HHS turned down a big opportunity to make a lot of masks early

Another HHS official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said: “There is a process for putting out contracts. It wasn’t as fast as anyone wanted it to be.”

The masks still are not being made, and this would be in Texas.  I’ll say it yet again: our regulatory state is failing us in this matter.  Here is a bit more:

From his end, Bowen [the mask maker] said his proposal seemed to be going nowhere. “No one at HHS ever did get back to me in a substantive way,” Bowen said.

The senior U.S. official said Bowen’s idea was considered, but funding could not easily be obtained without diverting it from other projects.

While we are on the topic of diverting funding, surely we would all agree that the NSF funding for the social sciences all should — for at least two years — be diverted to biomedical research?  I wonder how many economists are willing to tweet that policy recommendation.

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Have you shunned all marginal thinking to be provocative?

Maybe SOME economics funding should be diverted but the most impactful econ research > moderately impactful biomed research.

There is a cognitive bias if I ever saw one.

"Whatever the problem today is needs 100% of our funding for the next 2 years, and why wasn't it at 100% all along‽"

This is a recipe for disaster. Our institutions will be flopping around like an ADHD goldfish. The problem is our institutions are bloated and have no justification for their current projects besides amassing money and power to themselves. Think about it, if ’drop everything you're doing right now’ is even on the menu of options, nothing they're doing could possibly be very important. They probably should have stopped everything they were doing long ago.

.... in case you weren't able to put the pieces together: Ergo, research into creating and maintaining good institutions would solve the upstream failure, not just put out the fire du jour.

+1 yes. The flopping you describe would be driven 100% by special interest groups too. Because with the right framing, everything is an emergency.

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As a practical matter, this is why God created interagency task forces under White House leadership, to anoint ordinary bureaucrats with (among other things) procurement superpowers. A failure of Federal leadership once again.

Or abolish the state and let private industry fund it (Bill Gates). Parable of the bees, no such thing as tragedy of the commons, etc.

The private sector was the group that outsource the manufacturing of PPE to China in order to save a couple of penies per mask. How did that work out.

There is no mechanism for the private sector to think about the long term or the low frequency/high risk event. Even today, hospitals get grants to prepare for mass emergencies because there is no reason for the private sector to prepare.

Insurance immediately comes to mind as a mechanism used by the private sector to mitigate against low frequency/high risk events.

And how many companies or organizations had pandemic insurance? I believe very few and then even the few business that had such insurance have already began to fight with their insurers who do not want to pay.

My very narrow observation was not that insurance is the right tool for this specific case - just to point out that market mechanisms for dealing with low frequency / high risk events do exist.

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Until. of course, the insurance companies need to be bailed out because they really cannot both mitigate those events and make a profit.

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I love these comments. Has no one ever wondered why everything was moved off shore, what were the cost structures that would be imposed and where they came from, and why going to somewhere else even with the risks was far cheaper?

And most pertinent, why is it so hard to onshore again when companies desperately want to.

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@Derek - nonsense, they put a man on the moon using the lowest cost vendor(s) to the Apollo program.

Really? They bid that stuff out? Hmmm.

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> There is no mechanism for the private sector to think about the long term or the low frequency/high risk event. Even today, hospitals get grants to prepare for mass emergencies because there is no reason for the private sector to prepare.

Yes there is. It's called contracts. Airlines overpay for fuel most months in order to guarantee a supply. So do people buying cement and pork. There are markets in all this.

Hospitals beat 3M during a pandemic, and then go back to China once the dangers recedes. And then they try to blame government.

This is the the doctors and hospitals problem to solve. They can do it by purchasing options to purchase. They don't want to do it because it costs. But United Airlines doesn't want to overpay for fuel either. But it's better than not having any fuel some months.

The federal gov has no business acting as a repository for consumables for every 10 year event out there. Do you really think the feds need to warehouse copper wire, plywood and shingles for every 10 year hurricane?

Be serious.

The hospitals can always close due to inability to comply with OSHA until the event is over. With options, at the very least, some hospitals would close due to lack of supply.

