09 March 2020

Unprepared for a Pandemic

A standing army is a fairly new thing in the history of humanity. Now we likely spend too much on the military but the notion is that a community needs the ability to rapidly respond to a threat as serious as invasion. And it turns out that a strong military is a deterrent. The fact of having it makes us less likely to need it. (Although sadly, not less likely to use it ... which is another story.)

Trump's 2020 budget proposed an increase in military spending of $210 billion over 2016. Increase. He proposed a total of $2.7 trillion.

Meanwhile, he proposed only $136 billion in public health and safety, a cut from the $140 billion in 2016.

He proposed a bigger increase in military spending than he proposed in total for public health and safety. Military, INCREASE by $210 billion; health and safety, FUNDING of only $136 billion.

Infrastructure, staffing and research to rapidly respond to a threat as serious as a pandemic will - like a standing army - save lives and perhaps even make us less likely to need to respond to a pandemic because it might help us prevent such an event.

In an interview about five years ago, Bill Gates called a global pandemic the most predictable catastrophe of our time and said that there was no excuse not to be prepared.

And if you think that it cost too much to have the equivalent of a standing army for battling pandemics, consider this: in the last 3 weeks, the market has lost about $4 trillion in value. Even more than Trump wants to spend this year on the whole of our military. It may cost you more but the life you save could be your own.

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