otherwise.

She asserts that President Franklin D. Roosevelt reoriented government to competence. However, economist Rexford Tugwell, one of FDR’s New Deal architects, wrote that Hoover “invented most of the devices we used.” Further, economists Harold Cole and Lee Ohanian found that New Deal policies stymied economic recovery for seven years.

Crawford also asserts we have been hollowing out government for four decades out of “collective disdain” for it. But libertarian views are hardly determining government policy when the government is larger than ever and still rapidly ballooning.

Crawford asserts always bigger is the path to government competence, but it is ineptitude that grows most with government. We don’t need more.


Gary M. Galles, Camarillo

The writer is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University.


To the editor: Limited access to the internet in large areas of America, one of the problems Crawford highlights as symptomatic of a hollowed-out national government, is only the visible manifestation of our long-term neglect of our rural populations.

I hope the next administration will do more for the people who rightfully feel left behind. The concept of a Green New Deal should be supplemented by an effort to strengthen the communications infrastructure, including the laying of fiber optic cable to support access to multiple sources of information.

Both projects contain the promise of creating employment in our declining rural areas.

Margaret Hamilton, Portland, Ore.