The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is supposed to save lives and protect people from health threats, and we keep sending them money to do that. What do we have to show for it?
The U.S. government now sends the CDC close to a whopping 14 times more money than it did three decades ago, going from what now seems like a mere pittance ($597 million) to $8 billion today. That’s billion, with a “B”—and the CDC budget grew even faster than overall government spending.
If it had followed inflation, the CDC budget would be only $1.3 billion. And for what? As we, the people, face the COVID-19 crisis head-on (in a mask, no less), the CDC response has been muddled, muffled, and muzzled—and those taxpayer dollars are what’s fueling the madness.
A report from the think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute shows that all that dough led to mission creep and growth of bureaucracy. So much for a plain reading of the (mission statement) text. It’s all “living document” now, baby.
Said study author Michelle Minton:
“The CDC devolved into an agency incapable of adequately addressing the serious threat posed by infectious disease, particularly novel diseases for which there is little information about risk, spread, and treatment.”
Instead of saving lives and protecting us from, say, deadly viruses, the CDC now wants to wrap us in cotton wool and sing us the “Soft Kitty” song. Recent projects have focused on alcohol and tobacco use, athletic injuries, traffic accidents and guns. God forbid anyone have a gun. We might use them for protection in a riot or if the police aren’t paid to show up in our neighborhood.
Exploring such health-related items could be valid, but they aren’t in the CDC mission guidelines. A lot of the CDC’s new non-mission-related projects are already being covered by agencies in the National Institutes of Health.
Meanwhile, the original CDC mission has gone begging. Is virus infection research not “sexy” enough? That project got only $185 million in funding last year, pre-COVID-19, of course. Remember that $8 billion total budget? And we wonder why we are out of personal protection equipment in our hospitals and nursing homes.
The CDC did get expensive new digs in 2006 and also spent $1.75 million on a project that advised Hollywood on how to talk about infectious diseases in television shows and movies. And they recently gave us the no-vaping campaign. Vaping health issues mostly have been related to use of illegal marijuana products, but the CDC has reported that vaping is worse than cigarette use.
Meanwhile, what’s going on with testing and vaccine development for COVID-19? At the beginning of the pandemic crisis, the CDC stopped private labs from developing tests so that the federal government could maintain a monopoly on testing. Needless to say, that didn’t work out well for us. And the lack of testing may even have led to the quarantine still dragging on now, which is killing the U.S. economy.
So, where’s that money when you need it? President Trump hasn’t cut the CDC budget, although he’s tried. Congress said no. But at this point, it may be more a matter of judicious allocation of existing dollars. Maybe the CDC should cut the junk out of the trunk and get back to its main mission. We can talk cuts later, when we are out of the pandemic.
Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. Do not take action based solely on this article and always consult with an appropriate healthcare professional. This article is purely for informational purposes.