Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, May 6, 2010 12:31 am

What was at stake

Filed under: I want my money back.,We're so screwed — Lex @ 12:31 am
Tags: ,

Roll Call is reporting that the health-care bidness spent $876 million to lobby Congress during the debate over health-care reform — roughly from when Congress convened in January 2009 to March of this year, when a bill was enacted.

I think I’ve said before that the most profitable investment a corporation can make in this country is buying politicians. Jon Walker explains why:

After watching the health care reform fight, I can assure you that the money was well spent. Proper reform that would have provided for true universal health care and brought our health care costs down to a level similar to the rest of the industrialized world would have reduced the revenues of many health care industries by roughly 20-50%.

Just take, for example, the drug makers and their powerful association, PhRMA. They spent $253 million on the health care fight according to the article. As a result, they managed to keep out drug re-importation and direct Medicare drug price negotiation, and were able to add very long exclusivity periods for biologics. A very conservative estimate would be that any of these three changes alone would have saved the government and consumers — in other words, cost the drug makers — $100 billion over the next decade. You could safely conclude that the drug makers will probably get roughly 100,000% return on their lobbying investment.

If you don’t think corporate money has a corrosive effect on our politics and public policy, the medical industrial complex has successfully placed a nearly billion-dollar bet that you are wrong.

This is why the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling was so horribly misbegotten.

Advertisements

6 Comments

  1. Lex,
    How many Republicans voted for that health care deal? It was Obama that cut the deal. How about the community hospitals numbering 5,800 getting stifling restrictions placed on physician owned hospitals numbering 260. 72% of the lobbying funds went to Democrats, and free enterprise was crushed. What was at stake was personal freedom and economic freedom. Basically what the congress has said is that you have to buy a PC and Apples are out.

    Comment by Jon A Firebaugh — Thursday, May 6, 2010 3:47 pm @ 3:47 pm

  2. “This is why the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling was so horribly misbegotten.”

    Wait a minute Lex, in yesterdays post you championed Free Speech as meaning anything goes, and I’m ok with that. But apparently, if I own stock in an enterprise, and some left wing wacko socialist decides he wants to nationalize my company (GM) and I want the company to lobby against such nonsense that’s not proper?
    That’s a hypocritical stance based on your rationalization that corporations are not individuals. Yesterday YOU were fine with LARRY FLYNT PUBLICATIONS or THE ONION saying or publishing whatever they want and loved the idea that all speech is protected but today….um just not some poor sap’s company based upon the fact that it is incorporated.

    Comment by Jon A Firebaugh — Thursday, May 6, 2010 4:11 pm @ 4:11 pm

  3. Jon, this isn’t strictly a Dems-vs-Reps thing. BOTH sides were complicit in killing comprehensive reform in favor of what we got, which, as I’ve said previously, was better than the status quo but certainly nowhere approaching GOOD. This wasn’t about “personal freedom and economic freedom,” it was about rent-seeking.

    Comment by Lex — Friday, May 7, 2010 3:53 pm @ 3:53 pm

  4. As for your “free speech” comment, please explain to me exactly what the hell point you’re trying to make.

    If you own stock in a corporation, you AS AN INDIVIDUAL are perfectly free to spend as much money as you like arguing that that corporation shouldn’t be nationalized, and so is every other stockholder. Your rights are in no way compromised.

    And the idea that a corporation is not a person is not a “rationalization.” The Framers knew perfectly well what corporations were and could have granted them the same rights as human persons had they so chosen. In fact, most of them distrusted corporations and never intended for them to become as powerful as they have. They certainly never intended for corporations to be able to spend on behalf of political candidates at levels that would swamp the giving of individuals.

    Moreover, the idea that money = speech is an epistemic cowpie and the sign of an unserious thinker. The fact that a majority of justices ruled in Buckley v. Valeo that money = speech is like a majority of the justices ruling that the sky is magenta with blue polka dots (or, less hypothetically, that an innocent man who was nonetheless convicted and executed got a fair trial): It may henceforth be law, but it’s the kind of ridiculousity that undermines respect for the law.

    Money in a political context can be used to create speech, it can be used to buy an audience for that speech or it can be used for purposes unrelated to speech. Only one of those categories merits constitutional protection, but current law treats them all alike.

