Did crazy Republican tax-cutters defund the regulatory state for decades?

Minton is the author of a newly released study showing just how far the CDC has strayed from its core mission. In addition to combating dangerous infectious diseases like HIV and malaria, the CDC now also studies alcohol and tobacco use, athletic injuries, traffic accidents, and gun violence. While those things can indeed be important factors to public health, Minton notes, they don’t seem to fall within the agency’s original mission.

They do, however, explain why the CDC’s budget has ballooned from $590 million in 1987 to more than $8 billion last year. If the agency had grown with inflation since 1987, it would have a budget of about $1.3 billion today. Total federal spending, meanwhile, has grown from a hair over $1 trillion in 1987 to $4.4 trillion last year—which means that the CDC’s budget has grown faster the government’s overall spending.

That is by Eric Boehm at Reason.  Via J.


For reference:

Taiwan CDC budget - $200 million, active cases 45

In addition to mission creep the CDC suffers from a plethora of activism. They had too much money and too little direction.

Perhaps in Taiwan the accounting is done a bit differently. After all plenty of the action on the pandemic was done through their single payer health system. Presumably basics like PPE for hospital staff were paid that way.


The CDC doesn't pay for PPE in the US in any meaningful, so I'm not sure what point you are trying to make.

Do you think the CDC is supposed to fund all healthcare in the US?


"The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) of the Department of Health and Human Services has managed the Strategic National Stockpile since October 1, 2018. Prior to that, the stockpile was managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."

Recent change.

Well, I'm not really interested in going into to too much detail. But, in the US the vast majority of healthcare is provided from private sources. That is to say, most of what is in a typical hospital in the US does not come from the CDC's annual budget, but from a plethora of sources both public and private.

So saying Taiwans CDC budget isn't comparable because they have a universal healthcare system doesn't make a lot of sense. Those expenses ( like PPE) also don't come from the CDC in the US either.

About 40% of health spending in the U.S. comes from government programs, primarily Medicare and Medicaid.

I have been greatly misinformed if all Medicare and Medicaid spending comes out of the CDC's eight billion dollar budget.

Taiwan CDC manages masks through eMask system.

Interesting. Did the head of the ASPR drop $2.8 billion on smallpox vaccine alone?


That seems a lot compared to the CDC budget.

Oh oh,

"Kadlec's long-term focus has been on preparing for bioterrorism. And when he assumed his position in the Trump administration he turned towards beefing up biodefense, while "cutting planned spending on emerging infectious diseases, despite warnings from scientists that a natural contagion could also be devastating," The Post reported."

Maybe people barking at the CDC are barking up the wrong tree.

That a 'strategic' reserve. That vast majority of PPE (and other things) are provided and stockpiled privately and individually by users, not gotten from the strategic stockpile.

That's for 'surge management' - emergencies (like the current one) to top off private stocks as necessary.

Right, but it is also the strategic reserve which was famously under-stocked.

and all I'm really saying is that if anyone it was in charge of preparedness maybe it was Preparedness.

The people with that name in their description.

You would think expecting the CDC to focus on their primary mission of ....controlling disease... would be a non partisan issue.

But here we are. The non insane take would be that we’re spending billions on an agency that is incapable of fulfilling their primary mission.

Most of what they needed to do would not have affected their budget.

Come on man slow down and look at it.

This responsibility was specifically granted to a new organization in government in 2006.

I can understand how oldsters would be slow to accept that. After all, they have been relying on the CDC all their lives, and if they don't follow the minutia of government organization they may not be aware of the change.

But that doesn't mean the change didn't happen.

And indeed anybody who blames the CDC for anything that is now the responsibility of the ASPR is showing how out of the loop they are.

Or how they are unable to adjust their priors.

The fact that the Stockpile was specifically transferred from the CDC to the ASPR should get this across.

To be clear, I think the CDC still has primary responsibility to understand disease, but operational preparedness was transferred to a new organization.

Everybody read up for a minute or two,


at the end of the day
Attorney General Barr is still
the smartest&most objective bear in the room

They failed miserably at their primary mission. But they can sure pump out those guidelines! And they are warning us that we mustn’t reopen the schools.

