Saturday, May 2, 2009

Swine Flu Update - Government Scamdemic and the Credit Crisis

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If you thought the U.S. government's handling of the Credit Crisis was bad (and you should), the handling of the current swine flu outbreak is even worse. Both have similar elements and it is those elements that need to be addressed if the financial system is to be righted, the economy is to be put back on a sustainable track, health policy is to be handled responsibly and anything else is in the U.S. is to run the way it should. Otherwise things are only going to continue to fall apart and possibly just blow up spectacularly one day.

We are living in a time where there seems to have been a complete suspension of the use of common sense and basic logic among the powers that be. You see this in the Credit Crisis, where it was believed that people who had no jobs and no history of paying their bills, even if they had a job, were considered good prospects for home mortgages. Somehow, there was surprise when large numbers of these mortgages defaulted. Government programs to extend home ownership to the poor (why should someone not own something just because they can't afford it) were at the root of the Credit Crisis and this helped support unlimited Wall Street greed in trying to make money off of these programs. The government is still trying to prop up Wall Street with your taxpayer money in its various bail out programs even though most of this mortgage debt is and always will be worthless.

The same suspension of common sense has taken place with the current swine flu outbreak. A genetic analysis of the virus released yesterday indicates that it doesn't have any elements of the 1918 virus that caused that virus be so dangerous (plus that virus was an avian flu and not a swine flu as was thought to be the case for decades, a rather major point that seems to have been ignored by the medical authorities). Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars for this study, simple observation of the people with confirmed cases of the disease was all that was necessary. Outside of Mexico, there have been ZERO deaths so far (the one case supposedly in the United States was a resident of Mexico City who had been brought to the U.S. and he had other significant health problems). Anecdotal reports outside of Mexico indicate that many of the people who have had swine flu didn't even bother going to the doctor because they weren't that sick. Most people with swine flu have recovered quickly. If basic logic wasn't enough, you would think having the scientific confirmation that swine flu isn't deadly would be an adequate reason to stop the government's panic reaction to the situation. You would of course be wrong.

From the top all the way down, the government's desire to spend your tax dollars ($1.5 billion has been committed) to save you from a non-existent menace goes on unabated. President Obama himself in his radio address Saturday stated, "This is a new strain of the flu virus, and because we haven't developed an immunity to it, it has more potential to cause us harm. Unlike the various strains of animal flu that have emerged in the past, it's a flu that is spreading from human to human." The ability to pack so much ignorance in so few words is truly a gift (I previously thought George Bush was the master of this art). Flu arises from animals and becomes epidemic when person to person transmission is possible, so this is exactly what has happened in all past flu epidemics. The idea we have no developed immunity to the swine flu is not supported by the mildness of the cases, nor for that matter has there been any random testing to find out if people test positive for swine flu, but didn't become ill (this was indeed found to be the case in the 1976 outbreak).

Neither common sense, nor scientific evidence seems to have phased Dr. Steve Waterman, the head of a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Mexico. Even after getting the genetic analysis stating the swine flu virus wasn't deadly, Dr. Waterman warned that more deaths were to come. Dr. Waterman stated his main goal of his CDC team in Mexico (other than to spend the unlimited government funding they have) is to find out HOW swine flu kills. He should be asking IF it kills, not how. Anyone with a wit of intelligence (it is quite possible that no high ranking medical official is in that category) should be immediately suspicious that no one has died of swine flu outside of Mexico. Many days ago, the official Mexican figures were 2498 swine flu cases and 160 deaths. As of right now, viral typing (the only way to accurately know if someone has swine flu, since there are many other diseases with similar symptoms) shows only 397 confirmed swine flu cases in Mexico with 16 of those people having died. There are no medical histories for those people (most of whom seem to be urban and rural poor with limited access to health care), so it is impossible to determine if they died from swine flu or some other disease. There is by no means out of the question, especially since there was an outbreak of virulent pneumonia this winter in Mexico prior to the outbreak of swine flu. To say that Mexican health statistics are questionable and their health care system is a mess would be an understatement to say the least. Yet, they are being given credence while the more reliable evidence from the developed world is being ignored.

As of today (Saturday, May 2), there are 161 confirmed cases of swine flu in the U.S. New York leads the way with 50 cases. Few new cases seem to be appearing in New York even though the head of the city's Health and Human Services irresponsibly tried to panic the public earlier in the week by warning there were already hundreds of cases (so where are they?). More than 430 schools are closed in the U.S. affecting about 245,000 children in 18 states. Has the U.S. Secretary of Education said this is ridiculous and there is no justification for this. Not at all. Even after the scientific study indicating swine flu is not deadly was available, new guidelines were released to keep schools closed 14 days instead of the shorter times that had been planned. How else could we prepare today's students for future government service other than to keep them totally ignorant and uneducated?

Like the boy who cried wolf, the government is playing a dangerous game with swine flu. When a truly serious crisis arises, it is likely to be ignored in the future. Of course, that would assume that the goverment would actually realize a serious crisis existed. It didn't with the Credit Crisis and it still isn't reacting properly to fix it. Don't assume things are likely to be any better in the health arena.

NEXT: Pandemic of Government Stupidity Over Swine Flu Sweeps Globe

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer,New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. Like all other postings for this blog, there is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

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