Democrats & Liberals Archives

Free Market Hypocrites

Their bluff has been called. The most ardent supporters of so-called free market capitalism have reared their hypocritical heads. Rather than allowing pharmaceutical companies to offer competitive prices thereby making it easier for those who need medications to pay for them, the loyalty shown by our congressional corporate lapdogs to their sugar daddies has proven once again that greed trumps all.

If other American corporations from other industries can claim to operate in a worldwide free market, why can the American pharmaceutical industry be allowed to deny patients the right to competitive choices? American auto makers and banks compete globally, and foreign companies in turn offer their products to the US. But Big Pharma seems to have special dispensation from having to participate in the very system Big Business maintains is infallible. Politicians on the right and left are showing their true colors; their loyalty to their bank accounts is stronger than their loyalty to a system they claim is too perfect to ever allow socialistic principles to corrupt.

If these elected public servants truly believe that an unbridled free market is the best possible system then why are they so willing to close the market when the product is medicine?

We are accustomed to forgoing American-made products (of which there are scarcely any) and buy foodstuffs, toys, cars, electronics, oil, and a myriad of other things from other countries, yet the one product that people need to live a decent life is allowed to be price gouged and dangled teasingly just out of range? The quashing of the Dorgan Amendment is all the proof anyone needs that our representatives do not represent the interest of the people. Instead, they represent their own interests, both politically and financially, at the cost of ignoring the free market they so adamantly defend.

It’s quite telling that the only people who refuse to discuss universal healthcare do so in defense of a system they are willing to circumvent when wads of cash mysteriously find their way into offshore bank accounts.

Posted by Michael Falino at December 12, 2009 1:38 AM
Comments
Comment #292522

Michael

We have never liked Harry Reid. We think he is a coward and a crook. Now you know why. From the article you linked:

“Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., temporarily halted Senate consideration of the health care bill after three days of inconclusive debate on an amendment by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and John McCain, R-Ariz., that would allow U.S. pharmacies and wholesalers to import drugs from Canada and other countries with safety standards comparable to those of the U.S.”

So John McCain is good; Harry Reid is bad. We could have told you that a long time ago.

Posted by: Christine at December 11, 2009 10:54 PM
Comment #292525

Harry Reid has never been anyone of great moral standing on my compass. He drips politician!

Posted by: Mike Falino at December 12, 2009 12:06 AM
Comment #292531

Christine, how partisan of you. You blamed Reid for halting consideration of the amendment. Yet the real problem evidently went right over your head in your zeal to zing Reid. From the same link

“The industry is so powerful in the halls of Congress and in its ability to buy advertising that its support was considered a key to passing a health care overhaul. That is why the White House earlier this year negotiated a controversial deal to limit the financial impact of the health bill on the drug industry in exchange for its support for the legislation.”

While McCain, who BTW voted against the 2003 modernization act, may be actually trying to get prescription drug priced down he may also be just trying to kill the whole health care bill, who knows? (BTW Reid also voted against the 2003 modernization act.)

The real problem here is the political bribery as free speech so inherent in our system today and so many repubs wouldn’t have it any other way. Micheal is spot on in his article, this is a great example of what the free market actually is and why it doens’t work for most of us today. Can’t blame Reid alone for that.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 12, 2009 10:26 AM
Comment #292534

j2t2

These things I know. The Democrats control the Senate. Reid is their leader. Reid squashed the amendment proposed by John McCain. I suppose their are others responsible too, but since Democrats hold a filibuster safe majority and they squashed an amendment proposed by a member of the Republican minority, I have to figure that Democrats and their leader Harry Reid (who I admit I have zero respect for anyway) are to blame.

I won’t speculate as to the number of Senators “bribed” in they way you say, except to say that a majority are Democrats and they control the Senate.

Posted by: Christine at December 12, 2009 10:53 AM
Comment #292544

It’s funny how in this instance someone who obviously supports Republicans cannot take a moment to stop blaming the Left for something that both sides are equally at fault for. This is a diagnoses of the corruption on both sides that is allowing the cancer of political corruption to destroy the lives of Americans who just want to live their lives with a little security.

This is not a partisan issue. And to say that John McCain is somehow the good guy in all of this is to seriously ignore the fact that he is yet another empty, morally devoid politician.

Posted by: Mike Falino at December 12, 2009 12:11 PM
Comment #292545

Mike

Sorry. I guess it is sort of like how Democrats cannot help bashing Bush.

During the time Republicans were in charge, we heard about how it was all their fault and how things would be better if we just elected Democrats. You cannot complain if we point out that this was not true.

You also imply - actually say outright - that the bluff of the free market proponents has been called. It is fair to point out that DEMOCRATS control the Senate. We are surprised that Democrats are characterized as the most ardent supporters of the free market.