Don’t worry, high school football season is coming up. No one really cares about spring soccer ball or women’s spring tennis (I guess men’s too LOL). But I’d bet $20 bux we are back bathing in those Friday night lights by August or this whole country has turned into a bunch of pussies ( which has clearly been the real pandemic all along).

I’d really like to know what percent of this is organic (driven by self-imposed missions) growth and how much is legislatively mandated.

And they use CPI as a benchmark instead of something like medical care services which is almost like 100% higher.

This is why I read reason less and less; they’re more worried about clicks than credibility.

If a health problem involves the private health of many citizens that need not mean it's a public health issue. "Athletic injuries" for heaven's sake?

I think that might be like TBIs in sports, which could probably fall into a public health issue, as many children play sports.

But your hurting yourself playing sports doesn't alter my chances of falling ill. Your sneezing on me does. So the latter is a public health issue and the former is not.

If you think an agency for DISEASE CONTROL should be studying sports injuries, because they are both health issues, you are exactly the kind of moron that the world needs to hold up and mock every single day.

Whether or not money investigating athletic injuries, gun violence, bio-terrorism, etc, is a good idea and whether of not CDC should be the agency doing these things (why not?) how did that lead to their lack of preparedness for a pandemic.

Is it just a semantic issue?

If there were a different name for an agency that was concerned with all the things that killed us would that be as bad?

The Center For Things That Kill Us, at less than half the price of the Center For Looking At Rocks In Space (NASA $22B).

Don’t forget the Ministry of Funny Walks:


If "athletic injuries" refers to football and brain injury,


I don't think that's really something to minimize.

Sure, but it's still not "public" health.

High school football?

You caught the word "public," right?

Most high schools are public, and if they (or parents) want to know if something they do damages kids, where should they go?

Why not a public agency committed to understanding human health?

Like, say, the Department of Health and Human Services (which the CDC is a constituent/subsidiary element of)?

You mean things that build character and teach you to be a man and that are worth the statistical half year you loose on the weaker life’s?

No. Yes. Centralizers like you never learn.

I'm just saying human health is one thing, and doesn't benefit from artificial divisions. I'm not trying to put animal cruelty or fire prevention in there.

It's weird how one your objections from the last few weeks has been that health is insufficiently centralised, leaping straight to the conclusion that this causes recent problems and to then argue for further centralisation on that basis.

Then when this post crops up and it actually is that centralised, there's no self examination and self doubt in your original prescription, but doubling down that it should be even more centralised than it is.

The weird part is that people engage with "Anonymous" who lately appears to be mainly a single commenter with low intelligence and is relatively uninformed.

There's already the National Institutes of Health.

Here is a study of CDC funding over time and the cuts.

Anyone for something like prescription drug abuse and opioids and declining spending due to those increased health risks.

A very good report with a substantive board with public health backgrounds: https://www.tfah.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/TFAH_2019_PublicHealthFunding_07.pdf

Much of the money gets sent to the states for specific programs. Data listed above.


Informative. Shows scope creep

Yeah, they should not have addressed opioids and anything new that comes up.

Is this controversial now?

I expect the Center for Disease Control to primarily focus on controlling infectious disease.

If they’re now primarily a grant funding institution for secondary and tertiary missions to the point that they fail at their primary mission, that’s totally unacceptable.

You don’t have to let Trump off the hook for anything at all. This doesn’t need to be a Culture War issue.

Re: I expect the CDC to focus on infectious disease

What you expect is irrelevant. Congress authorizes and appropriates money and approves or curtails programs, based in the Executive department budget.

What you believe or expect is irrelevant.

There are adults in the room when decisions are made by both branches of government.

Do you have a peer review study that shows that to be true?

I was counting on asking the Inspector General
For some reason he seems to be missing.

