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Ebola: Private Sector, States Need to Step Up

Your federal government cares about you, so in response to a hemorrhagic fever in the U.S., the President offers up a photo up in the White House situation room and makes many promises that we know the Feds cannot keep. Even more bizarre are few Republican Senators suggesting that the President appoint an Ebola czar. What is wrong with these people? Rather than use existing sources, methods, and political appointees, they argue for throwing more federal tax money and spin control at a potentially serious problem.

There will be a lot of political dissecting the next few weeks about the federal government’s latest failure to carry out one of its core missions, protect the republic. The presence of the Ebola virus in the United States, as well as the Enterovirus outbreak, is a homeland security failure. If public health officials fail to contain it, and we are to believe the statistics put out there by experts, more people could die from these diseases in the United States than the total number of Americans killed on 09.11.01 at the hands of radical Islamists.

Ebola is the headlines today, but try not to lose focus of the bigger issues at play. The security breakdown at the U.S.-Mexico border the past few years is the primary reason these things are happening. It is a symptom of a much more complex story. For example, if we had a modern border security strategy, rather than one anchored partly in the Cold War, flights to and from the Ebola hotspots in Africa would have been modified, or suspended, until the risk of pandemic subsided.

Closer to our homeland, this year’s enterovirus outbreak that has spread to forty-six states can be linked to border security lapses as well. More people, mostly children, have died from this disease than from Ebola. At least for now. In addition to diseases that have the potential to cause massive casualties, border security lapses also exacerbate better known issues such as drug smuggling, human trafficking, and, of course, radical Islamic terror.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a bureaucratic leviathan that needs containing, not expanding. By Washington, DC political standards, they’ve managed to avoid the type of Congressional scrutiny that other other branches of the intelligence community have been subjected to over the past few years, especially the CIA, NSA, and to lesser extent the State Department.  This needs to change. The same goes for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Republicans and conservatives also need to stop looking for solutions from Washington for these and other matters. There are 31 Republican Governors that have a great deal of power to put in place, in collaboration with the private sector, solutions to deal with the federal government’s failure to protect our borders. Put some of that ingenuity to good use to combat and contain ebola and enterovirus.

With the notable exception of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, House Speaker John Boehner, and a few others, I’ve not seen much leadership on this issue from our side of the aisle. Republican governors, especially, defend your states and your residents. Do not allow the federal government to meddle and mess this up for they will most assuredly will. There are plenty of qualified public health professionals in the private sector that are ready, willing, and more than able to help. Be creative and show the nation how it’s done.

If companies operating in West Africa, such as Firestone (listen to the embedded NPR report) can figure out ways to contain an Ebola outbreak for pennies on the dollar (as compared to what the federal government has spent the past few weeks on two or three cases), so can governors and business leaders in the United States that have much better access to capital and resources than folks in that region of the world.

Someone needs to step up and lead. Do something. Stop talking. Americans are tiring of all the whiners in the public square.

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