Letters to the Editor: Coronavirus kills the delusion that government should be like a business


To the editor: In your excellent investigation of what could have been done by the Trump administration during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic but was not, the president is quoted as saying about the elimination of the directorate for global health security and biodefense, “I’m a business person — I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them.”

As a business person myself, I find this to be a completely reasonable statement. But here’s the important distinction on which all Americans should be able to agree: Government is not a business.

In fact, government’s job is to do all those things that business cannot or will not do. It’s in the preamble to the Constitution: “provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.” None of these is in the interest of businesses to do.


While I firmly believe there are some lessons that government can learn from commerce, we should never accept the idea that government should be run like a business lest we find ourselves in a similar situation again.

John McGlynn, Long Beach


To the editor: The comparison between President Obama’s and President Trump’s response to pandemics is deceptive.

Obama did not declare a national emergency for the H1N1 swine flu on April 26, 2009. Rather, a public health emergency was declared by public health officials.

In fact, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called the declaration “standard operating procedure.” She said that she preferred to call it a “declaration of emergency preparedness.”

Six months later, after millions of people had been infected, 20,000 hospitalized and 1,000 had died, Obama declared the outbreak a national emergency due to the fact that the rapid increase in illness could overburden healthcare resources.


Perhaps we should all be a little less judgmental.

Nathan Post, Santa Barbara


To the editor: A message to our future leaders: Be humble and surround yourselves with the experts. Then listen to them.

What happened and is continuing to occur is because of Trump’s gross negligence and ignorance. “It could have been different” will be recorded in U.S. history as not only expressing what could have been in 2020, but also all the years of Trump’s leadership.

Esther Friedberg, Studio City


To the editor: At a time when we depend on a science-based response to the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead his administration’s response. This is someone who has declined to express acceptance of evolution and will not say that climate change poses a threat.

Tim Bradley, Irvine