Opinion | Biden’s Bid for Re-election, and His Age

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To the Editor:

Re “Biden Declares 2024 Bid; Possible Rematch in Sight” (front page, April 26):

When Joe Biden became the Democratic nominee for president in 2020, I reluctantly gave him my vote. If he is the party’s nominee again in 2024, he will have it again.

However, I encourage the president to remember that many who will be voting for him see him not as their preferred choice, but rather the drastically lesser of two evils — and that he should use that knowledge as motivation for action.

The uncomfortable truth is that our country is broken and politics as usual will simply no longer suffice.

In what will hopefully be his second term, Mr. Biden must use the power of his office to address issues that actually affect everyday Americans: income inequality; food insecurity; reproductive, gender and civil rights; gerrymandering and voter restrictions; gun violence; health care; bloated defense spending; predatory business practices; a radicalized Supreme Court. The list is unfortunately long, and requires that the American people deliver him a Democratic majority in Congress.

His first term has shown glimpses that Mr. Biden can be a transformative leader. Now, if given the opportunity of four more years, he must truly commit to his promise of saving the soul of America, for it is battered, bruised and long awaiting its champion.

Gabe Downey
Southfield, Mich.

To the Editor:

President Biden may correctly frame the issue in the 2024 elec­tion as “whether in the years ahead we have more free­dom or less free­dom, more rights or fewer.” But while his as yet unknown opponent cannot be measured against these criteria, we do know that the hallmarks of this administration have been extraordinary exercises in presidential power (often reined in by the courts), an increasingly muscular administrative state and a vast expansion in the size and scope of government.

Some may agree with the goals underlying these actions, but they plainly represent the antithesis of “more freedom.”

Kenneth A. Margolis
Chappaqua, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Should Take Voters’ Concerns About Age Seriously” (editorial, April 23):

So what if “Mr. Biden’s overall energy level has declined, and he continues to stumble over words in his public appearances”? He is not running any marathons or competing on “Jeopardy!” The most important trait for a president is sound judgment, and there is no evidence that his judgment is impaired.

The main reason that people are concerned about his age is that the media keeps talking about it.

Ira D. Cohen
North Bergen, N.J.

To the Editor:

I am a Democrat who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 and would vote for him again in 2024. Yes, I am concerned about his age and ability, but I, and I think most of the populace, would be a lot less concerned if he had a different running mate.

Judith Petrizzo
San Jose, Calif.

To the Editor:

As one approaching 80 years, but who still actively practices law and carries his own bag on the golf course, I would like to see President Biden as a one-term president. That’s not because I do not like what he has done to date, but because I view him as too old for a second term.

Some octogenarians have been luckier than others vis-à-vis their cognitive and physical skills, and should appreciate that luck.

While I must concede that I was impressed by Mr. Biden’s recent trip to Ireland and his eloquence before the Irish Parliament, my overall sense is that he’s ebbing. Being president is a taxing, pressure-cooker job that requires a sharp intellect, unless you’re Donald Trump, and great stamina, which I believe neither Mr. Biden nor Mr. Trump possesses.

A Biden-Trump rematch would make us a laughingstock. Is this the best we can do?

Louis J. Maione
New York

To the Editor:

Shame on you, New York Times! Joe Biden at 80 has navigated one of the most divisive and difficult times in our history with dignity and political acumen. To suggest that we throw that away simply because he is older is a capitulation to the current bias against older people.

Lisa Serradilla
New York

Mr. Lloyd Webber, Don’t Blame Labor Unions

To the Editor:

Re “Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Closing of ‘Phantom,’ the Loss of My Son and the Future of Broadway” (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, April 17):

The musicians of New York City join the Broadway theater community in extending heartfelt condolences to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber following the death of his son. As he stated, there is nothing more tragic for a parent than the death of their child.

Mr. Lloyd Webber then turns to the subject of his megahit, “Phantom of the Opera,” which closed on April 16, noting that this past season was the show’s “best ever.”

But he then inexplicably pulls out the long disproved cliché about labor unions driving up ticket prices: “The way multiple union contracts drive up the costs of Broadway shows is unsustainable.”

This attack on unions is nonsensical. Individual theatrical failures are determined by a variety of factors. Few, if any, of them are attributable to unions.

Mr. Lloyd Webber’s theatrical hits helped create the current focus on expensive blockbusters aimed at tourists. Producers mitigate their “risk” by offering safer, already branded projects that might hopefully recoup any Broadway losses when they perform on the road. This is very dissimilar to the Stephen Sondheim/Hal Prince classics he praises.

“Phantom of the Opera” generated 35 years of financial security for Mr. Lloyd Webber, his investors and thousands of union workers who were fortunate enough to bring it to life. More important, the show brought pleasure to audiences all over the world. That kind of success cannot be replicated by simply cutting wages.

Tino Gagliardi
New York
The writer is president of the New York City musicians’ union (American Federation of Musicians Local 802).

China and the Population Ponzi Scheme

To the Editor:

Re “Shrinking Population in China Affects All” (news article, April 20):

No doubt, China’s shrinking population will create economic challenges that will require creative solutions. But aren’t economic challenges preferable to the environmental ones China would face if its population continued growing well past its current 1.4 billion?

To declare it a crisis that China will have fewer people to manufacture the products (including the useless junk) that we in the Western world consume at unsustainable levels is to ignore the fact that we live on a planet that is being smothered to death by our plastic trash.

To fret over diminishing demand for ugly high-rise apartment buildings is to imply that we should keep sprawling, replacing nature with buildings, roads and utilities, wildlife habitats be damned.

Financial security at the individual level doesn’t necessarily require a growing G.D.P. or a growing population. When women have fewer children, they spend more time in the paid work force; they also tend to have healthier, better educated children who grow up to be more productive adults. We should enthusiastically embrace ending the population Ponzi scheme.

Marian Starkey
Falmouth, Maine
The writer is vice president for communications at Population Connection.

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