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I am sure Trump's handpicked HHS leader, former Eli head Azar, and Jared Kushner, really put their heads together to make sure this was a priority.

Does your cranium ever contain a thought that’s unaffected by your TDS?

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> A failure of Federal leadership once again.

Yes, but if you think any past administration or any future administration would have done better, you are wrong. Your criticism is that of gov in general. Any federal agency that put green energy ahead of pandemic planning failed. By definition. And they all did it.

In 100 years, those people will look back at us with pity for the pandemic, just as we look back at the 1917 pandemic with pity. They will think we were insane for wasting our money on green energy instead of masks, because the technology in 2120 will make adaptation and/or mitigation virtually painless.

Can you imagine people dealing with the 1917 flu taking their hard earned money in 1917 and putting it towards solving a 2020 problem instead of surviving the pandemic? What could a person in 1917 possibly have done collectively to undue a massive problem we're facing today? Nothing.

Those that pushed the federal gov to invest hundreds of billions of $ in green instead of masks have blood on their hands. Because there werent' enough masks, people died. And there weren't enough masks becuase people pushed politicians to treat a pandemic as a low-priorty #100 problem instead of a #1 big problem.

It's an easy game to play.

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There is more than enough money at NIH to deal with coronavirus research. The problem is that they got to lax after SARS & MERS departed the scene. Transferring money from NSF is not the answer; it is the equivalent of peeing in the ocean.

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Given the reproducibility crises in social sciences, I would permanently end all funding of social sciences, not just for two years. The key difference is the bio-medical research actually produces new medical technology. Social science research produces....nothing.

This guy seems blissfully unaware that the reproducibility crisis is more than present in medical research as well.

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https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170223144729.htm

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So, what is the United States national production and allocation strategy for COVID related masks?

I've read some things, but I'm not sure I'm current. I believe it is left to states or even hospitals to find and source their own? I believe some states have thrown around big money. That is certainly sub-optimal compared to a Defense Production Act production and clearing house for national production and allocation.

On transfers of money, sure. Take it from NASA even, if they can't find COVID related work to do. But I think the Defense Production Act should kind of be our first focus, if we really want production.

This was the headline a month ago: "States are bidding against each other and the federal government for important medical supplies — and it’s driving up prices"

> States are bidding against each other and the federal government for important medical supplies

Or "Neighbors are bidding against each other for water..." or "siblings are bidding against each other for food"

Yes, when you fail to take care of the fundmantals, as states have done, when the bill becomes due, it's tough.

If a state put green ahead of masks, they bet wrong. Right?

Did anyone tell states ahead of time to have no faith in the Strategic National Stockpile nor the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response?

The national stockpile was supposed to be 100M masks, but it was left empty by Obama. There are 5M doctors and nurses in the US. If each see 20 patients a day, then the national stockpile when full is one day of masks.

Everyone dealing in this has known forever that a pandemic could easily hit billions of masks in a month. If H1N1 was a Level 1 pandemic, this is Level 3 or Level 4. This pandemic was a million miles from really, really, really bad. Ebola at scale would be really bad.

Make no mistake: A Level 10 pandemic could come that would require a billion masks a day: 10M docs and nurses and volunteers volunteers each needing 20 changes a day. That would be 200M a day for 2 months, or 12B masks. And then everyone in the country needing a new N95 mask every week. That would be 300M a week for 8 weeks, 2.5B masks.

It's very easy to see how it would take 15B masks to ensure we "had enough". Anything short of that means you are requiring medical folks to re-use. And that's a no-no.

The states can do this math too, it's very simple. Ask your local hospital admin: Why did you not have 60 days of PPE in reserve? Why did you build a new maternity ward ahead of ensuring adequate PPE supplies?

The answer will always be: Because we wanted to cut corners.

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Remember too that when the feds did buy PPE and direct it someplace, the outcry went up from the exact same people that the federal government was murdering people by overriding the states and imposing different priorities. No one actually cares about whether there's a federal policy; it's just a political club that flips back and forth depending on whether the feds have acted or not acted.

Whatever happened with those stories? What did the feds do with the masks? I heard that they re-auctioned them for re-sale which is really crazy..

