Clarity of Government Purpose – Potentially the Silver Lining Behind of the Ebola Cloud

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When the Ebola scare is done the damage it will have done is likely to be far more reaching than just the individual victims themselves. Of all of the things the government is supposed to do, protecting its citizens is likely very close to the top in most people’s minds.

Indeed, government is supposed to do for citizens that which they cannot or choose not to do for themselves – limited of course to those things it has been constitutionally empowered to do. National defense being the prime example. Others include the court system, international treaties, tax policies, etc. Americans have not traditionally – at least for the country’s first 150 years – looked to government to become the provider of all things or the solver of all problems.

Today, for a large part of the population that is no longer true. Whenever something bad happens, they look for government to fix it. A sluggish economy, high unemployment, a failed automobile manufacturer, you’ve lost your job, you can’t get insurance, you can’t support your kids or you want to build a new stadium, look to government for a solution. Or, competitors are eating away at your natural monopoly, your kid can’t read, you think the CEO makes too much money, you haven’t paid your water bill in months and the water company has turned off your service… look to the government for a solution. Usually these solutions come about in the form or a check or government using its police power to force other people to do your bidding.

The result of government spread so wide, doing so many things, having its tentacles in virtually every aspect of American life is that not only does it do a bad job at practically everything, it often fails spectacularly at those limited things it’s supposed to be doing in the first place.

The Ebola situation is the perfect example, writ large. Ebola is a disease in that until recently was largely confined to Africa. While Ebola is not the continent’s largest killer, what makes it somewhat unique in that it kills 70% or more of the people who catch it, usually within a few weeks. And, we don’t really know how it’s transmitted, but we know that coming into contact with a carrier – even after they are dead – or their body fluids can transmit it. Can it be transmitted by mosquitoes? We’re told no, but viruses mutate. Can it be become airborne – thorough say, sneezing? The goalposts seem to be moving. Can it be transmitted by touching objects a carrier has touched? Don’t know for sure.

Ebola has, by everyone’s measure, the potential to become a true epidemic. As such, Ebola might be one of those things that most Americans agree is rightly a government interest, something the government should be focusing on and doing what it can to inform and protect citizens.

Unfortunately, thus far the government’s action has been an abysmal failure, beginning with Barack Obama’s inexplicable decision against imposing a travel ban from the nations where Ebola is raging, and his September 16th assurance that the chances of Ebola reaching American shores were “extremely low”. Four days later US patient zero, Thomas Eric Duncan, landed in Dallas from Liberia.

A week later Duncan was in a Dallas Hospital with Ebola. Since then, two nurses who treated Duncan have come down with the disease. When the first nurse, Nina Pham, came down with Ebola, CDC director Tom Frieden suggested it was her failure to follow protocol that caused her contraction. Later it turned out that Ms. Pham had followed all protocols from the CDC, the same agency that in August said: U.S. hospitals can safely manage patients with Ebola disease.

A month in, confusion reigns. The CDC goes from reassuring the public that Ebola requires contact with a victim and is not a repertory ailment spread like the flu, to later warning that just standing within three feet of an infected person poses a risk. At the same time news emerges that Amber Vinson, the second nurse to treat Duncan, was told she was OK to fly by the CDC after calling to report her possible symptoms. Later CDC Director Tom Frieden stated that she should not have flown.

While all of this chaos is going on, politics rears its head when the administration and Democrats suggest the GOP is to blame for having called for budget cuts. Then it emerges that not only did the GOP give both the CDC and NIH more money than requested by the president, but that the agencies had wasted tens or hundreds of millions of dollars studying things like the propensity of lesbians to be fat, the impact of TVs and gas generators on a village in Vietnam, and what bus riders thought of HIV videos. Indeed, over the course of 5 years the CDC spent more than $2.6 billion on HIV and AIDS grants that the agency itself admitted: “have no objectives” or were otherwise useless.

