Erickson's comments are certainly rude but his basic point is solid. There are currently Democrats alleging that the "Ebola problem" is due to the GOP "slashing" CDC funding.
First of all these are probably the same sort of progressives as max, who have utmost faith in the ability of the skilled and educated elite in government to do what's best for the herd as it stampedes in panic and the mention of the virus, so it's interesting that they might actually be conceding that the CDC can't work miracles.
Secondly it is far more vulgar to try and score cheap political points on a deadly health crisis than mocking a study on lesbian obesity. In fact, Erickson’s prior comments on homosexuals are irrelevant to this issue and Brinker’s final shot at him is a great example of the us of ad hominum.
The first excuse any and all government agencies make when they are put on the spot is that they are not properly funded; need more money, and if they had it, no mistakes would be made and all problems would be solved. The Democrats reliably grab this baton and use it to beat the GOP about its collective head.
Contrary to the wishes of agency directors and the legions of bureaucrats they lead, their organizations cannot have unlimited budgets and they don’t require annually increased funding rates simply because they managed to remain in existence for the prior 12 months. Dr. Collins described what Democrats like to call “slashing:” an actual increase.
According to the NIH’s website (http://report.nih.gov/PFSummaryTable.aspx
) it spent $14,228,500,000 in 2013 and is projected to spend $14,607,073,000 on defined, categorized conditions and disease. The minimum reporting threshold for a specific disease/condition is $500,000. If the NIH’s budget for 2013 was “just”
$29.31 billion, this means it either spent more money ($15,081,500,000) on undefined/uncategorized matters that those included in the linked list or it didn’t spend all it received. (The latter is highly unlikely).
The linked list is interesting, because some of the same disease/conditions show up more than once. For instance, “Women’s Health” is a category (Interestingly enough there is no corresponding “Men’s Health” category) and in 2013, the NIH spent $3,845,000,000 on it, but it also spent $133 million on “Ovarian Cancer;” $98 million on Cervical Cancer;” $39 million on “Uterine Cancer;” $10 million on “Fibroid Tumors (Uterine);” $7 million on Endometriosis;” $31 million on “Violence Against Women;” $17 million on “Teenage Pregnancy;” $408 million on “Contraception/Reproduction;” and $657 million for “Breast Cancer” for a total of $5.2 billion. One can only imagine what is considered within “Women’s Health.”
By contrast, $4.91 billion was spend on children’s health issues (There is no separate category for “Children’s Health”) and this includes $342,000,000 for two separate categories having to do with the perinatal period and, arguably, fall under “Women’s Health” as well. By further contrast, there is only one specific category that is unique to men: Prostate Cancer and NIH spent $286 million on it, the most common cancer in the US.
Erickson’s point is that NIH and CDC don’t have a problem with lack of funds, they have a problem with what they are spending money on. R&D around not only Ebola but a host of other infectious diseases is obviously important and indeed, NIH spent $9.73 billion on them in 2013, even more than on Women’s Health! But apparently Dr. Collins and some Democrats contend that wasn’t enough. So where could they have gotten even more money within their woefully inadequate budget to prevent Mr. Duncan from dying and the young nurse from catching the virus? Maybe the $151 million
spent on “Climate Change,” the $11 million
spent on “Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease,” the $19 million
spent on “Arctic,” some of the $49 million
spent of “ADD?” Maybe some of the $643 million
spent on “Tobacco,” and “Smoking & Health?” Everyone already knows tobacco and smoking are very bad for you, so who really needs that much money spent on additional research? Could it be Trial Lawyers who may also need $11 million
being spent on researching “Fibromyalgia” of which there is an epidemic in the alleged injuries of millions of suing plaintiffs?
Maybe some of the $3.6 billion
spent on AIDs. After all the number of estimated AIDS cases in the US is 1.8 million
, while the number of people with Alzheimer’s is 5.2 million
and yet NIH spent only $504 million
on it in 2013. And while 1 in 4 of every death in the US is due to heart disease, NIH spent only $404 million
on it. How about diverting some of the $380 million
spent on “Complementary and Alternative Medicine?” Or even a little bit of the $4.7 billion
spent on “Behaviors & Social Science?” $812 million
was spent in 2013 on Michele Obama’s signature “cause.” Obesity is a serious health issue of course and I’m sure it’s no less of a problem for lesbians, but one has to wonder why it was necessary to spend $3 million
specifically studying lesbian obesity.
The point, no matter how inartfully made, is that NIH and CDC spends a lot of money, and while much (and probably the majority) of the work they do is of great benefit to the public, like every other government agency there is waste in their spending. Spending $3 million on studying lesbian obesity may not have been a waste (and particularly not if it generated important new information that can be applied to the general obese population, but before we accept the NIH’s cry of penury, and certainly before we accept ridiculous claims that the GOP is responsible for the Ebola outbreak in the US, we should take a look at how much money they get and what they are spending it on. The taxpayers’ pockets are not bottomless. If and when the Republicans reduce the rate of increased spending (Called “slashing” in the Wonderland of DC) they are not taking that money and diverting it to their re-election campaigns or even to the coffers of the Koch Brothers, who, as we all know, own them. They are doing an, at best, feeble job of controlling and hopefully reducing the amount of money you and I have to give to the government. I don’t begrudge money well spent by the government but it is ridiculous to believe it is all well spent or that nothing can be done to control the enormous sums of money that are being wasted.