Incompetent governments are typical, but Holy Shit!, what’s wrong with the White House (True News – Der Trumpkof lies out of both sides of his mouth, and his ass)? The states are just as bad, the local municipalities even more so.
Before COVID-19 hit the US like a tsunami, I was involved in helping to source PPE supplies for some foreign governments. Dealing with the vulture import/export guys was eye-opening. Then again, one could admire them turning on a dime when there was lots of bucks to be made. The government procurement people were all basically comatose.
When the United States was on the uptick we pivoted into reaching out to our government officials to offer a helping hand and to do our best to keep the pricing affordable. A $2.75 N95 facemask now sells to government procurement staffers for $7.50. This doesn’t take in the air freight that has to occur because NOTHING is left stateside. (That’s not true, I know of a 100,000 stash in the Midwest waiting for a buyer to put cash on the barrel.) Waiting for a ship from China is a minimum of two weeks to the West Coast.
Now it’s time to name the names. The Dept of Homeland Security told a third party sourcing on behalf of an authorized US government vendor that US policy is they will not buy any PPE goods from China. Period,
no exceptions. (Ventilators anyone?) The Chinese government told more than one manufacturer we are negotiating with that they were not to sign contracts with American companies/governments nor ship anything to the United States.
Two weeks ago we agreed to team up with an individual who has minority vendor status with the US government and a handful of states. He met with the Governor of New Jersey and was told they had no need for the PPE supplies we were offering. 2 days later they came back begging for everything we had. The 100 million N95 facemasks we had access to in the US for $2.80 were by then no longer available. This individual offered them to New Jersey for $5.35 and then told us his commission was 25% of the sale price. By then, the market rate on N95s were up to $4.40. What shit did New Jersey pull? The “asked us” how many free units we’d be willing to “donate” to them. Mafia tactics 101. Fuck you.
New York State is even worse. Andy Cuomo, who I’ve known since he ran his father’s 1982 Gubernatorial campaign and came up for the slur “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo” to attack Ed Koch (I worked on that campaign, and yes he was closeted) is begging & pleading at his press conferences that he’s desperate for PPE supplies, especially ventilators. New York State started paying $25,000 for ventilators and have bid them up to $45,000. We have been trying to get through his door as we have the ventilators he is buying at $16,400, $25,000, $33,000, $45,000, $52,000 and $60,000. What does New York State want you to do if you’re not a political crony? Go to a website and fill out a bunch of details INCLUDING the name of your manufacturer/supplier and how to reach them. They plan to end run the small guy and go directly to their source. On the streets of New York we take a baseball bat to someone’s head for attempting that.
New York City is just as incompetent. We are in a state of emergency and all the offices close at 5P Monday thru Friday and are not open on weekends. The Mayor’s Office switchboard routes you directly to 311. What do they tell you? You got it, fill out a form on a website and give them your manufacturer/supplier contact info. I left a message at the NYC Dept of Health earlier today telling them that in two hours 25,000 ventilators we got a price locked in for $20,000 if sold directly to a municipality would go on to the open market. All they would have to do is issue a Letter Of Interest on letterhead and we could freeze that sale for 48 hours until the payment is made. Six hours later no return phone call. People are going to die (I have friends with COVID-19 and a sister-in-law who is an emergency room nurse). Who should we be blaming? Make your decision come November if the Idiot-in-Chief doesn’t declare martial law and cancel the Presidential election.
You would think maybe some of the other states and municipalities are on the ball. Nope. We offered 50,000 N95 facemasks to a Southwest hospital at $3.25. Nine hours later they still couldn’t pull the trigger on the Letter Of Interest. By then the masks were sold. We called them when we found out immediately with a backup supplier who would airlift them from an Asian country (not China) for $4.40. They accused us of lying to them and trying to price gouge. Price gouging? I would have sold them to the middlemen import/export vultures at $4.00 and they would have flipped them to the Feds for $5.85.
I reached out to someone in the Midwest whose best friend works for a hospital network and is trying to source PPE supplies that we had 1,000 ventilators sitting in a warehouse in China for $15,500 that would go on the open market Monday at 9A (this was Saturday night). We heard from the hospital network on Tuesday. The ventilators all sold out by 12N on Monday, including an order for 100 units paid for in cash by a small South American country.