What the Ebola crisis is putting on full display for the American people is the malfeasance and ineptness of a government that takes $3 trillion of their money each year yet can’t seem to get the basic things right. One doesn’t need a PhD in biology to understand that making it more difficult to travel to the US from a country infected with this virus is a good thing. One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist that recognize that millions allocated for health research shouldn’t be wasted replacing perfectly good furniture or buildings. It doesn’t take a 140 IQ to understand that a person recently exposed to a deadly virus shouldn’t be given the OK to fly on a commercial jet. But in modern day America, that’s how government operates – or as in the case of a travel ban… doesn’t.

If the government is making horrendously bad decisions, providing conflicting and inaccurate information and wasting billions of taxpayer dollars in an area that literally involves life and death, and one that is playing out on the front pages of every newspaper in the country, just imagine how badly their mismanaging everything else they are doing from the mundane to the obscure, most of which is played out behind closed doors with the help of cronies and lobbyists and political financiers. Maybe the silver lining of the Ebola cloud will be the long overdue recognition by a majority of Americans that not only is government not the solution for everything that might go wrong, but maybe it’s meddling failures are behind many of things that go wrong in the first place.

The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.

82 Responses to “Clarity of Government Purpose – Potentially the Silver Lining Behind of the Ebola Cloud”

  1. 51

    retire05

    @Larry+Weisenthal:

    With regard to Texas and economics and citizen well being, the so-called “Texas miracle” is a bunch of over-hyped steer manure.

    Keep telling yourself that, Larry. And I would encourage you to remain in California, and not even think of retiring in Texas. We have enough poorly informed liberals here already from your failing state.

    The Washington Monthly? Really? Why didn’t you just use the Workers of The World publication? How many jobs did California lose when Toyota decided to relocate to San Antonio? Oooops.

  2. 54

    Larry+Weisenthal

    Hi Retire, With regard to Toyota, of course I’ve read a lot about that. It had everything to do with proximity to Mexican suppliers and Mid-West assembly plants and being more centrally located in the US market and especially non-availability of affordable housing in coastal Torrance than anything to do with tax and “regulation” policies.

    Housing costs are — by far — the biggest reason why people leave California. I live in a million dollar home which is basically chicken wire and plaster and less than 2,000 square feet on a 7000 square foot lot (purchased it in 1979; I couldn’t afford it today). It would probably go for $200,000 or less in some quite desirable suburban areas around San Antonio.

    The average person can’t afford to buy a house within an easy commute of his job site in most of California. And to the minuscule extent that this is the fault of zoning laws, the people most eager to control traffic congestion and preserve what passes for open space are the upper middle class white Republicans which disproportionately own the typical California nice neighborhood home. There is absolutely zero constituency for growth in California. Most Californians agree that there are already too many people here. We are victims of our own success and God’s success in creating this beautiful state with the world’s most perfect weather.

    Hi Nan. The volunteer health care workers aren’t divas; they are, as the Maine judge concluded, dedicated and courageous professionals. All they are asking is not to face three weeks’ incarceration on their return. They are fine with the reasonable, common sense guidelines prescribed in the Maine case.

    P.S. to Retire: Regarding the Washington Monthly business, I’ve never been one to dismiss actual data and other facts with an appeal to “that’s just Fox News,” or whatever. If the detailed data and facts in the Washington Monthly article are incorrect, please feel free to provide the data and facts which contradict them.

    Many a beautiful theory has been ruined by an ugly fact.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

  3. 55

    Redteam

    @Larry+Weisenthal:

    We are victims of our own success and God’s success in creating this beautiful state with the world’s most perfect weather.

    Perfect weather? Such a vivid imagination. When you want to go swimming in the ocean, just where do you go? Where is the water warm enough to get into without a wet suit? And I know you must love all that rain up around San Fran. And I guess you believe it never rains in southern California. Yep, perfect weather.

  4. 56

    Larry+Weisenthal

    Hi Red, Last Sunday (4 days ago) I swam 2K (1.2 miles) in the ocean without a wetsuit, following a run. Water temp 68 degrees, which is just fine. – Larry

    P.S. regarding cold water swimming; here’s a video of my older daughter, swimming 40.5 miles in 2 1/2 days (2.5 miles at a time) in the 50 degree Fahrenheit waters of San Francisco Bay (you can see Alcatraz in the background). This was 5 years ago, the same year that she swam the English Channel in 8 hours and 33 minutes, which at the time made her the 31st fastest swimmer, out of the 1,400 who’ve completed the swim. To my knowledge, her time from that year hasn’t been equaled since (they have a web site where these records are kept; I last checked it two months ago). I’ve swum a mile only twice in 50 degree water. I agree with you that it is bone chilling cold, but that is the middle of winter and up in San Francisco. For most of the summer, right up to the present, the Southern Cal Pacific Ocean temperature has been above 70 degrees. Just fine for swimming, and we don’t need air conditioning here along the coast and, in the same location here in Huntington Beach, there’s never been a killing frost in recorded history.