I have seen lots of people ask the question you are asking. Tom T. is the first to even suggest a vague answer, "imposing different priorities."

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The plan is for individual hospitals and state agencies to try and find some fly by night provider, make a deal at 10x or 20x the normal price, for a fraction of the volume they need, and then try and hide the delivery from the Feds so it doesn't get seized.

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"...the Defense Production Act should kind of be our first focus, if we really want production."

Companies that desperately want to produce PPE are not allowed to, and your first thought is force them to? I guess in your world everything is banned until it is mandatory.

I'm thinking that the Defense Production Act both pays all bills and clears all roadblocks. Why shouldn't it, if we are rationally responding to a national emergency?

I mean, people who really don't want to do anything anyway fly imaginary arguments about the EPA blocking the Defense Production Act, but I say hell no, and in a national emergency the courts would agree.

We friggen' incarcerated every ethnic Japanese for God's sake.

And for anyone who thinks we don't do sh*t like that anymore, the courts did *not* stop Trump from stripping children from families and locking them in cages.

It's just that you allocate your emergency action on that, and not the 'rona.

Nor did they stop Obama from doing the same.

Actually, the Courts did stop the obama administration, and obama did not attack the judges as Bush or Reagan judges, or white judges, but instead tried as best as they could to release kids to parents and guardians in the US. Then when reports of fraud and slave labor were made, tried to change the process to release the kids to safe conditions.

Trump attacked the terms the Obama administration negotiated with Federal judges ordering children not be detained in cages, claiming that he was only doing what Obama was ordered and agreed to to do.

Basically, trump's justification was he was doing only what Obama was order not to do, and what Obama agreed not to to, so it was Obama who made Trump detain kids that Obama agreed not to detain, and Trump would never accept court orders because Obama accepted and agreed to court orders.

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Those kids were taken across the border illegally. There should be something there to stop that, and thus the removal from families. Maybe some wall-like device.

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It's becoming more and more clear you have no idea what the Defense Production Act is.

What exactly do you propose to do via the Defense Production Act?

Zero content.

"The Defense Production Act of 1950 is a United States federal law enacted on September 8, 1950 in response to the start of the Korean War. It was part of a broad civil defense and war mobilization effort in the context of the Cold War. "

I'll take some of that "broad mobilization."

Zero content indeed.

What exactly do you propose to do via the Defense Production Act?

In world war II, without computers, somebody would have been allocated for every state, to find requirements, to produce a total, to produce orders, to creste a supply chain, and delivery logistics.

But the party in charge is divided between two people those who say we won't and those who say we can't.

We have become a nation that won't even try.

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Still extremely unclear as to what you actually propose. Maybe that's the point? Here's a non-insane idea:

Congress passes a Respirator Funding Bill. It subsidizes respirator production in the US, $1 per respirator until we reach 330M respirators produced per day. First come first serve contract wise. Guaranteed $1/mask until 2025.

Total cost: ~ $120B annually. I expect we wouldn't actually hit 330M until ~2022 or 2023.

Might be a total waste of money. But it would actually increase production in the medium term.

What, play workers to build factories in the US???

Paying workers to build factories costs too much, increases supply too much, excess supply eliminates profits, and zero profits kills jobs and forces create destruction of factories to get the tax sheltering.

Only profits, the money not paid to workers, can create jobs.

The worst way to create jobs is paying workers to work.

That is cheating. China cheats. Bezos cheats, Elon Musk cheats. The Gates's cheat.

Paying workers to work is cheating in post Reagan America.

+1

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"all" is bold, if not unwise, if it's not qualified with 'almost, nearly' or other similar words. It's extreme. It doesn't sound like a hypothetical.

Perhaps "~75% social science funds this year, and ~85% next year unless troika of biomedical, social science, and basic science? experts agree to shift more back to social science" is a preferred start for negotiation? It does get messy and bogged down quick.

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/from-zero-india-now-produces-around-2-lakh-ppe-kits-per-day/articleshow/75556879.cms

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What other levers, besides money exist? Historically, charismatic leaders have led people to do amazing things, in the face of adversity, risk, etc.
Is the current situation more a deficit of leadership than money?
How can we tell?

