Why is the hardest question. When our children ask questions about how or when or where, the answers come easy. Why is harder. I thought about this on the way to work this morning when I saw a formation of geese flying. When my daughter was in the fourth grade, she asked me why, when geese fly, is one side of the V formation longer than the other? I thought it was a real question, and speculated about aerodynamics or taking turns. No, she said. It is because there are more geese on that side. Thats why.
I have been wondering why we are making cuts to prevention programs now. Amendment 35 cuts, federal cuts to CDC and NIH, and now real threats to the Prevention Trust Fund that was the centerpiece (for me) of the Affordable Care Act.
I think I know why. We are short sighted. We researchers are partly to blame. We have been so focused on preventing long-term illness that we have not translated those benefits adequately into short-term economic terms. Saving lives in the long term gets trumped by saving money in the short term. We should have known that. There are more geese on that side. That is why.
I am looking for an upbeat way to close this. I have no ideas. Maybe just thinking more about our tendencies for shortsightedness is where I should dwell for now, and perhaps useful answers may emerge later.