    Here’s the link to the video of the S.F. Bay, mid-winter swimming. Daughter/swimmer in question has since graduated from med school and is currently an OB-GYN resident physician.

    http://vimeo.com/2676968

  5. 58

    Larry+Weisenthal

    To Skook and Rich: Classic example of an attempted October surprise. There’s absolutely NOTHING to this. If I end up being wrong, you can all say I told you so forever. US taking care of ebola patients is just a thought experiment, submitted by an underling, for consideration. It’s already gone nowhere.

    Now, if there’s some Turkish VIP military or politician or something, who’s helping us out in a major way, that’s the only possible exception. But the idea that the USA is going to start treating all sorts of European and Mideastern nurses and what not — ain’t going to happen.

  6. 60

    Redteam

    @Larry+Weisenthal: 56

    Water temp 68 degrees, which is just fine. – Larry

    Yes, except if you stay in it long enough, you can die from hypothermia. But then I’m sure you know that. Congrats to your daughter on all her accomplishments. She did it in water that could kill her in 1-3 hours. No one has to have air conditioning anywhere, but sometimes it’s nice to have. I lived on the coast of Oregon and my house didn’t have air conditioning, except by nature. Weather was totally crappy, year round.

  7. 61

    Redteam

    @Richard Wheeler:

    Note–Sgt Tahmooressi released in Mexico earlier today.

    Is that a Semper fi thing? Why is he a Sgt? When did he go back on active duty? When is he due a promotion? Are there any other civilians you address by their former military ranks that are not ‘retired’?

  8. 62

    Richard+Wheeler

    @Redteam: He is a Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve. Do you understand how that works?
    BTW It shouldn’t surprise anyone I put more faith in an ACTUAL PRACTICING MD than you folks that only play one here at F.A.

  9. 63

    Redteam

    @Richard+Wheeler:

    He is a Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve

    So, are you saying that in a civilian setting (he’s not on active duty) that he is properly addressed as Sgt? Are you still properly addressed as Lt or Capt, or whatever rank you were? Did you learn anything about military etiquette while in the Corps? Did it include the CinC saluting Marines with a styrofoam cup?

    BTW It shouldn’t surprise anyone I put more faith in an ACTUAL PRACTICING MD

    faith? when did this turn into a religious discussion? Would it be okay with you if that loon in Maine were in line at Walmarts checkout with you and was coughing in public? Would you stand there and let her cough on you? Then why should others be exposed to those conditions. I don’t know that being a medical doctor gives insight into common sense. Does it?

    So you blew the pick on Louisville last night. right?

  10. 64

    Richard+Wheeler

    @Redteam: You got a real imagination. I picked the big favorite FSU same as you–see #169 where I agreed with your 5 gimmies. Said I would root for Louisville cause a win would help The Irish-thought they had little to no chance. When in the Marine Corps Reserve you can be addressed by your rank. If that lady was in Walmarts she could cough away–I’d have bigger things to worry about.
    I believe Larry has displayed more common sense than anybody else in this discussion.
    I have said previously that BHO salute was improper and disrespectful.

  11. 65

    Redteam

    @Richard+Wheeler:

    He is a Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve. Do you understand how that works?

    An even better question. Do YOU understand how that works. A former military, discharged, not retired, whether in reserves or not, is not permitted to use former military rank, in any setting unless he is actually on active duty in the reserves at the time. If he wants to use it for recognition, it is to be used properly as Former Sgt. If he is retired with over 20 years service, he can be properly addressed as Sgt in social settings, but not in occupational settings. So you’re saying you are not familiar with proper usage of military ranks.
    Semper fi

  12. 66

    Redteam

    @Richard+Wheeler: from 169 on other thread:

    Will route for Louisville at home

    You mean you rooted for someone you didn’t pick?

