Friday, July 10, 2020

Crime vs. Crime

President Trump, anxious to send school-age children into a coronavirus Petri dish,

undercut the recommendations of administration health experts as he continued to step up pressure on state and local officials to reopen school campuses this fall.

“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” Trump wrote. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

In May, the CDC recommended a raft of social distancing policies for schools: desks at least six feet apart and facing the same direction, lunch in classrooms, staggered arrival times, cloth masks for staff and daily temperature screenings for everyone.

Understandably, we got this tweet:

It's so hard to choose. But I vote instead for the situation, reported in April, featuring bidding wars among states

and the federal government to get critical medical supplies. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has been an outspoken critic of the situation saying, “This is not the way to do it, this is ad hoc, I'm competing with other states, I'm bidding up other states on the prices”....

Similarly, Kentucky Governor, Andy Beshear, admitted that his state lost out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency when bidding to get protective equipment saying, “It is a challenge. The federal government says ‘states, you need to go find your supply chain’ and then the federal government ends up buying from that supply chain.”

Detroit Mayor, Mike Duggan, has also been frustrated with the bidding wars saying, “I shouldn’t be trying to out-negotiate the Mayor of Chicago or the Mayor of Houston. There needs to be a federal response.”

As the bidding wars between states drive the prices of medical equipment ever upward, it is hard to not see the entire situation as a form of federal and private industry price gouging in a time when cooperation is paramount.

The effects of these bidding wars are damaging to all parties involve, but they leave poorer rural states without options when they are forced to compete with the federal government and states that have more financial resources. As Oregon Governor Kate Brown's press secretary, Charles Boyle explains, “Both in our requests for personal protective equipment from the national stockpile and our conversations with private suppliers, we find ourselves competing with larger states with more immediate needs due to the size and scope of their COVID-19 outbreaks: New York, California, Washington, and others”...

The effects of these bidding wars across the board find state healthcare and hospital systems receiving less resources at a higher cost at a much delayed pace. Frankly, it is shocking that in the midst of the worst health crisis that the United States has seen in decades that states are being reduced to bidding wars with each other and the federal government.

This was an effort to force competition among states and the federal government, thus bidding up prices, helping to bankrupt states and cities and prompt more deaths. Five weeks later, The New York Times detailed a system of procurement featuring cronyism, nepotism, cronyism,and  profit-seeking- and did I mention cronyism?

Public confidence in handling of the pandemic by the President and federal government has plummeted in the last few months.  It appears that an evil President can be condoned by voters but evil plus incompetence cannot be tolerated.  However, we can only hope the Administration is as incompetent as it appears because if he not, Donald Trump's effort at getting people killed may bear even greater fruit than it has with the 135,000 souls it has thus far.

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