Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Calif. Cut Ventilator Funding; Instead Wasted Billions on ‘Green’ Bullet Train

Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom bickered w/ President Trump over wasteful boondoggle…

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Jerry Brown/IMAGE: NBC News

(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) As the Wuhan virus grips the nation, America’s most populous state is facing an explosion of confirmed infections and its governor is begging the federal government for lifesaving breathing ventilators.

But California’s ventilator shortage is problem of its own making — not that the progressive-controlled state government would admit it.

According to the Los Angeles Times, former two-term Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, cut ventilator funding while boosting wasteful “green” energy projects and other politically motivated spending initiatives instead. The misplaced priorities continued under California’s current Democratic governor and outspoken Trump critic, Gavin Newsom.

For perspective, the annual cost to maintain California’s medical ventilator programs was $5.8 million. The cost of Brown and Newsom’s supposed environmentally friendly bullet train connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles was $77 billion — and the train was never built.

California suffers from a surge in coronavirus infections that’s second only to New York. It recently passed 5,000 positive cases and has reached more than 120 deaths. And health experts expect the crisis to get much worse in the coming weeks.

Newsom admits his state is unprepared and that hospital systems will soon be overwhelmed, if not already.


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“The one treatment we know works are ventilators… so we need more of them,” Newsom said over the weekend as he petitioned for help from the Trump administration.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger/Photo by Zero Emission Resource Organisation (CC)

But the emergency was entirely predictable. In fact, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, anticipated the likelihood of a devastating pandemic in 2006 and pushed for state resources to protect tens of millions of Californians against the exact type of scenario state residents now find themselves.

Among many pandemic preparedness measures, Schwarzenegger authorized three 200-bed mobile hospitals that could be rapidly deployed to virus hotspots and provide advanced health care.

“Each hospital would be the size of a football field, with a surgery ward, intensive care unit and X-ray equipment,” the Times reported.

Emergency supplies would have been stockpiled for the Wuhan virus outbreak, including kits for an extra 21,000 critical care beds and 2,400 portable breathing ventilators.

A 2008 California Department of Public Health report provided justification for the plan, stating that shortages of ventilators, antibiotics, and ICU beds during a statewide health emergency would cause supplies to be “denied or discontinued or withdrawn in order to allocate limited resources.”

The report also offered that, “Facility staff are likely to be injured or killed by the catastrophic event as well, potentially resulting in a shortage of trained staff at the facility.”

At $200 million dollars, the emergency preparedness proposals weren’t cheap. But they were a fraction of the state’s budget $130 billion then-budget, which ballooned in the interim to $215 billion last year.

“In light of the pandemic flu risk, it is absolutely a critical investment,” Schwarzenegger said in a news conference at the time. “I’m not willing to gamble with the people’s safety.”

Newsom's Over-the-Top
Gavin Newsom / IMAGE: The View via Youtube

Apparently, Governors Brown and Newsom are.

In 2011, Brown cut funding for the pandemic response infrastructure and neither he nor Newsom resurrected it. The emergency equipment, including the now priceless ventilators, was dumped on local hospitals and health agencies without funding or maintenance provisions, where they deteriorated and become useless.

“Together, these two programs would have positioned California to more rapidly respond as its COVID-19 cases exploded. The annual savings for eliminating both programs? No more than $5.8 million per year, according to state budget records,” the Times concluded.

The costs pale in comparison to California’s current pandemic crisis, not to mention the state’s many climate change-subsidized programs. Chief among them is the $77 billion high-speed train to nowhere that was never built.

Many critics consider it an expensive microcosm of the Green New Deal, which would similarly come at the expense of society’s more practical needs.

As many predicted, the train vastly exceeded its initial price tag — more than seven times its proposed budget — and it was years behind schedule by the time Brown left office in 2019. It also never carried a single passenger.

Consider the average flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles, or vice versa, is $149.

But Brown insisted on the mass transit project throughout his tenure, and long after it was clear that tens of billions of taxpayer dollars were being hopelessly wasted.

Brown deflected by picking fights with President Trump. He claimed Trump was “undermin(ing) America” and sabotaging the “world order.” He called the president “a liar, criminal, and fool,” at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

“I’m calling him out because climate change is a real threat of death, destruction and ultimate extinction,” Brown said.

When he finally left office, however, Brown had cut pandemic preparedness while tying a nearly $100 billion bullet train millstone, all told, around his successor’s neck. For his part, Newsom committed to the rail project while trying to blame Trump for the epic green failure.

It didn’t work. Newsom was forced to kill the rail project after Trump denied a bailout and cut California off from federal funding.

“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars. They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a ‘green’ disaster!,” Trump tweeted.

Newsom responded by tweeting, “This is CA’s money,” adding, “We’re not giving it back.”

But Newsom has taken a new tone with the president, now that California is in dire shape due to the deadly Wuhan virus and the state’s lack of preparation.

CNN reported last week that Newsom has “warmly praised the Trump administration for its assistance,” while more recently Newsweek said that the California governor spoke to Trump on the phone and called the conversation a “privilege.”


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