"Charismatic leadership" is what we got in spades from the last 2 presidents, which should be a lesson as to why it's dumb to demand more of it.

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Our regulatory state failing in the matter of providing an ample domestic supply of N95 masks cannot help but also mean that our domestic class of "cognitive elites" is failing us amply.

The coronavirus pandemic thus stands (until or unless an effective vaccine is announced) as an achievement of "globalization": applied technology giveth and applied technology taketh away, blessed be the name of applied technology.

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It is also kind of comical to call Kushner's fumbling amateur efforts "our regulatory state."

Bingo. You implement the kakistocracy, you get these results, no matter how capable the rest of your public servants are.

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That is is obviously a diversion, it is barely worth addressing. We had a regulatory state way before Kushner was around.

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All NSF funding should be redirected to researchers who get a minimum score on a version of the SAT rewritten by the Heritage Foundation and Peter Thiel.

Tests proctored by Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman.

You misspelled Mohammed Bone Saw.

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This guy’s been making the rounds. I heard him interviewed on NPR in Feb/Mar. He’s very compelling.

His argument is basically that he’s only willing to increase production if the government is willing to pay the marginal cost of doing so. He understands that as soon as this is over everyone, government and customers, will walk away, continue using foreign suppliers, and force him to eat the costs and lay-off employees.

He’s got a great point.

This isn’t an issue of the regulatory state per se, it’s more about having the political will to maintain a readiness posture that allows quick responses (e.g. tariffs on imported healthcare supplies used to maintain domestic production capacity). Any agency willing to pay his startup costs would find themselves the target of an IG investigation for something stupid.

It's possible the market is underestimating long term demand.

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As I said in the previous thread regarding tests:

What is the medium term P* that clears the market? What’s the plan to get P0 to P*?

Falsifiable hypotheses: every manufacturer of PPE is already maximizing output to the extent possible given P0. You can run the factories 24/7, but building new factories / investing in long term production capacity is still a net loss proposition.

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1.7M masks a week? We need 100M masks a day when docs and nurses are at 100% care. If this guy didn't get the time of day, my guess is that becuase when my house is flooding, I don't care if someone has a bucket to sell me. I need a boat. The time spent dealing with 1.7M masks a week guy is time NOT spent dealing with 50M masks a week guy.

3M said the same thing happened to them during H1N1. Everyone put teh screws to 3M for masks, and then as soon as H1N1 started going away, they canceled orders and reverted back to China suppliers.

The same thing happened with vaccine makers during H1N1. When the vaccine first arrived, world govs put in orders for hundreds of millions of doses. And then canceled them later when it looked like most wouldnt' need the vaccine.

If you want those in the supply chain to treat with seriously, then they can buy contracts on masks. Same thing airplines do with fuel. You overpay most months, you underpay some months. But in the end, you are helping the suppliers deliver consistently.

A hospital with 500 docs and nurses could make a deal with 3M: We'll be X masks per month from you no matter what. At any time within 6 months, we have an option to buy 5X masks GUARANTEED. That is very easy to price. That is very easy for the mask maker to guarantee.

But our hospitals dont' want this because they want to buy cheap masks 99.99% of the time, and then bitch that 0.01% of the time they can't buy any masks.

Should the gov have a strategic supply of shingles for hurricanes? No. Same with masks and everything else we need for a once-in-10-year emergency.

According to him, he’s been pitching the importance of domestic mask production for years to anyone who would listen, both politicians and bureaucrats. No one would.

Seemed pretty credible.

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I think I just read 15 comments by the same person using different user names.

Still, better that reading one by somebody using the name 'Slappy McFee", no?

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I'll say it yet again: the Republican Party and its President are failing the United States in its time of need.

The Republican program of destroying the 'regulatory state' - along with killing the conceptual legitimacy of a regulatory state, scattering the professional class of experienced nonpartisan civil service, and salting the earth in its wake - is going swimmingly.

How is a "a regulatory state" a necessity for responding to a problem?

"scattering the professional class of experienced nonpartisan civil service"
There is no such thing.

