Buying as a bloc will hopefully make it easier to get the goods needed to fight COVID-19.
President Trump has used the Defense Production Act to order meatpacking plants to stay open because America needs its bacon. He hasn’t used it to organize the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, even though it remains in short supply.
Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation that would federalize medical supply chains, but even if it made off Capitol Hill there’s virtually no chance the president is signing that bill. And the White House has made it very clear that states should expect to find this equipment on their own. It was just a few weeks ago that landlord and disaster logistics expert Jared Kushner – America's First Son In Law – explained that the federal stockpile of PPE was not for the states’ use.
Anyway, forcing states, the federal government and individual hospital systems to compete with each other for scarce supplies during a global health emergency has been a big, dumb lesson in disaster capitalism that we shouldn’t have had to learn. And I'm not the only one who thinks this: States are actually banding together on their own, without the help of Washington, to increase their purchasing power in the cutthroat PPE market.
The governors of seven northeastern states – New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New jersey and Pennsylvania and Delaware – announced the formation of a consortium to “make us more competitive in the international marketplace” when buying PPE, said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Note that Cuomo said “international” marketplace, because the domestic manufacturing capacity for PPE remains threadbare.
It's past time to get serious about reshoring manufacturing for critical industries!
There have been more than 69,000 deaths in the United States caused by COVID-19 at the time of this writing.