Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor raised eyebrows and invited scorn in August when he released a television ad tying his Republican opponent to the Ebola crisis. Although the spot was roundly mocked as hyperbolic and flailing, a Democratic group has decided to take Pryor's concept several steps further with a new commercial called 'Republican cuts kill.' It features, well, actual footage of Africans dying of Ebola. Just watch:
Somewhere, MSNBC's Joy Reid is wondering why she didn't think of this attack first. Rebutting the new ad may not be worth my time, but it fails on several levels. First, it grossly violates the 'ick' test. Many Americans have concerns about the government's competence to contain Ebola cases inside the United States; very few will squarely, or even glancingly, blame a political party's ideology for the current scare. On a related note, there is zero nuance in this ad. It ponderously draws a straight line from Republicans' desire to rein in federal spending to people dying of Ebola. That linkage is so ridiculous on its face that I can't even summon any real indignation over it. Second, in spite of CDC and NIH officials' complaints, Jim Geraghty notes that the latter group's budget has doubled since 2000 , and Gov. Bobby Jindal questions the CDC's spending priorities:
In recent years, the CDC has received significant amounts of funding. Unfortunately, however, many of those funds have been diverted away from programs that can fight infectious diseases, and toward programs far afield from the CDC’s original purpose. Consider the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a new series of annual mandatory appropriations created by Obamacare. Over the past five years, the CDC has received just under $3 billion in transfers from the fund. Yet only 6 percent—$180 million—of that $3 billion went toward building epidemiology and laboratory capacity. Especially given the agency’s postwar roots as the Communicable Disease Center, one would think that “detecting and responding to infectious diseases and other public health threats” warrants a larger funding commitment. Instead, the Obama administration has focused the CDC on other priorities. While protecting Americans from infectious diseases received only $180 million from the Prevention Fund, the community transformation grant program received nearly three times as much money—$517.3 million over the same five-year period.
The Left attempted a similar diversion during the VA scandal. So...yeah, basically:
Government incompetence is always the Republicans’ fault because they refused to fund more government incompetence.— John Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) October 13, 2014
The only way to fix wildly expensive government failures is to suck even more money out of the economy and hand it over to the government. Another important reality check: Republican budget "cuts" simply slow down the overall rate of spending increases. Even the dreaded sequester -- which was President Obama's idea, changes to which he vowed to veto -- barely dented spending at all. Reason's Nick Gillespie has an excellent post full of facts and charts to refute the DEADLY CUTS! hyperventilating. To put things in perspective, President Clinton's last budget (FY 2000) called for $1.77 trillion in federal spending. A decade-and-a-half later, we're steadily marching toward $4 trillion in outlays, having accrued well over $17 trillion in debt, with tens of trillions more looming in unpaid-for promises. The notion that the federal government is spending every single one of those dollars responsibly is laughable. The federal budget is rife with waste, inefficiencies and reckless long-term math. John Hayward's apt summary: "We don't have an under-funded government. We have a bad government." Republicans are right to fight for needed reforms and restraint -- and doing so does not entail far-fetched side effects such as aiding and abetting Ebola. And by the way, if that insane Ebola ad reminds you of this startling smear of Paul Ryan in 2011, it might be because both spots were produced by the same group.