The same people who couldn't get anything done in a timely way have in a period of two months drummed up enough wherewithal to put together a PR campaign to justify their existence.

I have a suggestion for a campaign:

"Without us 80% of the deaths would be elderly people in care homes."

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Well chuck, you'd have to ask Tyler about the regulatory state, that's his bugaboo. But a competently-led CDC would be be nice.

Yes, in fact, breaking up the civil service does exist. Are you trying to impress someone with your ignorance?

You might be correct in thinking that an unelected government agency should have the power, the regulatory capacity, to determine the behavior of the citizenry. Or you might be wrong.

What doesn't exist, and becomes more obvious daily, is a "professional class of experienced nonpartisan civil service". There's nothing professional, experienced or nonpartisan going on in the civil service.

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We don't need any masks.
Have you seen The Dumpster® wearing one?
Have you seen his Grover Dill wearing one?
The truth is out there on One America Network.

OAN, which Trump has praised repeatedly, reported yesterday on the "mounting evidence of a globalist conspiracy" by the Clintons, Soros, Gates, Fauci, & Chinese gov't to use coronavirus "to establish sweeping population control" by backing remdesvir over hydroxychlorquine.

https://twitter.com/MattGertz/status/1259184336995258372

No less crazy than the "Trump is in bed with the Russians" push that went on for 3 years at every level of society. From the last administration to our intel agencies, to our newspapers to our media, to our late night talk shows, to movies, to music, to our gradeschools.

Think about that: At every level of society, we've seen that massive falsehood pushed, and pushed hard. To the point that Pulitzer Prizes are being awarded for covering things that are completely fake. And nobody blinks. Nobody even talks about revoking the award for news reportign that was 100% fabricated.

Search for the recent video all the Obama folks banging the table that Trump was in bed with the Russians when they were on CNN, and that they were 100% certain of this because they have seen the evidence, and then sheepishly admitting they've seen zero evidence of that under oath in transcripts released this week.

It's times like this that make Alex Jones seem not crazy.

but he was in bed with the russians...he just didn't personally orchestrate a conspiracy. His campaign only knew about russian activity, welcomed it, coordinated around it, met with russians, shared internal polling with them , and on and on...oh and then lied about it repeatedly to the american public and during the investigation. but yeah about the same as thinking fauci and bill gates unleashed corona virus to control world population.

> but he was in bed with the russians

Mueller and his legions of lawyers that had the power to depose anyone they wished says you are wrong. They found zero evidence of collusion or criminal conspiracy--sufficient enough to charge--after 3 years of investigation.

If you had a team of dozens of $500/hr lawers shining a light up your ass and after 3.5 years nothing was found...guess what...that means you aren't guilty. To argue that if they had looked just another year or two SOMETHING would have been found..it's ridiculous.

The most investigated president in the world. Not a damn thing was found.

This guy must have read a different report from a different Mueller guy...

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It is not just government, but also who is in charge of government.

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have never seen an actual objective estimate of the number of n95 masks needed?

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Man, if I didn't know any better I'd say the bureaucracy wanted to make as much of a mess of this fake pandemic as possible.

Best comment on this thread!

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Why do George Soros and Bill Gates hate freedom?! Murdering tens of thousands of Americans in order to hate on our Lord and Savior, Donald J Trump. Sad!

Bill Gates gave a bunch of Indian children polio, I wouldn't put it beneath him to kill off a few Windows users to sell some vaccines. And we all know what Soros thinks of America and Americans.

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Is this regulatory or leadership failure? I’m not sure it’s clear.

“ How Profit and Incompetence Delayed N95 Masks While People Died at the VA”

https://www.propublica.org/article/how-profit-and-incompetence-delayed-n95-masks-while-people-died-at-the-va

Bitcoin to PPE, nice “pivot.”

Crazy read and not surprising. This is exactly what happens when there’s a sudden surge of $ with no planning or leadership.

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Right now we have a bunch of medical professionals advising politicians on social policies. If anything, we need more funding for social sciences. The biological research will be focussed on this particular bug. The social science research, however, will continue to be useful for future pandemics.

Advising on medical policies... as they should. A pandemic is an actual thing, a medical thing.