I read the one page critique by the so-called Competitive Institute (Board members from the Scaiffe Foundation and George Mason) and matched that against the study of the CDC by the Trust For America's Health, whose board members include heads of U of Texas health, pediatric associations, etc. : https://www.tfah.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/TFAH2020PublicHealthFunding.pdf

Here is some data:
"Funding for CDC’s public health preparedness and response programs decreased between the FY 2019 and FY 2020 budgets – down from $858 million in FY 2019 to $850 million in FY 2020. CDC’s program funding for emergency preparedness in FY 2020 ($7.92 billion) is less than it was in FY 2011 ($7.99 billion in FY 2020 dollars), after adjusting for inflation.

Funding for state and local public health emergency preparedness and response programs has also been reduced, by approximately one-third since 2003. And, of critical concern now, funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program, the only federal source of funding to help the healthcare delivery system prepare for and respond to emergencies, has been cut by half since 2003." https://www.tfah.org/article/new-report-show-hamstrung-covid-19-response-was-years-in-the-making/

Here is a study prepared by the same organization, The Trust for America's Health. https://www.tfah.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/TFAH2020PublicHealthFunding.pdf

What I found interesting was that the critique of the CDC in this post focused on cigarettes and guns, and neglected opiod programs and the cuts to emergency preparedness.

Read the whole CDC study by the Trust for America's Health and compare that to the one page article cited in this post, and then decide for yourself which provides the most substantive information and describes the world as it really is.

The Trust is made up of people who have been associated with liberal think tanks and the health care, who not surprisingly, want to the government to spend more on health care. E.g., spending is DOWN from $858 to $850 million and $7.99 to $7.92 billion? That is essentially flat, but among the liberal Beltway crowd, that constitutes a savage cut.

$7.99 to $7.92 billion after adjusting for inflation. Nominal spending is up.

At the same time,

"The FY 2019 President’s Budget Request for ASPR is $2.2 billion, an increase of $722 million above the FY 2018 Annualized Continuing Resolution level. This funding level reflects the transfer of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ASPR, supports emergency operations planning and response, and maintains critical investments in medical countermeasures (MCMs)."

From "Fiscal Year 2019 Budget-in-Brief Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund"

It does sound possible that they overemphasized bio-war even as they took over responsibilities for pandemic from the CDC.

It’s unbelievable when people are presented with evidence contrary to their ideological view, they are simply incapable of adjusting their beliefs.

The CDC acted like most other bureaucracies-mission creep, complacency, over funded, and under examined.

And like most bureaucracies, unless completely dismantled and brought to a close, their core mission becomes survival and ease of existence.

I guess if there is any blame here, Trump should of severely cleaned house in January as the response was being fumbled by the CDC.

Terry, Did you read the reports, or is this just general antagonism towards any federal agency.

As for being overseen, that is what the Congressional budget process is about, and, if there were any oversight, it would be on under, rather than over, funding, as we have had budget caps during the Obama years.

If you are really interested in this, I thought the Trust for America Health was very good and informative...It;s long and detailed, but, if you want information, there it is.

Yes, good link. So, we see HIV/TB/HEP/STI is funded at a rate nearly 4X higher than that of zoonotic emerging diseases (covid). And diabetes, heart disease, etc is also about 4X higher.

But holy cow: Vaccines for children are funded to the tune of 20X that of emerging diseases. These aren't NEW vaccines. These are just money to pay for existing vaccines.

In other words, the CDC is simply paying for things (vaccines) that parents should be paying for. Sorry, I get the occasional stumble a family might have. But increasingly we're telling parents that EVERYTHING your kids need will be paid for: Your meals, your notebooks and pencils at school, your vaccines. What's next? Clothes?

If you cannot afford to routinely pay for meals, vaccines and school supplies for your kids, then you probably shouldn't have had kids.

Counterpoint: vaccines are the textbook example of a public good, and consequently should obviously be paid for or will be undersupplied by the market. Isn't this supposed to be an econ blog?

That vaccines should be supported through at least some public provision is one of the most basic truisms of economic theory.

Yes, agree they are a public good, and schools should require them. But they should be paid for by parents (or state/local govs if parents can't afford). Some states might want a lot more vaccines than other states. There are ~1500 vaccines out there. Not all are needed. If you join the military, you'll learn just how many are optional for normal people. CDC would be a good place to help states decide which of the ~1500 vaccines will be mandatory for that state.

