Monday, October 26, 2009

Creating a Crisis - Swine Flu

The President declared the swine flu a national emergency on Sunday. Forgive me if I'm cynical enough to believe that he thought it would buy some support for more government run health care. I really loathe to second guess the President on an issue this important, so let me offer some evidence.

1. Only 1,000 people have died to date from the H1N1 virus. According to the only information I could find, in 2004, the CDC predicted the regular old flu would kill 36,000 Americans.

2. The administration themselves did not really say this was an emergency.
Administration officials said the declaration was a pre-emptive move designed to make decisions easier when they need to be made.
3. The President's children have not received the vaccine. By the way, I would not criticize the President if he and his family were near the front of the line for the vaccine. He is our elected leader and he deserves full protection, including the best medical treatment the country can provide.

4. It is the administration's proven tactic to use crises for political ends. Rahm Emmanuel has famously said that we should never let a crisis go to waste. See video link. When you think about the health care situation, there is no crisis to drive the passage of whatever bill comes out of the Senate, because most people are happy with their insurance plan. Even if there is grousing about cost, that doesn't really constitute a crisis.

5. And this:
The national emergency declaration was the second of two steps needed to give Sebelius [HHS Secretary] extraordinary powers during a crisis.

I invite comment from readers who disagree.


  1. If it buys him some support towards government healthcare then so much the better.

    I think, however, his motivation is simpler than that. With his dithering on the Afghan question, he needs to appear like he is taking swift and decisive action on something... anything

    Link forthcoming.

  2. 6) The CDC stopped accepting actual numbers of verified cases back in July, and is now going off of estimates.

    (I've got a link to a CBS investigation on this on my site somewhere if you want more info. Yes, even CBS is getting on this story....)