Two people have contracted Ebola in the United States, so obviously it’s time to panic:
While we flail around proposing counterproductive policy like flight bans to and from West Africa and pointless gibberish like “close the Mexican border to keep the Ebola terrorists out,” one debate worth having is, you know, how do you like those budget cuts now?
Hillary Clinton blamed sequestration for affecting the CDC’s ability to respond to this, or any other, outbreak (which the CDC itself has also done, as has the NIH). Bobby Jindal fired back as only he can, simple-mindedly, arguing that, hey, the CDC still gets some money, and they’re spending a lot of it on programs to make it easier for people to walk or bicycle and improve access to healthy food in poor communities, which is total LOL because since when do “nutrition” and “exercise” have anything to do with controlling or preventing diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and so on? Maybe there’s some connection in Communist Utopia Land, but this is the real world, pal. Jindal wants us to go back to when the CDC was the “Communicable Diseases Center,” because he just found out that it used to be called that and it suits his argument today. Don’t get him wrong, though, exercise and nutrition programs are great, “when funded by states, localities or private charities,” and not with that dirty federal money that is Bad and Dirty because taxes, socialism, and Reagan.
But the bottom line is that the NIH and CDC have had their budgets cut over the past several years, which is bad for a whole variety of reasons apart from crisis response. Now that there’s political hay to be made out of the Ebola situation, of course, both parties are trying to slam each other for those cuts, but the truth is that the sequester was the product of bipartisan stupidity, so there’s blame aplenty for everyone. Republicans in Congress may be the ones really pushing the debt hysteria that’s now crippling important government departments, but this president has been all too willing to go along with that hysteria. So, hey, congratulations to the two parties for putting their differences aside and working together to make the country worse. Truly, when we work together, we can achieve terrible policy outcomes much more readily than when we’re at odds.