Public goods should be provided by the Army. Getting rid of malaria, cholera, etc was done by the US Army. Keeping soldiers killing by reducing flu by flu vaccine was done by the US Army, no premature end of war like in 1918 because soldiers were too sick to kill. Triple E, one of a group of infections, has a vaccine developed by the US Army to protect warriors playing in the woods, but it can't be protected by patent, so no drug company will touch it so it's in its fourth decade of human trials run by the US Army USAMRIID - civilians must pay $20,000 to be a test subject for two years of immunity.

Note, food stamps, etc, were critical to being able to draft millions of men healthy enough to fight WWII. That left sickly men to work in factories, so employers did things to build up the health of workers so they were healthy enough to work. Eg, employer chow line, employer medical care evolving into Kaiser HMOs.

"If you cannot afford to routinely pay for meals, vaccines and school supplies for your kids, then you probably shouldn't have had kids."

So, you are pro baby killing Planned Parenthood!

Are you in favor of $20 per hour minimum wages, with employer maternity leave and other medical leave mandates?>

Since 1980, paying workers is a cost to be eliminated, and government is responsible for putting more money in consumer pockets by tax cuts and lower prices thanks to lower labor costs and higher profits.

Ie, in 1980, economies ceased being zero sum: wages and benefits no longer fund consumer spending, government policy does.

Or are you a blue blood Republican waking from a coma you fell into in the 60s when HW Bush and Nelson Rockefeller were in their 30s. Back when economies were zero sum and wages funded GDP growth as a benefit of higher labor costs.

Then Milton Friedman was a heterodox arguing against GDP per capita growth because consumers were already consuming too much because government policy increased wages which required, zero sum, higher consumption, even when consumption was already too high. Eg, who needs 1000 square feet of living space for 5 people when a generation earlier 800 was enough for 8-10 people of 2-3 generations.

> So, you are pro baby killing Planned Parenthood!

Yes, have as many abortions as you want in first trimester. I'd could probably be convinced to pay for abortion pills too for the first few weeks. But if you can't get off your ass and have an abortion in the first trimester, then I get increasingly morally bothered as things progress if you still want an abortion in the 9th month (baring any physical risk to mother)

> Are you in favor of $20 per hour minimum wages, with employer maternity leave and other medical leave mandates?>

If you are worth $20/hour to your employer, then absolutely! McDonalds pays their employees around $0.20 for every dollar they bring in for the company. So does Microsoft. If you bring in $100/hour for your employer, then you should be earning $20/hour no problem.

But if you bring in $30/hour for your employer, then your problem isn't with the employer. It's with your productivity. You won't find anyone to pay you $20/hour. Your job will go away if they are forced to pay even $15/hour for you.

> wages funded GDP growth as a benefit of higher labor costs.

Again, it goes back to productivity. Our productivity gains in the 50's came primarily from employees acquiring additional skill. That is, a 50 year old machinist could make a part for an airplane much faster and much more accurate than a 20 year old machinist.

Today, our productivity gains come from employers investing in new machines. A 20 year old that has 12 hours of training on a $1M CNC machine can make many more parts and to a much higher tolerance than a machinist with 20 years of experience from the 1960s. There has been a massive increase in productivity, but it's because someone invested in a machine. And thus the person that invested int he machine should probably be accruing most of the benefits.

Starve the beast. Evade taxes.

Ignore regulations.

Live free.

Does that money pay for the largest HIV research program, bigger than diabetes, heart disease and stroke combined? You know, the one controlled by Fauci saying AIDS transmission by handshakes.

My first reaction was "hey, mission creep seems like it could play a role in a weak response to the coronavirus."

However I clicked through to find an atrociously argued article that does not come close to making a convincing case that the diffused focus has a negative net social benefit or is responsible for a lackluster response.

And, then I made the mistake of clicking through to the underlying study! The only argument that studying chronic disease had a net negative social benefit was a weird anecdote on a mixed response to vaping deaths. I thought this was odd until I found the ~10 years of advocacy work by the author on behalf of the e-cigarette industry.

At the end of the day this is a link to a study that is using COVID-19 as an excuse to continue to push an agenda to defund the CDCs work on tobacco and e-cigarettes.

