Congress Had to Legalize Selling Masks to Health Care Workers

There's a lot of noise in the media about all the stuff we need to cope with a pandemic. Where is the stuff? Why don't we have the stuff.

1. Because we've been making all our stuff in China.

2. Because the government doesn't let us make and sell stuff

Another case in point is the mask shortage. People have been routinely using N95 masks even when they don't need them. But manufacturers can't just sell N95 masks to hospitals. This is a lawsuit indemnity matter which now means that some of the red tape is out of the way. But it's one of countless examples of blocks, obstacles, and grit in the gears of America's industrial machine. And why we're moving forward so slowly in response to the problem.

What was once a mighty industrial machine that could roll countless tanks and planes off the assembly line in WW2 is now a bunch of arrangements, legislative roadblocks, and lobbied deals that have to be greased for anything to move forward.

President Trump is trying to get some production moving.

Hanes clothing company is retrofitting factories to make masks to combat the aggressive spread of novel coronavirus, President Donald Trump announced at a press conference Saturday. The company later confirmed it was pairing with the government to make N95 masks for health care workers on the front line of fighting the disease.

"By way of example, Hanes ... [is] retrofitting manufacturing capabilities in large sections of the plants to produce masks and they're in the process right now," Trump said at Saturday’s coronavirus task force briefing.

But everything still has to run the FDA minefield. And unless a bureaucratic obstacle has been removed, assume it's still there.