Reforming the CDC

I agree with Carl Schramm’s point in his piece at City Journal: the CDC is in need of reform. IMO the matter needs to be considered a long-term project rather than the master stroke, one and done approach that Congress seems to prefer. I doubt that just increasing funding, Congress’s typical approach, will provide results other than increasing the pay of present people working at the CDC.

4 comments… add one
  • walt moffett Link

    Suspect the funding measure would also let the CDC investigate gun violence , disinformation and hmmm.. antigovernment fervor as a sign of mental illness. All of which means many loyal voters, cronies and hangers on will get hired, research grants to flavored institutions, and so on.

  • steve Link

    It probably would need funding but it will be almost impossible to keep it funded. Some Senator is going to make a speech noting that they have funded the CDC to prepare for a pandemic for 15-20 years (pick your time span) and the money is wasted since we haven’t seen a pandemic.

    Also, its likely kind of a career dead end. Being the guy who worked at pandemic prep but the pandemic never came will not be CV enhancing.


  • Also, its likely kind of a career dead end. Being the guy who worked at pandemic prep but the pandemic never came will not be CV enhancing.

    That’s part of the reason that I say that it will require more than a simple one year funding effort in the body of the post. You can’t just wave the people to staff a new, improved CDC into existence and the present incentives discourage people from seeking that career path.

  • Andy Link

    I think the net needs to be spread wider. It’s not just the CDC, it’s the federal pandemic response generally, including the FDA, DHS, and the interagency relations and structures.

    And there is also political leadership (or the lack thereof). One major problem with the CDC isn’t actually a problem with the CDC. Instead of the WH Covid Czar making decisions about tradeoffs WRT various recommendations – that was pawned off on the CDC. So you had this agency making political and social engineering decisions on recommendations with input from political actors like teacher’s unions when the agency is really only designed to be an information source for decision-makers.

    In other words, the decisions about schools, shutdowns, etc. should have been made by the Covid Czar considering all factors, including the political, social, and practical – three areas the CDC has no expertise in. But the WH didn’t want to take the political heat for those tradeoffs, so it was up to the CDC to factor those things in while also claiming that recommendations were only based on the “science.”

    Ideally, CDC would provide the scientific input, and the recommendations would be made by the Czar, who would balance those against other factors.

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