I’ve been expressing my disappointment that even the most rational of people are touting nothing but more and bigger government as a solution to the (so far non-problem) problem of avian flu. Even folks who normally understand that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem,” seem horribly confused by adding “bird flu” between “our” and “problem”. Perhaps this will teach me the error of looking for wisdom in ivory towers. Instead wisdom comes from the Marshalltown, Iowa [population 26,009] Times-Republican editor who writes in “Government should stay out of bird flu vaccine market” that “what none of the politicians seem to wish to discuss is that government intervention is a large part of the underlying problem.”
Instead of laying still more price controls or other market manipulations on top of a failed regulatory regime, as exemplified by the Clinton-Roberts proposal, political leaders ought to reconsider their own role in the vaccine market. Rather than focus on “guaranteed prices,” a nice term for price controls, they should devote attention to clearing delays in the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process and let the marketplace determine who sells vaccine to whom and for how much.
Decreasing government’s role in vaccine markets would do far more for vaccine availability than any other “solution” the political class might render.