    I have said previously that BHO salute was improper and disrespectful.

    really, you said that? But do you believe it?

    You really wouldn’t mind if someone you knew had been nursing ebola patients yesterday was coughing on you in line at Walmart? Really? Have you been listening to Larry?

  13. 68

    Richard+Wheeler

    @Redteam: Read all of 169. I made same picks as you. You later berated me for picking same five gimmies as you.lol The only difference we have after you agreed with nine of 10 of my picks is Auburn vs Ol Miss. You haven’t responded to my 5 additional as yet. We should move this discussion back to the proper thread.
    Re improper salute. Said it and believe it.
    I have no problem addressing this combat veteran as Sergeant.

  14. 69

    Redteam

    @Richard+Wheeler:

    I have no problem addressing this combat veteran as Sergeant.

    Well, hell, I have no problem addressing him as President, probably a whole lot better than that piece of crap in the office. But the question was whether it’s appropriate or not. If he’s not on active duty, he’s Mr. not Sgt.
    correct or not?
    The other I will move back to the other thread.

  15. 70

    retire05

    @Larry+Weisenthal:

    Hi Retire, With regard to Toyota, of course I’ve read a lot about that. It had everything to do with proximity to Mexican suppliers and Mid-West assembly plants and being more centrally located in the US market and especially non-availability of affordable housing in coastal Torrance than anything to do with tax and “regulation” policies.

    So what you are claiming is that the cost of doing business in California had nothing to do with Toyotas decision to move out of the state? I remember when the Governor of California announced the “closing” of the Toyota plant, making light of it, only to have Governor Perry announce, the very next day, that Toyota was moving to San Antonio. 2,000 jobs to San Antonio. 2,000 jobs where the starting salary was $25/hour.

    Housing costs are — by far — the biggest reason why people leave California.

    But do you even know why? Does the lumber, concrete, roofing, electrical wire, etc., cost more because it is being shipped to California than it does when it is shipped to Texas? The answer is a resounding “NO.” Why then the absurd cost of housing in California? I suggest you read Economist Thomas Sowell’s book, Housing Boom and Bust for the answer.

    I live in a million dollar home which is basically chicken wire and plaster and less than 2,000 square feet on a 7000 square foot lot (purchased it in 1979; I couldn’t afford it today). It would probably go for $200,000 or less in some quite desirable suburban areas around San Antonio.

    I suggest you do a little research on Zillo to see what a comparable home would cost in a really nice neighborhood in Texas. You live in a home that would basically cost around $250,000.00 here.

    upper middle class white Republicans which disproportionately own the typical California nice neighborhood home.

    Considering that California is a blue state, that statement indicates to me that you have more lower class non-whites in California who vote Democrat. Perhaps their opportunities are not as great as in Texas since the minority graduation rate is no where near what it is in Texas.

    Most Californians agree that there are already too many people here.

    Well, not according to Governor Moonbeam. He said the illegals were more than welcome to come to California.

    Now, back to your Washington Monthly article. I perused it a bit, and have already found some problems with it. But since I had a Halloween party last night so that my “country” friends could come see the little kids dressed up like princesses and pirates, I did not delve into the article as deeply as I will today. Then I will offer my rebuttal.

  16. 71

    Larry+Weisenthal

    Hi Retire. Thanks for taking the time on the Wash Monthly piece. I have to say, that of all the debates I’ve had on this website, going back to the summer of 2008, the ones I most enjoy are arguing the merits (and otherwise) of our respective states. It’s just like trash talking in football. And there are always more games to be played, as time goes on and as things continue to happen. I’ll wait to reply to your last until you’ve recovered from Halloween and completed and posted your latest research. – larry

