Sunday, February 25, 2024

Here’s How Joe Biden’s Plan To Put Baby Formula On Store Shelves Is Going

Last month, President Joe Biden announced a series of plans to put baby formula back on store shelves. With great fanfare, he invoked the Defense Production Act to spur the production of more baby formula. He also announced Operation Fly Formula which would use U.S. Air Force C-17s to fly baby formula in from overseas. So the United States is now reduced to a poor, Third World country begging for foreign aid.

Well to the surprise of no one who actually understands economics, these plans have not resulted in more baby formula appearing on store shelves.

From the Washington Times:

Despite government intervention, many families with infants are still desperately searching for their next formula can. They have had to rely on social media groups to learn when store shelves are restocked or to buy from people who are selling or trading a can or two.

Madisyn Pappion, who lives in Tampa, drove more than 80 miles on Sunday to secure two, 12-ounce cans of powdered Nutramigen, an infant formula designed for babies with milk allergies that has been difficult to find. 

Ms. Pappion has little choice but to embark on a near-daily hunt.

Her six-month-old daughter reacts with skin rashes and other serious allergy symptoms from milk-based formula. Her pediatrician advised against trying to substitute another non-milk brand for Nutramigen because the formulation is different.

The two cans Ms. Pappion secured on Sunday will last about six days.

“It’s scary, because what else can I feed her?” Ms. Pappion said.

Ms. Pappion belongs to about 10 “formula finder” pages on Facebook, where parents alert each other to newly stocked store shelves, or offer to sell, trade or give away hard-to-find formulas.

For a while, her baby was surviving on sample cans. 

“I haven’t been able to actually purchase it from a store,” Ms. Pappion said.

The Biden administration has decided to place the formula received from Operation Fly Formula on store shelves. Instead, it will be made available through a “distribution pipeline.” But states who deliver formula through their WIC programs report not receiving any formula.

“The federal government has not informed Florida on anything related to Operation Fly Formula, nor have they provided any updates as to where those shipments are going,” said Jeremy Redfern, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Health. 

The United States is the only wealthy country in the world that is suffering from a formula shortage. The easy solution would be to simply allow the importing of more baby formula from places like Canada and Mexico and everywhere else until domestic manufacturing can keep up.

But the Biden administration is instead committed to central planning and having the government decide who gets formula and when. Markets have proven themselves to be better distributors of resources than government bureaucrats.

The Biden administration needs to get out of the way of markets and let them sort this out. If it wanted to be helpful, it should support U.S. Senator Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) FORMULA Act, which eliminates regulations to allow the importing of formula from abroad.

But that’s not likely. The Biden administration is fundamentally opposed to free markets and committed to central planning and we’re seeing the predictable results of that.