Biden administration and FDA’s failures set the stage for shortage
How ironic that in early 2021 , CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC created the expression “The adults are in charge” to praise the changes they saw coming from the incoming Biden administration while never missing the chance to take a shot at the outgoing Trump one.
“Irony” is using words to express something that means the opposite, frequently for humor or emphasis. An example of humor that qualified for the Irony Hall of Fame was President Ronald Reagan saying “I am from the government. I am here to help you.”
When the networks coined the phrase “The adults are in charge,” they meant it for emphasis on the anticipated changes, but, it is safe to say, not for it to qualify for the Irony Hall of Fame. However, during the ensuing year-plus as the events showed the irony of the words having the opposite effect as their meaning qualified them for that hall. How did this happen?
The requirement that an expression be broadcast was amply satisfied by all the major networks, except Fox, and even many minor ones, such as PBS. Why did this expression become ironic?
To quote Garrett Hudland, “It can happen so fast, or a little bit late, but timing is everything” applies to this expression as it was a “little bit late” since the changes the sponsors implied would help the country had already been implemented by President Donald Trump. Indeed, part of the irony is that “it can happen so fast” was applied to the Trump improvements as soon as President Biden was able to slowly walk to the Oval Office and sign the executive orders that would shift the interpretation of “The adults are in charge” from emphasis to humor as it is better to laugh than cry. How did this happen?
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the “adults” drove the price of gasoline up so fast that those who had filled up prior to the Inauguration could be accused of “trading on inside information.” This one example would be sufficient for the expression to qualify for the Irony Hall of Fame. But unfortunately, there are too many others to be discussed herein. Is there a theme?
The theme was as broad as President Obama saying “This is the greatest country in the history of the world, and I am going to change everything.” Unfortunately. that capsulizes the Biden team, which is, after all, the Obama team revisited.
It is ironic that their reference to “being an adult” illustrates a current example of the differences between how Presidents Trump and Biden handle problems. When President Trump was hit with the invasion of COVID-19, he identified it despite being in the middle of an impeachment, created the Warp Speed program and solved it within 10 months.
Here is how President Biden is handling the much simpler problems faced by all adult parents: feeding your baby.
The problems with the lack of baby formula, as with gasoline, is not only President Biden’s failure to ensure an adequate supply, but also all the false narratives from Mr. Biden. For example, in May 2022, President Biden saying “we took action as soon as we knew of the problem” was immediately contradicted by his team. OK, they altered this administration’s “word games” by not calling the statement a “gaffe” or say they’re “walking it back.” Instead, they played their new game of starting with “As the president said,” hoping followers of CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS AND NBC will not notice that they actually are contradicting him. When did the problem begin?
The baby formula could be said to have begun on Jan. 20, 2021 (Biden’s Inauguration day) when he appointed Janet Woodcock as acting head of the Food and Drug Administration, whose qualifications for ensuring the safety of our food and drugs included her approving OxyContin for children 11-16 without even consulting the FDA advisory committee. This administration had so little interest in our food and rugs that it left her in place until Feb. 17, 2022 when Robert Califf became the head of the FDA, who immediately asked: Where were the FDA inspections of the Abbott facility?
It took the FDA two months to even interview the whistleblower at Abbotts before Abbott self-identified a health issue manufacturing baby formula and shut its Sturgis, Mich. plant until it could fix it.
I don’t know the details, but I can say that when Campbells Soup had a similar problem in its Paris, Texas, plant, it treated it so urgently that the head of quality control — Charles Trombold, my stepfather — was called back from vacation to immediately fix it. And he did.
Abbotts had the same type of incentives, which makes delays from February to the projected mid-June sound unreasonable. Since FDA approval is necessary to renew operations: Is this why Mr. Califf asked about the lack of inspections? Remember there are only four manufacturers.
The FDA reports to Xavier Becerra, the secretary of Health and Human Services, who is best known for unsuccessfully trying to bog down the Trump administration by suing them more than 50 times as attorney general of California. Both Mr. Bacerra and Mr. Califf contradicted President Biden by saying they not only had been aware but also had been working on a solution for months.
Democrats in Congress tried to cover for the administration’s failures by saying that there are only four companies making formulas and calling it an antitrust issue. They went with that explanation despite the fact that under previous administrations, there were no shortages. In the blame game, the Federal Trade Commission is ignoring the lack of problems under President Trump and is investigating whether mergers caused the problem.
The administration remained mute on the Fox news reports including videos showing pallets stacked up at our southern border for the Border Patrol to distribute to the illegals instead of patrolling the border, under the federal program Women, Infants and Children.
After much delay and reports of sick and dying American babies as many areas had less than 50% of the formula needed, the president, to quote Mr. Hudland, “a little bit late” authorized the military to fly in formula from Europe that would help, but not solve, the problem. Notice the Biden team chose to study crickets instead of admitting that the European supplies were only going to hospitals and not consumers. Following the pattern described in my article “Biden campaign promises” (May 22, News-Press), President Biden is sending $25 million to Europe for quality control.
That’s instead of correcting the mistakes at the FDA.
The president searched for ways to talk about climate change while parents were desperately searching for ways to feed their babies. Of course, the president did not mutter any timetable and on talk shows his team gave the vague statement that the problem would continue for a little while.
Abbotts calculated that it would be a month to a month and a half, making it early July, before the earliest date that its supply might be available. This means in the five months from mid-February until at least July even if parents could afford the ever increasing price of gasoline to drive around in search of formula, they would have to replace the bed time feedings with stories of how great their lives would be in 50 or so years under climate change.
Sadly, this administration having the “the adults in charge” not only qualifies for the Irony Hall of Fame but also for the Hall of Shame.
Brent E. Zepke is an attorney, arbitrator and author who lives in Santa Barbara. Formerly he taught at six universities and numerous professional conferences. He is the author of six books: “One Heart-Two Lives,” “Legal Guide to Human Resources,” “Business Statistics,” “Labor Law,” “Products and the Consumer” and “Law for Non-Lawyers.”