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"The regulatory state" in this case was controlled by Labradoodle breeders and lobbyists appointed to run agencies and to manage the crisis, overseen by a son-in-law who got into Harvard thanks to daddy's million-dollar gift, and ruled by a president who spends his time watching Fox and friends while retweeting himself. I think the failure here needs to be placed where it belongs: with the ideology that relies on abstractions like "the regulatory state" to excuse and ignore the need for any state to be led by competent leaders who take care.

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Masks are useless, a form of mental masturbation. If worn improperly then the wearer is exposed. If the wearer is positive then they are spewing virus as they skip along.

Think about surgeons, they cauterize wounds. The process volatilizes virus particles...covid, hep a, b, c, HPV, HIV and more. They have zero idea of what they are inhaling or through ocular exposure.

Dr. Alvin speaketh.

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"If the wearer is positive then they are spewing virus as they skip along."

Sure, but that will always happen absent a regime of universal testing and centralized isolation. Surgical masks don't offer much protection to the wearer -- I thought this was common knowledge by now -- but they do help to protect others from the wearer which is the whole point of their existence in the first place. It's part of a package of risk-mitigation measures.

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This 100% a failure of leadership.

Trump's political appointees, of which there are 1000s running every federal agency, are sure as hell able to direct money, quickly, to whichever crony or Trump business venture they need to. They have done it dozens of times, as we have seen over the past three years. Trump and most of his cabinet refuse to wear masks in public. Do you really think this administration wants to increase mask production?

When Tyler posts something that he doesn't like and spins it as simply confirming his priors, I think he needs to examine the high likelihood of dreaded mood affiliation encroaching on his statements.

Massive funds went, unquestioned, toward a financial bailout rather than a medical one.
Priorities.

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seriously, the lesson is that free market economics are great in theory but they never work in practice. Tyler's micropenis slipped its sheath once this flu really took off.

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From his end, Bowen [the mask maker] said his proposal seemed to be going nowhere. “No one at HHS ever did get back to me in a substantive way,” Bowen said.

The senior U.S. official said Bowen’s idea was considered, but funding could not easily be obtained without diverting it from other projects.

In other words, this guy didn't go through a lobbyist, or one of the "right" lobbyists.

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I also thought this article had a good lesson on the benefits of price gouging. I suspect that if there weren’t constraints on letting price match demand, he would have been able to guarantee sufficient profits to open up those mothballed assembly lines.

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The fact that the production lines are still sitting dormant means there is more to this story. While it was nice of him to offer to sell to the feds first, the feds are not the only buyers of masks. So why can't he run those lines and sell to someone else? Does he lack regulatory approval? Are they not profitable even at current market prices?

He'd have to hire and train people and then lay them off, either when the crisis abates, or as soon as new cheaper sources of supply from Asia come online. A money-losing proposition without a firm long-term commitment to purchase domestically.

It probably costs a lot to get mothballed production lines up and running. But I think the man has a moral obligation to sell the lines (at a hefty price albeit) to someone who wants to risk getting them up and running.

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So not so much "I'll sell you 1.7M masks delivered next week" but more like "I believe I can sell you 1.7M masks per week, if you front me a bunch of money, wait a quarter while I work out my production issues, and agree to continue buying from me for a year. Oh, and I have no established record of actually delivering at this scale." One can see why the government might be more interested in talking to 3M.

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"our regulatory state is failing us in this matter"

How, specifically?

The outrageous 13th amendment requires workers be paid to built factories?

The outrageous requirement a business must produce the goods it sells in a factory and ship them to the buyer instead of simply claiming the PPEs can be downloaded over the internet?

The regulation of the Constitution giving Congress the power over government spending instead of any government employees spending government money any way the employee wants?

The Trump administration entered into a $165 million contract with 3M but refused to enter into a similar contract with the smaller company so it could get a loan to repair and restart four production lines, so the regulations do not prevent spending money.

The problem is not the regulations, but the people Trump put in charge of running government, people focused it seems on lining their pockets in the future by buying friends with government spending.

