Tuesday, April 28, 2009

PPH: Flu Funds Wouldn't Help Economy

Wrap your head around this, from Sen. Collins' defenders and abettors at the PPH editorial board:

Collins' point--and it was a good one--was that the economic stimulus package wasn't the place for new federal programs that didn't have a direct impact on economic growth.

Setting aside for a moment that any stimulus spending would not have come quickly enough to help with the current swine flu situation, such a program is not stimulus. True, while the spending will create government jobs, a program of this type is not like building a road or researching alternative energy, which spur growth beyond any government spending.

A flu pandemic program is more of a direct government service, one that is necessary for the public welfare, but there are better ways to jump-start an economy.
But is this even remotely true?

Beefing up public health infrastructure doesn't just mean hiring a bunch of bureaucrats. It requires investing in medical equipment and computer systems and drug stockpiles.

Those things have to be purchased from somewhere.

And, presumably, vendors pump the money earned from those sales back into the economy.

Now, there may be other kinds of spending that are more stimulative. But the notion that pandemic preparedness funding has no "direct" economic impact? Or that public health investments aren't real investments? Or that building out a robust disease preparedness infrastructure has nothing to do with economic growth?

PPH is either propagandizing to its readers or its editors are deluding themselves.

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