Is President Biden taking the rap for a baby formula shortage that does not exist? What can be said is that the Biden Administration is causing a lot of anxiety, frustration, and fear among mothers who are scrambling to find infant formula for their babies.
The baby formula crisis was triggered way back in December of 2021, when Abbott had to shut down their main baby formula factory over concern of contamination after four babies became ill and one died. Yet, there is no proof of Abbott’s culpability. That investigation is ongoing. Regardless, the Abbott plant was shut down in February of this year – and is not expected to re-open until December of 2022.
So, why did it take so long for the shortage of baby formula to come to the attention of the public – and the Biden administration. In response to that question, President Biden said that the administration responded as soon as they were made aware.
That answer was consistent with the Biden White House’s policy of never being wrong or responsible for any problem. But – if true – it did not explain why the White House was so oblivious of the unfolding crisis when his Food and Drug Administration was monitoring and managing the situation from day one. By the time Biden was “aware,” the crisis had already reached a critical and potentially life-threatening stage.
Frightened mothers were already appearing on every television network by the time of Biden’s public statement on the subject. And besides shucking off all blame, Biden offered nothing in terms of implemented plans or concrete proposals. He would be “looking into …” and “working with …”
But was all the fear and anxiety merely that—fear and anxiety for naught? Were all the images of those empty grocery shelves photoshopped? Were all the interviews with anxious and angry mothers fake news?
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf appeared on the morning news to assure the public that his Agency was on top of the situation from day one. Of course, they were. The Abbott factory could not have been shut down without close consultation with the FDA. Califf could not explain, however, why nothing was done to head off the crisis. Was there no evaluation of the impact of closing one of the major suppliers of baby formula between December – when the infants fell ill — and the February closing? Or since?
According to the data, the baby formula shortage had reached serious levels weeks before Biden became “aware.” But could that have been the fault of the FDA? Is it possible that they never informed the President?
That would seem very unlikely except for something Califf said in his television interview that put the entire issue in a different light. He said … (prepare to be shocked) … there is no shortage of baby formula. I had to hit the reverse button on my controller to hear the comment again. Yep! It is not a shortage of supply. According to Califf, there is a “sufficient” supply of baby formula, but an uneven distribution problem – a supply chain anomaly. He further believed that the problem could be resolved rather quickly.
Califf did not just make an off-the-cuff statement, he doubled down, saying that the “numbers” reported in the media are “incorrect” – the supply is “sufficient.” He backed his statement up with his own numbers, saying that a normal 10 percent shortage had become a 21 percent shortage – and the shortfall was already lessening. In other words, 79 percent of the normal supply was still out there somewhere – but apparently not on the shelves.
My second shock was that no one in the Fourth Estate followed up on what seemed to be a bombshell statement. Maybe the outlook for all those new mothers across America is not as grim as it appears.
But that still does not get Biden and/or the FDA off the hook for gross incompetence whether the problem is a shortage or a distribution problem. Incompetency is even more condemnatory if the solution is merely working out distribution. The iconic question, “What did Biden know, and when did he know it?” still needs an answer and an explanation from the White House.
Since the only explanation that can save the White House’s incompetency is that Califf did not alert the President because he did not think it was a problem. Unlikely … but if that is the case, then we should be getting a new FDA Commissioner very soon. Either way, it is safe to say that the Biden administration –both the White House and the FDA — has grossly mishandled the baby formula crisis. They were asleep at the switch.
Hmmmm. Since Democrats seem to think that they have America’s women on their side, I wonder whether all those new mothers searching for baby formula this summer will have Roe v. Wade or the struggle to feed their babies on their minds when they cast their ballots.
So, there ‘tis.