There’s a theory among some on the left that if we throw enough money at a problem, we can solve it. Homelessness would disappear if we only had a “Marshall Plan” that would spend the money and devote the resources to “solve” the problem. Aside from the fact that homelessness is a multifaceted set of problems that have resisted solutions for 50 years, maybe if we just doubled or tripled government spending on the problem, we could defeat it.

Now, Joe Biden wants to revive one of the worst ideas of the Obama administration — a “moonshot” to address cancer. Biden thinks we can cut the U.S. death rate from cancer in half over the next quarter-century. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed and 609,360 people will die of cancer diseases in 2022.

That’s “diseases” in the plural. There are more than 100 kinds of cancer in the medical database — 14 of which are the most common. That’s at least 100 different cancers attacking the human cell. Science realized around the time of the first moonshot that there would never be a “silver bullet” — one treatment or drug that would cure every cancer. So the challenge will be to find drugs, therapies, and treatments for every form of cancer in order to cut the death rate in half.

Fox News:

Biden, who shared the stage with Kennedy’s daughter, U.S. ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy, and her son, John Schlossberg, highlighted the enormous progress made in the last half-century since President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act but lamented that it still remains the second-highest killer of people in the U.S. after heart disease.

“Cancer does not (discriminate) between red and blue. It doesn’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Beating cancer is something we can do together,” Biden said told the crowd at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

As vice president, Biden was put in charge of President Obama’s cancer “moonshot.” It would be hard to say that his efforts contributed to the momentum already in motion from dozens of research institutions, universities, and hospitals that are fighting a daily battle against cancer.

But Biden did set up his own cancer charity. The Biden Cancer Initiative was created in 2017 to help find a cure and “solutions to accelerate progress in cancer prevention.” The charity raised more than $4 million but has found it difficult to find any cures for cancer.

That may be because The Biden Cancer Initiative has spent most of its money on staff salaries and travel.

Daily Mail:

The tax filings showed that The Biden Cancer Initiative spent $56,738 on conferences and $59,356 on travel expenses in the 2017 tax filings.

Those numbers rose the next year with conference costs skyrocketing to a staggering $742,953 for conferences and $97,149 on travel.

The boxes indicating grant distributions remained blank, suggesting no money was put forth by the charity.

Biden wants to set up Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the “goal of this entity is to improve the U.S. government’s capabilities to speed research that can improve human health — to improve our ability to prevent, detect, and treat a range of diseases including cancer, infectious diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and many others.”

Biden plans to “mobilize the entire government” and require an “all hands on deck approach” to cancer issues. Most of this is political window dressing (a “cancer cabinet”?). Keying on prevention is good, and so is urging early diagnosis. But goals like “To speed progress against the most deadly and rare cancers, including childhood cancers” and “To learn from all patients” are nothing more than political pablum that calls into question the administration’s seriousness about the issue.

Simply adding zeroes to the dollar amount for cancer research funding by the government isn’t going to cure anyone. The money has to be directed to the most promising avenues of research — something the government has shown itself to be incapable of doing.

Joe Biden is not “addressing” the problem of cancer deaths. He’s addressing the political and public relations aspects of medicine: the notion that more money and more attention from the government will automatically lead to the desired results — a lower death rate.

We all wish it were that easy.

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