  17. 72

    Redteam

    @Larry+Weisenthal: What a strange article in the washington monthly that you linked to. So the good paying jobs created by the boom in the oil and gas industry don’t count? And the fact that those people that have those good paying jobs doesn’t count either because the money they spend for goods and services wouldn’t be spent for those things if you ignore the income in the first place because it is only there because of the oil and gas industry.
    The doctors that are employed there because of the oil and gas money would be somewhere else if there were no oil and gas money. What logic. Without even looking at who wrote the story, I’ll guess a government economist working in a think tank.
    I ordered a starter from a company in Tennessee a few days ago. They didn’t ask me if my money were earned by me because of the oil and gas boom in Texas. They didn’t seem to care, they just wanted to sell the starter. I’m going to guess that the new doctor that is the new head of a department in a new hospital in Texas is not going to be bothered by the fact that his patients may be working in the oil and gas industry. I know the article is supposed to be serious, but it has to have been written by a liberal.

  18. 73

    retire05

    @Larry+Weisenthal:

    Read your article. Basically it was simply a dig at Governor Perry, which was unnecessary when writing about an entire state’s economic climate and written to present a foggy picture of reality.One thing it doesn’t discuss is the disparity in the cost of living so I did a little research. According to inflationdata.com, if a computer programmer makes $150K/year in Houston, to maintain the same quality of living in Los Angeles, he would have to make $261,089.00 a year. A few other things of note: Texas doesn’t have a state income tax, the state sales tax is 6.25% compared to California’s 7.5%. There is no tax on groceries or prescription pharmaceuticals. None. Checking with GasBuddy, gasoline in California (state average) is currently 55 cents higher than Texas. Utilities are considerably higher in California. Gas, groceries, utilities and housing costs make up the bulk of what a person spends their pay checks on.

    All those things go into the spending power and disposable income a person has. If the salary doesn’t compensate for the extremely higher cost of living, no amount of scenery can compensate for that. And California salaries don’t compensate for that.

    Two articles that may interest you:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/07/03/texas-v-california-the-real-facts-behind-the-lone-star-states-miracle/

    And one that addresses the Washington Monthly article directly:

    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/030614-692422-debunking-the-texas-miracle-debunkers.htm

    Another thing is elementary/secondary education. It would seem that children are doing better in the Texas educational system than they are in California. Using NCES stats, in 2011, the last year of the report, Texas 8th Graders ranked in Math: Below basic – 19%; At or above basic – 81%; At or above Proficient – 40%; Advanced – 9%. California was Below basic – 39% (20% higher than Texas); At or above basic – 61% (20% lower than Texas); At or above Proficient – 25% (15% lower than Texas); At Advanced – 6% (3% lower than Texas).

    Public high school graduate rates (2009-2010 last year I could find stats for):
    California: White – 83.9%; Black – 65.4%; Hispanic – 71.7%
    Texas: White – 82.8%; Black – 69.4%; Hispanic – 77.4%
    Texas seems to be narrowing the gap between white and minority graduation rates much faster than California.

    Scale scores – NAEP

    Scale score, Grade 4 Math: National average 239; California 232; Texas240
    Scale score, Grade 8 Math: National average 282; California 270; Texas 287
    Scale Score, Grade 4 Reading: National average 220; California 209; Texas 220
    Scale Score, Grade 8 Reading: National average 261; California 251; Texas 261
    Scale Score, Grade 4 Science: National average 149; California 137; Texas150
    Scale Score, Grade 8 Science: National average 147; California 136; Texas 143
    Scale Score, Grade 4 Writing: National average 153; California 145; Texas154
    Scale Score, Grade 8 Writing: National average 154; California 148, Texas 151

    So while California spends considerably more on public education, according to NCES, California kids test lower than Texans.
    I also reviewed the SAT scores. But it listed Illinois as having the top SAT scores with only 5% taking the test, compared to the 50’s percentage of California and Texas students.

    So there you have it. We are doing better educationally (at least in the elementary/secondary schools) than California. Our cost of living is much lower and can’t be compensate by the higher wages offered in California. We have a legislature that only meets every two years, and only earn around $9,000/year. We are a right to work state and that helps create jobs. It is a myth that all our job increases are built around the oil and gas industry, and even if it was, California could do the same except for its NIMBY attitude.
    And again, a family can’t eat scenery.

  19. 74

    Skookum

    @Richard Wheeler: If you had JW in the same boat, you should have mentioned that up front. I haven’t watched Fox in years and I don’t tune in on their blog. I am sure you know more about Fox then me.

