Sometimes … most of the time … you just have to raise the “BS” flag
The latest reason for hoisting said banner is this apparent decision by political operatives on the left to blame Republicans for the ebola epidemic. Because of them, so the meme goes, we’ve had a lack of funding. And that lack of funding is blamed for the failure to have a viable ebola vaccine. Per the NIH chief, they’d have likely succeeded in creating an ebola vaccine if only they’d had the money:
Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has “slowed down” research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.
“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
As the following chart shows, the problem wasn’t money at all:
Since 2001, tons of money have gone toward global health programs. Tons. And the upward move was made during Republican control. So to say his point is BS is to be kind.
In fact, it is likely to have been all about priorities instead, and ebola wasn’t a priority. Secondly, as Glenn Reynolds points out, it had to do with mission creep.
As The Federalist‘s David Harsanyi writes: “The CDC, an agency whose primary mission was to prevent malaria and then other dangerous communicable diseases, is now spending a lot of time, energy and money worrying about how much salt you put on your steaks, how close you stand to second-hand smoke and how often you do calisthenics.”
These other tasks may or may not be important, but they’re certainly a distraction from what’s supposed to be the CDC’s “one job” — protecting America from a deadly epidemic. And to the extent that the CDC’s leadership has allowed itself to be distracted, it has paid less attention to the core mission.
So money which could have been and should have been dedicated to the core mission was instead spent on ideologically supported nonsense. Any wonder why “money” wasn’t available? Because it was wastefully spent elsewhere in the structure of the CDC and NIH.
Gov. Bobby Jindal gives us more facts on the problem:
In recent years, the CDC has received significant amounts of funding. Unfortunately, however, many of those funds have been diverted away from programs that can fight infectious diseases, and toward programs far afield from the CDC’s original purpose.
Consider the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a new series of annual mandatory appropriations created by Obamacare. Over the past five years, the CDC has received just under $3 billion in transfers from the fund. Yet only 6 percent—$180 million—of that $3 billion went toward building epidemiology and laboratory capacity. Especially given the agency’s postwar roots as the Communicable Disease Center, one would think that “detecting and responding to infectious diseases and other public health threats” warrants a larger funding commitment.
Instead, the Obama administration has focused the CDC on other priorities. While protecting Americans from infectious diseases received only $180 million from the Prevention Fund, the community transformation grant program received nearly three times as much money—$517.3 million over the same five-year period.
There are the numbers of funds available to the CDC for its core mission. $3 billion dollars. Spent on its core mission from that fund? $180 million. So how again is that the GOP’s fault?
Instead the truth of the matter is we have a bureaucracy with a supposedly single mission (for heaven sake, its even in their name – “Centers for Disease Control”) which has instead done what bureaucracies always do … creep their authority out into areas where they don’t belong (with the approval of the administration, of course), doing things that mostly fulfill an ideological agenda instead of an agenda of real worth to the citizens it supposedly serves. The money that should have gone toward heavy research into communicable disease threats such as ebola instead went to “fund neighborhood interventions like “increasing access to healthy foods by supporting local farmers and developing neighborhood grocery stores,” or “promoting improvements in sidewalks and street lighting to make it safe and easy for people to walk and ride bikes.”
So while we sit here and watch the left attempt this bit of BS (and watch a certain segment of the citizenry lap it up), let’s remember the reality of why there’s no ebola vaccine. It has absolutely nothing to do with money and everything to do with political priorities.
In this case the priority chosen has put us in a position to be essentially defenseless in the face of a disease for which we should have developed a vaccine by now. But I bet we have some great bike paths out there.
And that failure, friends, is clearly attributable to the administration in power which is responsible for that shift in priorities.