So let’s just be 100% clear. The Democrats are in charge now, but the problems remain. You can argue that are no worse, but they certainly aren’t any better.

So what is your solution? Should we vote out the Democrats and hope we get a better crowd?

Posted by: Christine at December 12, 2009 12:28 PM
Comment #292554

Christine, the amendment was proposed by a dem and a repub according to the link provided by Michael.

“Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., temporarily halted Senate consideration of the health care bill after three days of inconclusive debate on an amendment by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and John McCain, R-Ariz., that would allow U.S. pharmacies and wholesalers to import drugs from Canada and other countries with safety standards comparable to those of the U.S.”

Secondly the dems have a majority in both the house and Senate but to say they control Congress is another matter. Reid, who a few years back represented me in the Senate, is to nice a guy to have control in the sense of being able to make the dems kowtow to authority like the repub leadership has been able to do with the repubs in the Senate. That is not necessarily a bad thing IMHO. When you add the fact that the dems have an Independent as well as enough conservatives in their ranks that side with repubs on a regular basis it makes it hard to agree with your analysis.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 12, 2009 2:14 PM
Comment #292557

j2t2

When the Republicans had a much smaller majority, Dems blamed them for everything. The Democrats control the Senate. If they are too poorly organized to run the show, they are just despicably weak and unfit to be in charge. In any case, it is a Democratic problem.

Posted by: Christine at December 12, 2009 2:32 PM
Comment #292558

Christine, are you implying that the only opposition to this amendment is from the Dems? Or that the proposition itself is somehow a Republican-only invention?

Do you think we should vote out the Dems and put the Repubs in charge? Is that your solution?

People continue to bash Bush because he deserves it, that cannot be disputed by any rational argument. I, however, am not letting Obama off the hook for anything that happens under his watch as nearly every Republican does with Bush. Whatever happens or doesn’t happen during a president’s tenure is directly related to them.

I’m curious how, when my article was about all the politicians holding up health care reform/progress are corrupt monsters, you seem to be trying your hardest to make it sound like a Democrat (which I’m not) is trying to blame the Republicans (which I’m not).

Why, when I never blamed either party solely, do you jump into the warm familiar embrace of partisanship and start pointing fingers at “the other side” when this is a problem of all our representatives not caring about the people they represent in the least?

I could just as easily ask the question “why doesn’t every single Republican come out publicly in support of this amendment when they are, without exception, supporters of denying any trace of socialistic principles be employed in our country? Shouldn’t they be the most ardent supporters of allowing an open free market?

Notice I did not do this…

Posted by: Mike Falino at December 12, 2009 2:58 PM
Comment #292559

Isn’t John McCain a Republican. Presumably he supported the amendment he proposed.

So let’s repeat - The Democrats are in charge now, but the problems remain. You can argue that are no worse, but they certainly aren’t any better. Do we agree on that? That would be the non-partisan statement.

Posted by: Christine at December 12, 2009 3:16 PM
Comment #292561

I certainly agree. But my point was that partisanship had no place in this thread. And simply because John McCain is supporting this amendment doesn’t mean the Republicans are off the hook.

Posted by: Mike Falino at December 12, 2009 3:30 PM
Comment #292564

I don’t completely disagree with this article, but this has nothing to do with hypocricy about free market capitalism. Drugs imported from overseas are cheaper because 1). foreign governments have placed price controls on them, or 2). they are being manufactured in places which do not observe US patents. In neither case is this a “free market” issue, just as it’s not a free market issue to have the right to buy pirated cds or dvds on a street corner.

The pharmaceutical industry has legitimate concerns about flooding the US market with knock-off products that they’ve spent millions to develop, test, and market. The “safety” issue they raise is something of a ruse, however, because that is the FDA’s problem, not theirs, and domestically produced drugs have been known to have some of the safety/quality control problems as their foriegn counterparts.

There are better ways to address this issue than just opening up the market to foreign drug imports, and I’d suggest that the place to start is reforming the patenting system for pharmaceuticals itself in some way that would benefit both consumers and the profit motive of pharmaceutical companies that they need to develop the drugs in the first place. I happen to think that the almost indefinite ability to renew patents is being abused, and when patents expire, domestic pharmaceutical companies should be allowed to compete with each other instead of being forced to compete with marginally regulated foreign producers. Consumers would then have greater choice, US companies and workers would still keep their jobs and enjoy their profits, and foreign companies would have fewer loopholes allowing them to undercut the American market.

Posted by: Phillip at December 12, 2009 3:45 PM
Comment #292606

Americans are already overmedicated.

“foodstuffs, toys, cars, electronics, oil, and a myriad of other things from other countries”

McDonalds is now the largest distributor of toys in the world, most of them connected to film promotions.

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