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Letters to the Editor: Ending the pandemic is expensive. Everyone, rich and poor, will pay for it

Food giveaway
Residents line up for a food giveaway put on by the Greater Chicago Food Depository on May 12.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Francesco Duina argues persuasively for public policy changes to revive an economy distorted by plutocracy and now battered by an unprecedented health crisis. His prescriptions include increases to unemployment benefits and sick leave, public-private partnerships to provide retraining and placement services, and greater capacity for crucial government contact points.

All are sensible, laudable — and expensive.

To make ends meet, steps must be taken. Affluent property owners must relinquish their Proposition 13 benefits. State and local governments must do more with less. Lavish, unfunded public pensions must be cut down to size.

In the private sector, investors must forgo dividends that consume the cash corporations need for productive investments. CEOs must redeploy their own lavish remuneration to provide a living wage and essential benefits to their workforce.

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As Duina pointed out, collective action is the only thing that will revive economies. That must include shared sacrifice from the boardroom to City Hall to the firehouse.

Shelley Wagers, Los Angeles

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To the editor: It was the government that shut down the economy. Of course our market system cannot help if it is closed down and not allowed to function properly. With the markets closed, only the federal government can provide the stimulus we need.

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The market was doing quite well prior to the pandemic, with low unemployment and rising wages, including for lower-income earners.

Of course there is a role for government to play in our lives, as the initial shutdown amid all the uncertainty indeed saved lives. But to say the free market cannot help us when it is not allowed to do so makes no sense.

It will be the markets that provide the solution to the virus and lead us out of the economic crisis, not the government.

Rudy Alvarez, Pacific Palisades


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