How about some quality control? I am still interested in a thoughtful social benefit analysis of the CDC's broad focus, which I can imagine might have a negative net social benefit.

Going through the article sources ( President's US budget) I cannot find how they get the $8 billion figure (Not to mention was it last year? This year?)

Still cannot find the $8 billion figure.

I was going to say the same thing about cigarettes in that article.

It seemed strange to me that there were several paragraphs on this subject in that article. But, now that you did some research and found that the guy who wrote it is an e-vaper advocate, I now understand.

This is just a one page PR piece.

The Dr., Thanks for doing the research.

You get a +1

"This is just a one page PR piece." That's a hell of a leap. If the author has a lot of experience in an area, you'd expect it to be more prominent. The logic of the articles still holds. Tobacco use (which the author is not advocating if she's advocating e-cigs, quite the opposite) is not an example of public health issue. Neither are the other examples. If the CDC would stick to its mission there would be a better chance it would perform better at it. The author here is probably acutely aware that the CDC is dysfunctional as it attack both tobacco use, and e-cigarettes.


Thank you. You described the article accurately as a cigarette critique of the CDCs role.

Yeah, I caught on to the same thing when Reason took a dump on the CDC through multiple articles about vaping. They’re getting to be as bad as, or worse than, The NY Times.


"The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the United States Department of Health and Human Services was created under the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to lead the nation in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters."

it is kind of odd that this agency gets so little press right now in the pandemic. In 2006 we made a big change that put them in charge.

"the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act"

They thought the "pandemic" part was so important, they put it right there in the title.

I though the crazy republican tax-cutting plan is to acknowledge that defunding the regulatory state is unpopulor so the plan is to 1. make the regulatory state ineffective 2. use results of step 1 as reason to cut taxes. Now step 1 seems to have worked. W.r.t. to step 2 there are always those pesky special interests and periodically elected democrats to contend with. Need to work harder on step 1?

The only republican who was serious about cutting regulation was St. Ronnie. Regulation grew significantly under both Bush's, particularly Bush I.

All of the real deregulation happened under Carter



On Reagan: “Lacks the capacity to distinguish fantasy from reality”
Like Trump, just less nasty.

Yeah, that’s a real stinging criticism, coming from Biden voter. Dear God

It started with Carter, but continued with Reagan. it started with airline deregulation in 1978.

Code of federal regulation was something 50,000 pages when Reagan took office. He actually kept it there for all 8 years he was in office. It increased under Bush 1 at a rate comparable to if Reagan had never been in office.

alcohol and tobacco use, athletic injuries, traffic accidents, and gun violence.alcohol and tobacco use, athletic injuries, traffic accidents, and gun violence.

I noticed that a death rate from any cause must be blow about 50k otherwise hell breaks lose in the Swamp an action must be take. This seems to be true since the 1950s.

My theory is that the House member has a fixed bandwidth channel, the office hasn't changed and it has a hard limit on the number of similar complaints coming in. Once the limit is reached, the cdc gets a new charge, evidently.

The creation of unit test cases is normally expected while developing software.

What if unit test cases (mock drills) were applied to government agencies?

These unit test cases could be predefined and/or devised by a 'war gaming' committee.

You can be head of a Federal agency that spends $8 billion a year and nobody outside DC even knows your name or what you do.

DoD has a budget about 87 times greater and even FEMA and NASA have budgets 2 and 3 times greater, respectively.

The public health establishment in the federal government is confusing to outsiders and could probably be streamlined, though. We have CDC, NIH, and the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and it's not clear where one agency's mission ends and another begins.

After reading And the Band Plays On I'm not sure I'd use 1980's CDC budgets as a desirable baseline to project from. Their totally insufficient resources to combat HIV was a major factor in letting that disease run rampant (along with many others). I have no idea what the right budget # is or isn't but I don't trust an argument that says we had it right in the 80's.

Meanwhile, look at headcount also.

Total money is not nearly as important in this context as how it is allocated. Agencies can serve Republicans quite well when it comes to their pet projects, to boosting their constituent pork projects and universities, etc. And, for example, using the regulatory state as a front for imposing restrictions on competition to protect incumbents, i.e. by imposing middle men and raising barriers to entry.

