“The CDC Doesn’t Have A Funding Problem.”

“It Has A Mission Creep Problem,” argues David Harsanyi, noting that large chunks of the Centers for Disease Control’s budget and attention now go “to temporary health scares and trendy crusades that often go well beyond any mission it should be pursuing.” Glenn Reynolds has more at USA Today on how the agency has far more on its plate than communicable disease these days, “having involved itself in everything from playground safety to smoking in subsidized housing.” (And binge drinking, and obesity, and suburban zoning, and….)

It seems that as government has gotten bigger, and accumulated more and more of its own ancillary responsibilities, it has gotten worse at its primary tasks. It can supervise snacks at elementary schools, but not defend the borders; it can tax people to subsidize others’ health-care plans but not build roads or bridges; and it can go after football team names but can’t seem to deal with the Islamic State terror group.

Earlier on the Centers for Disease Control and on director Thomas Frieden, who of course won fame before his CDC appointment for his activism as NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s health commissioner, crusading against salt, sugar, guns, and so forth. More: Chris Edwards chart at Cato; Nick Gillespie, Reason; Michael Tanner. (& welcome Instapundit/Glenn Reynolds, Craig Newmark/Newmark’s Door readers).


  • I lived in Jacksonville Florida in the 80’s. I remember the Federal government building a new office building. Somebody had the bright idea to make the building have twice the number of floors that was needed at the time. The idea was to save money by allowing for future expansion in the new building. It took two years to build the building. By the time the building was ready for use, it was already too small.

  • Who is David Harsanyi to decide that “temporary health scares and trendy crusades that often go well beyond any mission it should be pursuing.” ??

    Another journalist turn scientist?

  • The whole public health edifice was built on eradicating communicable diseases. Unfortunately, they were too successful, and ran out of diseases, and had to branch out into other perceived threats to justify their existence. Now that a new, very serious disease has emerged from the heart of Africa, they have (1) lost the expertise to deal with it, and (2) have to deal with it in a Brave New World of political correctness that constrains their activities quite a bit.

    I really hope that they get their mojo back, because it sounds like this outbreak is not going to stop soon, or without some pretty draconian actions…

  • […] federal budget cuts for Ebola [Chris Edwards chart at Cato; Nick Gillespie, Reason; Michael Tanner, earlier] How Firestone, rare multinational firm with a large presence in Liberia, fought the disease […]