Shortages of infant formula and children's medicine show that America and the President must put our children first

Shortages of infant formula and children’s medicine show that America and the President must put our children first

Do we care about children in America? Will the president?

This is a question that people across the country should seriously ask themselves.

The country has been struggling with a shortage of infant formula for nearly a year. What kind of society allows this to continue in the shadows? How is this not a hot topic for President Joe Biden? What’s the point of anything if a mother can’t feed her child?

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) tweeted last month on shortages: “Rather than delivering divisive speeches that aim to demonize ordinary Americans, perhaps President Biden should focus his attention on confronting the pressing issues we have here at home.” He is absolutely right. There is no more pressing issue than America’s babies getting the nourishment they need.

As we head into the peak of cold and flu season, parents are reporting shortages of children’s medications, including Tylenol and ibuprofen. Amoxicillin and Augmentin for children are also rare. Do you have a child with asthma? The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which maintains a shortage drug list, says albuterol is limited.

How can this continue in America? How do we talk about anything other than that?

Nearly a year ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that chains like Walmart and CVS said “Infant formula makers are having supply issues; formula makers say retailers aren’t getting products to stores once they’re delivered. Finally, in June, the Biden administration invoked the Defense Production Act to address the issue. He also ordered various government agencies to use Department of Defense planes to smuggle infant formula into the country. By then, the shortage had been going on for months without any action.

President Joe Biden announces the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner during a prisoner exchange with Russia, December 8, 2022, in Washington DC.
The Biden administration has been slow to use the Defense Production Act for shortages.

Five months after this meager action, we are still in short supply. Did it all work? The White House says it conducted 10 “Operation Fly Formula missions” and brought “the equivalent of 19 million 8-ounce bottles of formula.” And now what? Did the president get lost on the way to the glacier? Why don’t we do this until there’s a formula crisis?

The priorities of this administration are out of whack. The president announced Thursday that he was sending $36 billion to shore up union workers’ pensions. Once again he is simply sending money to his base as American parents wonder if they will be able to treat their child’s ear infection. Where is this avalanche of money when it comes to the country’s children?

There is a lot of talk about why the US birth rate is declining. How we respond to crises affecting children offers a clue. We send a message to children.

Tylenol for children
Parents are reporting shortages of children’s medicines as the United States heads into peak cold and flu season.
Toronto Star via Getty Images

During the pandemic, politicians, especially Democrats, stood with teacher unions for children and closed schools. The damage caused by this political alliance still reverberates, with record learning losses. Not a single person who made decisions that harmed so many children has repented. Now the same people don’t care whether the children have food or medicine.

It shouldn’t just be up to the parents to worry about it. I’m a parent, yes, but I haven’t used formula in many years, and my kids don’t have drug allergies, which makes finding specific allergies all the more important. Still, I remember the hazy early days of infancy and can imagine the frustration and fear parents must feel because they can’t feed their children and no one seems to care.

No need to have children to understand this despair. It’s something we used to know as a country. Whitney Houston covered “Greatest Love of All” and sang the powerful first “I Believe Children Are Our Future” in 1985, years before she had one. Now we behave as if children are not so important to our society. It’s wrong.

Senator Bill Hagerty speaks during an annual meeting of leaders of the Republican Jewish Coalition on November 18, 2022 in Las Vegas.
Senator Bill Hagerty suggested Joe Biden focus on pressing issues instead of delivering divisive speeches.

As a civilization, as a nation, we have to do better and we have to elect politicians who understand that. Put the kids first. Do it now.

Twitter: @karol

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