In the case of CDC, they have provided a swell ROI for the vaccine industry's lobbying. Providing a 330 million person captive market for their products, with preemptive blanket liability, and led the charge on the marketing and promotions budget.

[Note: this is not a comment on vaccines. This is a comment on how the vaccine 'market' is structured.]

Tobacco kills 600000 Americans/year last I checked. The wars in Iraq + Afghanistan were around $3 trillion. Overspending on tobacco prevention does not seem to be one of America's biggest problems.

More generally, non-communicable diseases kill more people than communicable diseases and also can be addressed with tools of public health.

It is not so much about the money as it is about the lack of focus by personal on their core task. After all the "tools of public health" are, officially located under the Office of Assistant Secretary of Health with things like the National Public Health Service being under their remit.

If something is vital enough to do, it is vital enough to have the right people doing it under the right auspices.

Fact is most of what the CDC has spent a decade or two doing was supposed to be done elsewhere in HHS. And this matters because when you hire people at the CDC you want them to have a nigh unto monomaniacal focus on disease control. And you want them to be hired for a skillset that is far different than working on tobacco prevention.

When you let mission creep for a prestige organization, like the CDC has been in the past, go out of control you end up where skills sets atrophy and you face a very hard time recruiting, retaining, and promoting the folks whose core skillsets are most inline with the core mission. For instance, it takes one kind of marketing expert to find the best way to convey the reality of smoking risks. If you are going to make a major campaign you want to work slow off heavy focusing grouping of your core audience. If you want to do pandemic control you need to have people who can make things understandable, easily repeatable and shareable with the ability to communicate far more nuance. If all you do most of the day is anti-smoking work, the skills needed in a rapidly evolving situation atrophy at best.

And so it goes. Not every agency can or should do every good things. Having specific missions helps keep skillsets sharp and make sure that the people who need to work together in a crisis can do so effectively.

The CDC simply has let mission creep break up the cohesion of the organization, diminish the skills I need from a lot of experts, and has resulted in a lot of talented people going into admin or leaving the organization.

And lest we forget when you have parallel bureaucracies, like with the CDC and OASH, you end reduplicating a lot of effort and creating drag on your community partners as they have to dance to two different tunes. Certainly I have had far too many times in this pandemic when I have too many conflicting directives from too many conflicting organizations.

Please everyone read this last paragraph.

In British Columbia, the Public Health authorities used fax machines to notify doctors. They told them the symptoms and peculiarities of this infection. They used a fax because through experience they know that emails aren't read, letters are too slow, no one watches the news, but everyone will read a fax.

Maintaining or justifying the status quo is an extreme position.

"Sure", you make really good points. But is there evidence that mission creep has hurt their "core" mission? During the recent (2014) Ebola outbreak the leading authorities were MSF and the US CDC.

Also, this mission creep (if it is that) applies to the entire field of public health, which has recently come to interpret non-communicable diseases as increasingly in-scope. Either this is a good thing or a bad thing but I don't think it's at all unique to CDC. I personally think it's reasonable: NCDs kill more people than communicable diseases and public health measures are often effective for them.

What I find interesting is how we are trying to measure our "success" in a situation where the only real tool the government had (and still the only one it has) is forcing people to isolate. Yes, there is the testing issue, PPE, etc. But let's imagine we had it all perfect back in January. What would be different right now? I doubt very much anything would be different. The only comparisons we use are either very, very small countries (we particularly love to compare ourselves to small islands) or countries who basically are lying (China, Russia, etc). At the end of the day, the only thing that matters here is to try to find a vaccine or some sort of treatment. Are these things that the CDC is supposed to resolve? According to everything I've read, these issues are being tackled by private industries (and it is going as well as we could expect or maybe better). I am not saying we should give the CDC a pass but when we criticize its scope we should at least know how that revised scope would apply in the situation at hand...

Some interesting claims here:

"For Philadelphia, it estimates that 45 days of being shut down, and doing social distancing spared 62-hundred lives, and kept 57-thousand people out of hospitals than if life went on as usual."

