In a tale of logistical wizardry, persistence, and sheer physical endurance, Massachusetts is being whisked some 1.4 million N95 masks on the New England Patriots’ plane. 300,000 some masks will go to New York. Bob Kraft is paying for some large portion of this. Governor Baker just made a heartfelt plea on behalf of those getting the masks, noting that it’s not just the doctors and nurses themselves who are at risk, but also their families. He expressed gratitude for those whose energies and ingenuity made this airlift possible.
And surely we share that gratitude. It’s a remarkable, life-saving achievement.
It’s an achievement that is only necessary because of an obscene degree of federal incompetence, deliberate negligence, and outright interference. Why, on April 2, are we still waiting for PPE that the federal government could have ordered months ago under the Defense Production Act?
As I said elsewhere …
This is one of those feel-good stories that actually describes a catastrophic failure of federal governance.
Why do we need 🤔
a. a Patriots plane
b. to go to China
c. for masks that we should already have
d. Paid for 1/2 by a private individual
e. for MA (+300k for NY) https://t.co/e0y8ShEY9f
— Blue Mass Group (@bluemassgroup) April 2, 2020
This was only necessary because the federal government had impounded 3 million masks that Massachusetts had bought from BJ’s. And Jared Kushner (why are we forced to talk about him, why Dear Lord) has said, nonsensically and incorrectly: “The notion of the federal stockpile is that it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.” Who else is there? Where do people live except states? Guam? Military bases, I guess? I don’t think Jared, whose illustrious business experience includes property-flipping in Somerville while a Harvard undergrad, knows. But he’s on the teevee, so there’s that.
And we still haven’t gotten the ventilators that we were promised by the federal government. (Universal Hub is still there, and still amazing, BTW.)
Meanwhile, state officials said Massachusetts has yet to receive any of the 1,000 ventilators the feds had earlier promised Baker Massachusetts would get. Despite that the state yesterday upped its request for ventilators it may never get to 1,400. “We’ve not yet received any ventilators,” Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said.
Who knows if we’ll ever get them. While he has built his entire ludicrous public image on manly alpha-male toughness, Trump’s has shown only vacillation, hesitation, and indecisiveness in delivering life-saving equipment and PPE:
- refusing to invoking the Defense Production Act;
- invoking it, but then not actually using the powers given to him to force companies into making goods;
- Saying he was using the powers to force GM to make ventilators last week —
- But actually no, he didn’t:
But Trump said Friday he would use the act to require General Motors to make ventilators after what he described as a dispute with the company over supply and pricing. Three administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told USA TODAY that the government is still exploring its options and has not yet placed an order under the Defense Production Act for any of the machines.
Again, I share Baker’s gratitude. But this is the result of catastrophic SNAFUs at the federal level. We’re at the mercy of maniacs.
And maybe Bob Kraft should pick up the phone, call his old golf buddy Trump and tell him to Make. The. Damn. Masks.