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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuberculosis: Infectious Diseases and Your Taxes

Taxes pay for lots of programs the T-Party claims they want to cut. Taxes also pay to protect people, even the T-Party zealots, from harm.

When the Mayor of Harrisburg Pennsylvania cut all public service workers pay, including his own, because there's not enough tax revenues in the bank to sustain payrolls, he's truly putting his constituents in danger.  They're all in harms way.  Not only will people in Harrisburg be harmed as a result of this catastrophic emergency order, but he puts all the public's safety at risk when something unexpected happens and the city has few people on hand to respond.

Jacksonville Florida is an example, where tuberculosis and flooding put citizens in harms way.

Torrential rains with flooding, as a result of an early Tropical Storm Debby, has caused evacuations, while the city is now faced with a tuberculosis outbreak.

Storms are often routine weather situations in Florida, but emergency responses to these natural disasters are probably not equipped to handle a concurrent outbreak of an infectious disease.  

Floods will come and go, but tuberculosis is stubborn.  It doesn't go away.  

Instead, tuberculosis hides. When it re-emerges, it comes back in a more virulent form than when it temporarily disappeared. In fact, it often morphs into multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDRT).  Recently, a multi-drug resistent tuberculosis in India was found to be completely drug resistant.  In other words, the disease morphed into an untreatable infection. 

Obviously, no one believes Harrisburg Pennsylvania needs to experience a tropical storm disaster or an infectious disease outbreak to draw attention to the city's revenue emergency.  Hopefully, diligent public health officials or epidemiologists will track the harm caused by the mayor's emergency cut to public sector salaries.  For example, if rescue personnel can earn more money flipping burgers or greeting Wal-Mart patrons than on the municipal ambulance, then who will be there when a multi-truck pile up happens near the rail road tracks?  Someone must account for this risk.

Yet, there's an enormous difference between Jacksonville, Florida and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; it's called the federal government.  Jacksonville has about a $1 billion (one billion) dollar payroll associated with multiple US Navy and Coast Guard bases positioned throughout Duval County and in Southeastern Georgia.

Resources provided by the Navy, Coast Guard and other government agencies will provide the resources needed to evaluate the tuberculosis outbreak.  Public health money will be made available to address those infected, for the short term, anyway.  

Ditto for the floods.

In the long term, however, if due diligence is not supported, the tuberculosis outbreak will simply morph into something worse.  Likewise for the flood victims, who will need sustaining support to get some semblance of normality.

But, for the time being, federal monies, available to residents of Jacksonville, will get them through these current emergencies.

Harrisburg doesn't have access to the same source of federal dollars, because there are no Navy bases in 
Dauphine County, Pennsylvania.

And the moral of this blog is:  Who will T-Party zealots turn to when they or their families are exposed to tuberculosis, or multi-drug resistant tuberculosis or are victims of floods?

Taxes for public health and safety are revenue sharing that helps all people, regardless of our citizenship, ability to care for ourselves or our individual resources.  

When levied equitably, paying taxes is our patriotic and moral responsibility to give back to our nation, and the government that allows us to enjoy freedom and prosperity.  

Harrisburg's Mayor must raise revenues or his entire city will become unlivable.  Maybe, T-Party zealots will become a morphed "occupy" movement. They can claim the city of Harrisburg as being mortality # 1 of their outrageous claims to cut government.



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