Which is in violation of if not the letter of the law, certainly the spirit of the laws of Congress. Congress created regulation including auditors of the spending of govrrnment money, but Trump has refused to support those parts of law, claiming the constitution giving spending power to only Congress is unconstitutional because he, Trump, is the one with all the power.

And Trump is not going to spend the money of We the People based on laws and regulations created by representatives of We the People.

> How, specifically?

Here are the top 5 compiled by Forbes (397 in total):

The only tests for the coronavirus that were approved for use in the United States were produced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and half of those tests turned out to be defective.

· It was illegal to produce, sell and distribute ventilators, respirators, and other medical equipment without complicated and burdensome government regulatory permission.

· It was also illegal to produce, sell and distribute personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, gloves, etc.

· Medicare actually dictated how many beds a hospital could have and no one could create additional beds anywhere without government permission.

· In most cases it was illegal for a doctors to practice across state lines – consulting with patients in states where they had not been licensed to practice.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoodman/2020/04/30/key-to-covid-19-recovery-deregulation/#3860adb745cb

Those 'permissions' and 'regulatory burdens' are actually pro-industry protections. They protect from lawsuits. The same things is true for example, of building codes: build in compliance with the code and the presumption is that you have not been negligent. It is a defense.

Agree with building codes. My response was to the assertion that the problem "was not the regulations."

Yes, it was. And that's OK. The question is how quickly can we remove the barriers when the shit hits the fan? Regulations treat everyone the same, which is good. But let's also remember that a top 5 virology lab builidng a new test doesn't need to be treated like a one-man import/export shop that is trying to import some marginally reliable test from China. The FDA treats them the same. But when it's an emergency, the top 5 virology lab shouldn't be bothered with paperwork. That lab is likely more qualified than the FDA.

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> but refused to enter into a similar contract with the smaller company so it could get a loan to repair and restart four production lines, so the regulations do not prevent spending money.

The "tell" in this story is that the machines are still dormant. In other words, the guy cannot find ANYONE to help him get his production line started. Odd, isn't it? Lots of outstanding orders for masks, and not a single person has invested the money required for this guy to get his 9 machines running again. Why?

If this guy could actually make masks, he'd be making them and selling them. Most likely he's run into trouble procuring the raw goods. If he could get the raw goods, his machines would be running and he'd be making a bundle selling N95 masks. If you put a pallet of N95 masks on the floor at Costco at $10/mask today, they'd be gone in minutes. Nobody can get N95 masks, and people are paying a massive premium for them.

Curious he's not actually running, no?

The article fails to mention the company almost went bankrupt after the 2009-2010 virus scare..... *Some* of the machines are still dormant. He is only keeping machines running for his standard, non-emergency demand. He could get more up and running if he wanted to. The problem is the guy learns from experience. In other articles you will find in 2009-2010 all domestic buyers abandoned him after the scare was over and resumed not caring about stockpiling PPE at all and for their ongoing needs they ditched him and went overseas to save a few pennies. So he had to mothball lines that were *costly to get running*, layoff workers and pay higher unemployment taxes etc. One time costs that won't be recouped in a short period of time is the key. The guy sees that China has upped production 12-fold and Taiwan and South Korea have probably nearly 10Xed production as well. Though they are selfishly not supplying the USA right now, in several months once they have several years conceivable supply stockpiled, those foreign countries will flood the world with masks *En-Masse*. Mr Bowen rightly expects the default outcome is for him to get stomped. So why incur large one-time costs that won't be recouped before the foreign flooding begins again? Yes, we are all talking about permanently protecting US supply. So far what is it besides talk? What law has been passed? What guarranteed purchase orders are there for domestic manufacture lasting many years? It is all talk.

Now to be fair the man should sell the lines to someone who is more of risk taker than him, and sell them for a hefty profit. It is unconscionable if there is a buyer and he is refusing.
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/05/04/what-the-coronavirus-crisis-reveals-about-american-medicine

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We may disagree about diverting funding from social sciences research in general, but surely we can all agree that this is a good time to divert funding from the ideological studies fields?

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Yes, we need more NSF biomedical research but why not take it from the military budget? Look at all the money, not to mention lives, wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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