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$590M in Zika Money Disappears Into Big Government’s Black Hole of Suck

In April, the Obama Administration made a great show of moving $590 million in taxpayer funds from an account to fight Ebola over to an account for fighting the Zika threat.

Two months later, the Most Transparent Administration in History has no idea where that money went. Oh, by the way, they need another $1.9 billion for Zika, which they once dismissed as the overhyped obsession of Internet crisis junkies.

The Washington Examiner notes that Congress is willing to consider more funding for Zika, but first it wants to know where the previous pile of taxpayer cash went. Administration officials can do nothing but turn their pockets inside out and shrug:

The White House, the Centers for Disease Control and the Office of Management and Budget were all unable to provide an exact number or even an estimate, despite repeated requests. Not even House appropriators can find out exactly how much money is available and how it is to be spent, aides told the Washington Examiner.

House Republicans pointed out the Administration has plenty of funding available from other sources that could be re-purposed for Zika, and yet it’s pretending to be flat broke:

Republicans argue the Obama administration could redirect as much as $2 billion in existing funding to combat the virus but is simply unwilling to use it. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., called the $2 billion “a slush fund.”

But Rogers has repeatedly complained that he has no information from the Obama administration, which he says has been unwilling to explain how they are spending the $590 million, and how much has been spent so far.

“Nobody knows how much the administration has spent on Zika,” Dan Holler, spokesman for the conservative Heritage Action, told the Examiner. “They are requesting $1.9 billion, but they have not made clear what that would be used for, and what they’ve spent or how fast they are spending the $590 million.”

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) made similar points in a Washington Post editorial on Monday:

Nearly $600 million has already been deployed to address the crisis in order to support mosquito control efforts and other preventative measures. This funding, which was originally allocated to respond to the Ebola epidemic, was immediately available for use by the administration.

[…] In late May, the House passed legislation, led by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), that adds $622.1 million dollars to these efforts, increasing the total funding to $1.2 billion dollars to be used before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30th.

The bulk of the funding in our proposal comes from existing, unused dollars allocated to our Ebola response efforts and the Department of Health and Human Services administrative budget.

The last half-billion certainly doesn’t seem to have made its way to Zika-threatened southern states like Louisiana, whose officials say it hasn’t received any urgently-needed federal assistance.

“Slush fund” is probably a good guess for the fate of the missing $590 million. An awful lot of federal cash has been magically appearing in the hands of liberal special interest groups during the Obama years – a feeding frenzy most clearly visible in the mortgage settlement racket, which basically has banking customers unwittingly subsidizing the National Council of La Raza and the Urban League, with Justice Department lawyers acting as bag men.

We live in an age when American voters are tightening their belts to deal with stagnant income and high unemployment, and the private sector workforce is deflating like a punctured balloon… but the government can lose track of $590 million in sixty days, and nobody bats an eye. It’s just business as usual. Uncle Sam has a really big sofa, and a lot of pocket change just slips between the cushions.

Zika is starting to look like one of those crises Chicago’s disastrous mayor, Rahm Emanuel, advised Obama not to waste. We wouldn’t need billions to control disease-bearing mosquitoes, if environmentalist radicals hadn’t banned effective pesticides. With simple solutions off the table, everything becomes so delightfully complicated and expensive!

It’s fun watching the most overfunded government in the history of mankind pretend to be perpetually broke, lacking the funds to handle any of its basic duties, helpless before each new challenge unless taxpayers fork over a billion dollars pronto… but don’t you dare criticize the Royal Family for burning millions of dollars in jet fuel on its endless luxury vacations, or second-guess the bureaucracy’s decision to raise another paperwork palace on the Potomac. 

Obama-style government is only broke when it comes to its duties. It has endless lucre available for indulgences, including plump bonuses and eye-popping benefits for even its most manifestly incompetent employees. Federal agencies invest huge resources in mission creep, while claiming to be utterly overwhelmed by their original missions.

This President claims that only narrow-minded Republican intransigence keeps him from sprinkling the landscape with Hoover Dams, and filling the sky with Sputnik moments – but ask him to build a border fence, and suddenly such a miracle of technology is an unthinkable achievement his malnourished government couldn’t possibly afford. Want the Centers for Disease Control to control a disease? Sorry, citizen, you’ll have to pay extra for that.

Living under Obama’s vision of the Super-State is like buying a luxury vacation package and finding out you have to pay extra for bedsheets and a functioning toilet in the hotel room. It takes a lot of work to pretend a $3.6 trillion government with almost 3 million employees is incapable of meeting any contingency without billions in emergency funding.

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