February ’09: Karl Rove Mocks Spending For “Pandemic Flu Preparations”
Karl Rove may be a master of manipulation, but he clearly does not understand the concept of “preparedness” or “contingency planning.” While in power, Rove helped the Bush/Cheney administration deregulate Wall Street (we all know how that played out) and was a part of the disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina. As if this wasn’t enough, Rove has continued to criticize Democratic efforts to plan for future catastrophes.
Just a few short months ago, Rove was mocking proposed Government spending for “pandemic preparation” and other health-related contingency plans. This is an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal Column written by Rove himself:
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama attacked “trickle down economics” as “bankrupt” and an “old, discredited” philosophy that “didn’t work.” He was wrong. Even worse, though, is that he and congressional Democrats are embracing a Democratic version of trickle-down economics that won’t work.
It’s embodied in the House-passed “stimulus” bill, H.R. 1, whose deeply flawed assumption is that spending $1 trillion to grow government will trickle down to help people who lost jobs. The Democrats’ spending is horribly mismatched with industries that have suffered job loss.
There’s $4 billion for health programs like obesity control and smoking cessation, $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $462 million for the Centers for Disease Control, and $900 million for pandemic flu preparations. Health care also added jobs last year.
It is not surprising that the stimulus package is laden with new spending programs. Congressional appropriators, not job creators, wrote H.R. 1. Much of it is spending Democrats couldn’t get approved in the normal course of affairs.
Obviously Rove did not understand that though pandemic preparation does not strictly relate to the economy, economic stability DOES depend on a healthy workforce.
We’re lucky that Rove didn’t get his way. Who knows how much worse the Swine Flu outbreak would be– and how much worse off the economy could be without the preparations Rove opposed.
Rove wasn’t the only Republican mocking these preparations.
When House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long championed investment in pandemic preparation, included roughly $900 million for that purpose in this year’s emergency stimulus bill, he was ridiculed by conservative operatives and congressional Republicans.
Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse — with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.
But former White House political czar Karl Rove and key congressional Republicans — led by Maine Senator Susan Collins — aggressively attacked the notion that there was a connection between pandemic preparation and economic recovery.
Now, as the World Health Organization says a deadly swine flu outbreak that apparently began in Mexico but has spread to the United States has the potential to develop into a pandemic, Obey’s attempt to secure the money seems eerily prescient.
And the GOP’s mocking of Obey seems… well, it doesn’t make them look good. No wonder Arlen Specter wanted out. Thus far, the Obama administration has handled this crisis well. It’s hard to say how it will continue to develop– but its comforting to know that the administration has prepared for this specific contingency– no thanks to Karl Rove.