    Our government should have called in some markers for our Marine, months ago. This was a disgrace; hopefully, a few successful Marines will help him get his life back together, it’s a cinch the government wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire.

    I am working and putting in long hours; consequently, my cyber-time is limited, and I can’t respond quickly. If you are down on Judicial Watch because they sue the administration for FOI you should tell us or if there is some other reason, let me know, but saying they are in a euphemistic leaky boat is hardly a response after supplying you with the link you asked for, fair and square.

    This is not exactly an administration that is known for its honesty and if a paper was leaked, there are probably many reasons for the leak, and one of them might have been to see if the lead balloon might float.

  20. 75

    Skookum

    @Larry+Weisenthal: Larry, I will give you credit; I think you could put forth a convincing argument, that a dead cat is still alive, but within that ability is a troubling question. Do you so believe in the Progressive movement that you would try the dead cat debate or are your philosophic views really objective? It is easy to say, “Yes, indeed, I am objective;” however, your arguments always support the standard Progressive arguments.

  21. 76

    Nanny

    I don’t know if this thread can stand to be dragged back to the ebola issue, but….
    http://wagmtv.com/state-of-maine-document-reports-kaci-hickoxs-roommate-in-africa-developed-ebola/

    Sheila Pinette of the Maine CDC has released information that the roommate of Kaci Hickox, while in West Africa has displayed signs of ebola. Pinette says “The respondents roommate in Africa became infected without knowing how she became infected with Ebola. (Any potential risk to respondent from that incident has passed).” This is one of 35 points Pinette made while filing a verified petition for public health order yesterday with the state.

    I’m not sure based on the way this paragraph is written if Kaci was In WA when her roommate started showing these early signs of having ebola …… or not.
    BUT if she was in WA the next questions must be, what did she know and when (in comparison to coming to the USA) did she know it?
    Could she have been TRYING to spread ebola here?
    Why else be so intent on being in public IF she knew about her roommate’s infection?
    Was she EVER told about her roommate’s situation?
    How oblivious can she be?
    And, when did Obama know about this sick roommate?
    He wants to be seen with ebola health workers at the WH, why not her?
    He was just in Maine campaigning for Rep. Mike Michaud.

  22. 77

    Richard Wheeler

    @Skookum: Sorry Skook Generally I try to go with common sense and avoid hyperbole from both sides. Unless, as some radicals say, Obama is trying to kill Americans (rejected outright), I can’t buy the meme the admin would bring people asserted to U.S. for treatment.
    see Nans #76 as another example of nonsensical speculation.

  23. 79

    Rich Wheeler

    @Redteam: How bout “Could she have been trying to spread Ebola here?” Maybe not crazy to conspiracy theorists—-pure nuts to me.
    “When did Obama know—-?” Who cares.

  24. 80

    Redteam

    @Rich Wheeler:

    “When did Obama know—-?” Who cares.

    Most Americans.

    “Could she have been trying to spread Ebola here?”

    unlike you, I won’t try to ascribe motives to her.
    I think that ‘most’ nurses that have been knowingly exposed to a highly contagious diseases would be at least very slightly concerned about ‘spreading’ the disease. This kooky nurse seems to be ‘determined’ to be exposed to as many people as she can. Same as that looney Doctor that came back and jumped on all the subways in NYC.
    I sure as hell wouldn’t want either of them breathing on me the day after coming back from Ebolaland.

    And I’m equally convinced that you wouldn’t either.

  25. 81

    Richard Wheeler

    @Redteam: Honestly. I wouldn’t be concerned with either one breathing on me.
    I’m more concerned with the false fear spread by right wing wackos we know.
    btw I subscribe no motives to her—that would be Nan.

  26. 82

    Redteam

    @Rich Wheeler: 79

    How bout “Could she have been trying to spread Ebola here?” Maybe not crazy to conspiracy theorists—-pure nuts to me.

    How about putting the question this way. Should she have been trying to ensure that she was not spreading ebola here?. There is no doubt in my mind if I knew there was maybe a 50-50 chance of spreading a deadly disease, I would err on the safe side. Would you?

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