Thursday, March 10, 2016

Government aid can be a force for good -- CDC investigating bacterial outbreak

Even staunch conservatives recognize that federal government plays a role in emergency situations

“I’ve always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Ronald Reagan was fast to pass judgment on government programs meant to give aid to those in need. It’s funny, though: when localities or states need the help, they’re willing to shed this line of thinking without hesitation in favor of aid from the federal government.

When a hurricane ravaged the east coast, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, was happy to accept aid (and a hug) from President Barack Obama, a move that likely contributed to his unpopularity during his run for president himself. When floods ravaged cities across Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz (who voted against Hurricane Sandy relief) sought funds from the government to rebuild and aid those in need.

It seems Republicans have changed their tune a bit. Help from the government isn’t all that bad after all -- when it’s helping their constituents, that is.

This week Wisconsin is facing its own crisis. A rare bacterial outbreak called Elizabethkingia is infecting dozens of our citizens. Today, the Centers for Disease Control is coming to our state to help stave off more infections, and also to figure out what triggered the outbreak in the first place.

The infection rate is typically rare -- only about one or two cases are reported yearly. But in Wisconsin about 48 cases have been reported, with 18 deaths being attributed to the Elizabethkingia outbreak so far.

Having the CDC step in is certainly a good measure to preventing further infections or fatalities. Reagan was wrong -- at least in part. Sure, the government can make mistakes, and when it messes up while helping people those flaws are exposed more than ever (just look at the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina).

But government can be a force for doing good, too, especially when catastrophic events hit a community or state harder than they can handle on their own. Even in isolated events that could potentially grow into larger problems, like the Elizabethkingia outbreak in Wisconsin, we as a people are accepting of government help, and rightly so.

If managed properly government help can go a long way. And it’s good to see that the government is here to help in this state during this frightening ordeal.

No comments:

Post a Comment