The news of the day is that the Spanish Flu of 1918 was a form of bird flu, bird flu is ready to break out again any time and our government is not prepared for the bird flu “and no [government] in the world is.” This should not come as a big shock to conservatives who understand that government does a poor job at everything and supposedly only trust it to do those very few things the market “can’t”. What is a bit shocking and disappointing is that even with noted free market economists taking an interest in the bird flu, no one is suggesting that maybe the solution is less government intervention not more. Even those who know better seem to think the only course of action is to increase government intervention in an already overbureaucratized health care system. (Don’t misunderestimate my ability to make up words when needed.)
If a drug company discovered a 100% safe, 100% effective drug that could cure all forms of influenze in all ages of people and domestic poultry tomorrow, it might be approved for the poultry sometime next decade. It might be available to humans 5 or 10 years after the long predicted pandemic has come and gone. If we found out tomorrow that Tamiflu was effective against bird flu (it looks like it isn’t), the factories to produce enough might have regulatory approval 3 or 4 years from now. If someone develops a vaccine, the factory that produced it might not meet some inspection regime and since we have all our flu-vaccine producing eggs in very few highly regulated baskets, that could mean a year before production begins. Meanwhile migratory waterfowl are coming this season to a pond near you.
Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt told FOX News that the United States was not prepared to handle an outbreak.
“We’re not. And no one in the world is,” Leavitt said.
(Comments are on now. Sorry.)