Austin Hill: Where did the swine flu vaccinations go? They went the way of the “stimulus money” — that is to say, they were sent here, and shipped there. And, of course, they were “administered” and “disbursed” and “distributed” by high-ranking officials in our U.S. government. But nobody can say how many flu shots there are, or where they are, or where they might be headed.
Where did the swine flu vaccinations go?
They went the way of the “stimulus money” — that is to say, they were sent here, and shipped there. And, of course, they were “administered” and “disbursed” and “distributed” by high-ranking officials in our U.S. government. But nobody can say how many flu shots there are, or where they are, or where they might be headed.
The same is true for the billions of dollars that were entailed in President Barack Obama’s all-important, so-called “stimulus bill.” Owing to the discovery of H1N1 flu here in the U.S. by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano declared a public health emergency during the last week of April.
Then, a few days after making her emergency declaration and in a seeming contradiction, she stated in a press conference on May 4 that the “swine flu” is actually no more dangerous than the regular flu.
Not to be outdone by Napolitano, federal health officials stepped up the emergency rhetoric in July by announcing that 160 million doses of a swine flu vaccination would be available by the end of October. On Oct. 7, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius assured Americans the vaccination is “safe and secure” and admonished all Americans to get a shot. And on Oct. 25, Obama himself declared, not a public health emergency, but this time a “national emergency” over the swine flu.
Yet by October’s end, the promised 160 million doses of swine flu vaccination had only amounted to 30 million known vaccinations in the U.S., prompting senior Obama adviser David Axelrod to declare on national television that “we overpromised.”
Then Sebelius had to jump back into action, penning a newspaper column assuring readers that, as a mother, she herself “understands the frustration and anxiety that parents feel” when they can’t get a vaccination, and declared that “without question, we need significant improvements in vaccine production.”
Depending on whose count you accept, somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 Americans have died from the flu this year. That’s more than the number of lives lost in the carnage of Hurricane Katrina. Yet in both scenarios, our U.S. federal government has demonstrated an incredible inability to respond to the needs of the American people — even, as in the case of the swine flu vaccinations, when it has made explicit promises to do so.
Obama’s so-called economic stimulus bill highlights this incompetence as well. Minutes after Vice President Joe Biden delivered remarks here in Phoenix about the numbers of jobs that have allegedly been “created or saved” by the stimulus bill, the Obama administration was stung with analysis from ABC News revealing that Biden’s remarks — and information posted on the administration’s recovery.gov Web site (a Web site that cost the administration $18 million to create) — were false.
Both were reporting alleged “jobs” in congressional districts that don’t exist, like Arizona’s 15th Congressional District (there isn’t one).
Today, roughly nine months after the passage of the bill, the national unemployment rate is even higher than Obama predicted it would be had Congress not passed his bill.
So where is the stimulus money? What happened to that crucial $787 billion Obama had to spend, to “get the economy rolling again?” We are told that only a portion of the money has been spent thus far, yet the Obama administration has taken legal steps to prevent Obama’s “recovery czars” from being questioned about the money by Congress.
Recklessness and incompetence of this magnitude, with such enormous amounts of other people’s money, would be grounds for immediate termination among private sector executives and managers.
And the problem doesn’t begin and end with Democrats: Recall that the $700 million “TARP” program was created by President George W. Bush last year, and Bush himself was the first to violate the intended purposes of the program by handing over nearly $14 billion in loans to Chrysler and General Motors (Obama was quick to continue this practice, until the two companies met their inevitable fate of bankruptcy).
Government does not exercise wise stewardship over economic and material resources. It’s sad that each new generation has to relearn this basic truth. But Americans are in a painful process of relearning it again right now.
Austin Hill’s commentaries appear every Sunday. He hosts talk radio around the country including Arizona’s Newstalk KTAR (92.3 FM). To join Austin as he talks with Arizona’s newsmakers, and has a fun time doing it, watch “The Austin Hill Web TV Show” on Arizona Web TV.