57,000 in Philadelphia alone.


Sure, they can claim whatever. However, until we have a cure or a vaccine these are not saved, they are postponed (at a huge financial cost).

Is this "just postponed" stuff supported by an equivalent model? Got a link?

I would think those countries that have done very well, and dramatically reduced their cases, would keep on doing well.

I see no reason that a Taiwan or South Korea should suddenly blow up and be a New York.

The "model" is called logic. Unless you believe that lock downs will actually eradicate the virus (which is ludicrous) you are just postponing infections (and consequently deaths). Everyone understood this when this was about "flattening the curve" but, as always, people cannot control their fantasies and now people believe that there is a "behave well" element that can magically stop the virus. There is no stopping here until we have a vaccine or enough infections to naturally stop the spread. This is no news, it is how all similar viruses work (unless they mutate like the flu, in which case we get seasonal infections until a vaccine that really works for all variants is found). Again, this is not new in any way. If you think this is inaccurate, you need to show your links. Spanish flu had several ups and downs exactly because of lock-downs.

That doesn't sound very logical to me.

Some countries have demonstrated their ability to avoid deaths and hospitalizations even with current technology.

We should too.

We definitely should not embrace risk because we think that something is impossible, that has happened already.

It is definitely not inevitable that every city in the world becomes New York sooner or later.

Of course not every city will become NYC because not every city is not NYC. Just look at total deaths per 100k for the world and wait. It will pretty much look very similar once this whole thing is done. Of course, I hope I am wrong.

An I reading this correctly the author made an argument about budget and missed this part, "Vaccines for Children = $4.951 billion."

Isn't that kinda important if he was trying to make a valid point?

I blame Gramsci. We see the same thing with Public Health
England (PHE) here in the UK: as the agency has fallen to “the long march through the institutions” its focus has shifted from its original goals to a form of nanny state paternalism, with predictable results.

There's a hopeful element in what you say. It's '68ers who undertook the long march [and succeeded], but that generation is gonna die soon.

More interestingly, my English wife notes that if Elizabeth Warren became president, we'd get a granny state instead of a nanny state. :-)

What I think is interesting is that, through our taxes, we pay lots and lots of money for personnel and equipment to prevent, or deter, risks.

I am talking about the military, not CDC.

Yet, I don't think the risk of nuclear war is even discernible, and I do not worry about that infinitesimal risk, which would still be infinitesimal if the military budget were cut in half.

But, the risk of covid and a pandemic...that is much higher...and deadly in our lifetime...but we whine about the CDC pandemic expenditures

Yesterday's post on relative risks should place the risk of nuclear war against the risk of a pandemic.

Ugh. Libertarians continue to be the worst.

To say the DoD has strayed from its original mission by investing in cybersecurity would be called ludicrous, and this post should be as well. Since the CDC was founded, public health threats changed and the work of the agency adjusted accordingly.

Mission creep is real but I looked at CDC's budget a while ago and the single biggest line item in CDC's budget is its program to distribute subsidized vaccines to local health departments around the country. This alone costs about $4 billion and while some people might not want the federal government in the business of subsidizing vaccines (I disagree), it's difficult to argue this is not part of CDC's core mission. You could cut everything not related to contagious diseases in CDC's budget and would still be left with the vast majority of CDC's spending still in place.

Far from claiming lack of resources, the MSM have been completely silent on why and how CDC "dropped the ball" on distributing test kits and not allowing others to develop and use their own tests down to and including the Gates-Seattle kerfuffle.

Likewise, Why didn't CDC have an in principle plan for how localities should do social distancing if that's the standard recommendation that comes out of the standard epidemiological models.

It's hard to believe that lack of resources (or the fact that someone else in the building was studying gun violence, or that DJT was living in the White House) led to these failings.

"MSM have been completely silent on why and how CDC "dropped the ball" on distributing test kits"

Get out of your bubble. "C.D.C. Labs Were Contaminated, Delaying Coronavirus Testing, Officials Say," NYTimes, April 18, 2020: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/18/health/cdc-coronavirus-lab-contamination-testing.html

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