Magazine article The New American

An Overdose of Government

Magazine article The New American

An Overdose of Government

Article excerpt

ITEM: Senator Hillary Clinton (D.-N. Y.), according to an AP story in Newsday for October 18, "accused the Bush administration ... of being 'asleep at the switch' and mishandling the flu vaccine shortage.... 'They're more interested in tax cuts for the rich than for flu shots for everyone who needs them, and we've really paid a big price for their negligence,' she said...."

ITEM: Swarthmore College economist Mark Kuperberg blamed the flu vaccine shortage on an aversion to "big government." A college release issued on October 21 quoted the professor: "[A]s I have taught my students for 27 years, there is a role for government in correcting market failures." For example, he said, "[T]he government could set a price at which it would buy unused vaccines, similar to the way agricultural price supports work. Alternatively, the government itself could produce and distribute the vaccine."

BETWEEN THE LINES: The flu vaccine shortage was precipitated when British authorities shut a vaccine manufacturing plant, effectively shrinking the supply of vaccine for the U.S. in half. While there are numerous factors involved in this shortage, the main source of the vaccine problem is too much government meddling. In 1967, according to William Tucker of the Discovery Institute, a nonpartisan public policy think tank, the U.S. had 26 firms which made vaccines. Today, the U.S. has four, and no American firms make a flu vaccine (though one company, MedImmune, makes an inhalational internasal flu preventative). …

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