Poor Us: The Great Depression 2.0

April 28, 2009

Who Puts the Swine in Swine Flu? Republicans Do.

Filed under: Reduced Circumstances — Tags: , , , , , — debacled @ 2:05 am


Well, I suppose it’s kind of a cheap shot to point out that Republicans stripped $900 million for pandemic preparedness out of the Obama Stimulus Bill on the grounds that it was pork.

Indeed, we probably should be worried about this sinister-sounding story that appeared in The Independent :

“…alarming reports from Mexico City, Felipe Solis, a distinguished archaeologist who showed Mr. .Obama around the city’s anthropology museum during his visit to Mexico earlier this month, died the next day from "flu-like symptoms." via The Copycat Effect

However, Obama doesn’t seem to have the flu (at least not that they’re telling us) and the Republicans do have it coming.  After all, they’ve spent decades trying to convince Americans that government is useless and spendthrift by recklessly undermining public services and safety from Katrina to climate change to credit card regulations while hogging all the tax cuts and government contracts for their porcine pals.  Somehow, Swine Flu seems a fitting end for them, but the rest of us deserve the best pandemic preparedness government “pork” can buy.

Republicans Strip Stimulus Money for Pandemic via The Guardian

According to John Nichols of The Nation, back during the January-February stimulus fight, Republicans in Congress stripped about $900 million from the package that was intended to…drumroll…fight pandemics. Yep.
One could plausibly argue, I suppose, that pandemic-prevention spending did not exactly count as stimulus in the same way that rail construction did. But Democratic members of Congress like David Obey of Wisconsin countered that argument this way, writes Nichols:

Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting

in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse — with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.

This didn’t just come out of nowhere. Even though you and I don’t walk around thinking about the next flu epidemic, the federal government and for that matter most governments pay plenty of scientists to do precisely that. And it turns out that warnings are often issued, like this one back in February.
But Republicans — taking cues, apparently, from that "genius" Karl Rove — nixed the money.
On a related front, secessionist governor Rick Perry of the Pseudo-Republican of Texas did guess what Saturday? He asked the federal government for 37,000 doses of Tamiflu from the national emergency stockpile. See, Washington isn’t so evil sometimes after all.
What a joke these people are. One almost wishes Washington could tell Perry to go buy his own Tamiflu.

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