Ebola Scare and Secret Service Scandal Share Effects Of Spending Cuts

Dave Johnson

Republicans “saved money” by cutting the government’s budget for various health agencies … because “government spending” is always bad.

The February 2011 Food Safety News reported, “FDA, FSIS, CDC Face Cuts in House GOP Budget“:

House Republicans Thursday released a more detailed picture of the cuts that would be required under their budget proposal for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, which is slated to be considered on the House floor next week. Food and public health regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would face significant spending cuts under the plan.

The next month, Mother Jones published, in “Death By a Single GOP Cut?“:

Public health advocates warn that these cuts threaten efforts across the country to prevent and contain infectious and sometimes fatal diseases. And they add that lower vaccination rates could eventually result in more outbreaks that endanger public health at a major cost to taxpayers.

The House GOP’s 2011 budget would chop $156 million from the Centers for Disease Control’s funding for immunization and respiratory diseases.

Fast-forward to September 9, 2014, and this headline from The Hill: “GOP cuts funding request to fight Ebola.”

House Republicans indicated Tuesday that they will provide less than half of the White House’s funding request to fight Ebola in the next government spending bill.

A few recent headlines…

HuffPo, Agency Leading Ebola Response Has Had Budget Cut Nearly $600 Million Since 2010.

Mother Jones, Budget Cuts “Eroded Our Ability to Respond” to Ebola, Says Top Health Official.

Details at Blue Nation Review, Ebola, Enterovirus D68 – Remember When GOP Slashed the CDC?

According to the CDC, in 2013, the sequestration required the CDC to cut 5 percent or more than $285 million its fiscal year 2013 budget, which it applied across the board to all programs; every area of the CDC felt the pain. On top of that, the Prevention and Public Health Fund allocation in FY 2013 was almost $350 million below fiscal year 2012. All together, CDC’s program level, including Vaccines for Children mandatory program, was almost $1 billion below fiscal year 2012.

The reduction to CDC’s funding accounts are as follows:

  • Immunization = $100 million
  • HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STI and TB Prevention = $62 million
  • Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases = $13 million
  • Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion = $195 million
  • Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities = $7 million Environmental Health = $17 million
  • Injury Prevention and Control = $7 million
  • Public Health Scientific Services = $19 million
  • Occupational Safety and Health = $9 million
  • Global Health = $18 million
  • Public Health Preparedness and Response = $98 million
  • Cross-cutting Activities and Program Support = $35 million

You know the drill. Government is bad … government spending is a waste … We the People and accountability and transparency lead to cumbersome bureaucracy … Corporations always do everything better and more efficiently than a “collectivist” We the People approach – a k a democracy.

Because one-dollar-one-vote “market solutions” like pay lanes on highways are better than one-person-one-vote democracy like carpool lanes. Like letting private companies decide which vaccines and drugs and antibiotics should be developed, based on what makes them the most profit in a given quarter.

Apparently Republicans think the rich “job creators” don’t get contagious diseases and infections. I guess only the rest of us “takers” can get sick.

P.S.: It’s not just essential health agencies.

February 2011 – “Homeland prepares budget cuts, up to 1,000 furloughs at Secret Service

Dana Milbank at The Washington Post today, “The White House fence jumper and the consequences of budget cuts“:

The Secret Service has been one of many victims of budget cutting in recent years. Its funding for the current year is $2.56 billion, down $5 million from 2012, according to budget expert Scott Lilly at the liberal Center for American Progress. The agency took a much bigger hit in 2013 because of sequestration. “The Secret Service has been frozen in time in a world that’s become more dangerous, and inflation means they have to pay more for the people who work for them,” Lilly said.

P.P.S. – Our roads and rail and other transportation systems are in bad shape because government spending is bad. Our water systems and electrical grid are in bad shape because government spending is bad. Our schools and universities are in bad shape because government spending is bad. Our scientific research facilities are in bad shape because government spending is bad. Our courts are in bad shape because government spending is bad.

Because corporations are more efficient than democracy at making decisions, whatever.

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