If you watched the news during the Bushit Administration as conservatives got rid of “regulation” by allowing food producers to “self inspect” instead of being under the watchful eye of “Gub’ment Authority”, you would have caught the result of that in hundreds of thousands of Americans being sickened or killed by tainted food products including the emergency recall of millions of pounds of meat for salmonella poisoning. Yet another bad conservative idea resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans each year.
Former Energy Department science chief Raymond Orbach (under Bush) said the bill’s cuts in funding for research “would effectively end America’s legendary status as the leader of the worldwide scientific community, putting the United States at a distinct disadvantage with other nations in the global marketplace.” … The House passed the Republican-backed cuts on February 19 in what was seen as a victory for Tea Party conservatives elected in November who advocate drastic reductions in government spending…Proposed cuts in health research also drew criticism — 5.2 percent in the budget of the National Institutes of Health for the next seven months, and 21 percent for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the same period.
Now it is time to pay the Piper for conservatwit stupidity, not only in the likely Ebola epidemic – but failing, once again to protect the country from a pathogen which would make a deadly bio-terrorist weapon. Nobody on the Hill has the courage to ask the question – What if ISIS or one of the radical terrorist groups used this as a weapon?
As the federal government frantically works to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and as it responds to a second diagnosis of the disease at home, one of the country’s top health officials says a vaccine likely would have already been discovered were it not for budget cuts.
Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has “slowed down” research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.
“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
It’s not just the production of a vaccine that has been hampered by money shortfalls. Collins also said that some therapeutics to fight Ebola “were on a slower track than would’ve been ideal, or that would have happened if we had been on a stable research support trajectory.”
“We would have been a year or two ahead of where we are, which would have made all the difference,” he said.
Speaking from NIH’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, the typically upbeat Collins was somber when discussing efforts to control the Ebola epidemic. His days are now spent almost exclusively on the disease. But even after months of painstaking work, a breakthrough doesn’t seem on the immediate horizon.
Money, or rather the lack of it, is a big part of the problem. NIH’s purchasing power is down 23 percent from what it was a decade ago, and its budget has remained almost static. In fiscal year 2004, the agency’s budget was $28.03 billion. In FY 2013, it was $29.31 billion — barely a change, even before adjusting for inflation. The situation is even more pronounced at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a subdivision of NIH, where the budget has fallen from $4.30 billion in FY 2004 to $4.25 billion in FY 2013. (Story continues here.)