    Comment by Lex — Friday, May 7, 2010 4:07 pm @ 4:07 pm

  5. It’s amazing how anyone who doesn’t agree with you can’t be a serious thinker. LOL…. attack the messenger rather than the message.

    Below is a list briefs for both the appellant (Citizens United) and the appellee (US Government)
    There were some other briefs not specific to either party.

    The ACLU, Judicial Watch, and the AFL-CIO came in on the side of Citizens United, but I’m sure you don’t think there are any SERIOUS THINKERS there.
    34 or so briefs for the appellant and 16 or so for the appellee.

    Your quote: ” In fact, most of them distrusted corporations and never intended for them to become as powerful as they have. They certainly never intended for corporations to be able to spend on behalf of political candidates at levels that would swamp the giving of individuals.”

    And they never intended the Federal government to become as powerful as it is, and NEVER envisioned the confiscatory nature of the Treasury and the IRS.

    Of course you think all the SERIOUS THINKERS were on the side of the MIND CONTROL faction of the government. The real amazing thing is that 4 “SERIOUS THINKERS” on the Supreme Court voted against free speech. I guess we’ll never see Ruth Bader Ginsberg writing that opinion in THE ONION.

    Your opinion of this Supreme Court Ruling exposes the true nature of Left Wing America:

    You don’t think the public is as smart as you and that they are unable to make rational decisions. You want to control the message. Shame on you.

    Appellant

    Brief of Amicus Curiae Alliance Defense Fund
    Brief of Amicus Curiae American Civil Liberties Union
    Brief of Amicus Curiae American Civil Rights Union
    Brief of Amicus Curiae AFL-CIO
    Brief of Amicus Curiae American Justice Partnership
    Brief of Amici Curiae California Broadcasters Association
    Brief Amicus Curiae of California First Amendment Coalition
    Brief of Amici Curiae Campaign Finance Scholars
    Brief of Amici Curiae Cato Institute
    Brief of Amici Curiae Center for Competitive Politics
    Brief of Amici Curiae Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
    Brief of Amici Curiae Fidelis Center
    Brief of Amici Curiae Former FEC Commissioners
    Brief of Amicus Curiae Free Speech Defense & Education Fund
    Brief of Amicus Curiae Institute for Justice
    Brief of Amicus Curiae Judicial Watch
    Brief for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in Support of Appellant and Reversal of Austin V. Michigan Chamber of Commerce in Support of Appellant on Supplemental Question
    Brief of Amicus Curiae NRA
    Brief of Amicus Curiae Pacific Legal Foundation
    Brief of Amicus Curiae Reporters Committee
    Brief Amicus Curiae for Senator Mitch McConnell in Support of Appellant
    Brief Amici Curiae of Seven Former Chairmen and One Former Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission
    Brief of Amicus Curiae US Chamber of Commerce
    Brief of Amici Curiae Wyoming Liberty Group, et al.
    Appellee

    Brief Amicus Curiae of American Independent Business Alliance
    Brief Amici Curiae of Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21, Common Cause, U.S. PIRG, Americans for Campaign Reform, League of United Latin American Citizens and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund in Support of Appellee
    Brief Amici Curiae of the Center for Independent Media, Calitics.com, Eyebeam, Zak Exley, Laura McGann, and Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
    Brief Amici Curiae of Center for Political Accountability and the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School
    Brief Amicus Curiae of Committee for Economic Development
    Brief Amicus Curiae of DNC
    Brief Amicus Curiae of Justice at Stake
    Brief Amicus Curiae of League of Women Voters
    Brief Amici Curiae of Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy; Women’s International League for Peace & Democracy; Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County, Shays2: The Western Massachusetts Committtee on Corporations & Democracy; and the Clements Foundation
    Brief of Public Good in Support of Appellee on Supplemental Question
    Brief Amici Curiae of Norman Ornstein
    Brief Amici Curiae of Rep. Chris Van Hollen. David Price, Michael Castle, and John Lewis
    Brief Amici Curiae of Senator John McCain
    Brief Amici Curiae of The Sunlight Foundation
    Merits Briefs
    Brief for Appellant Citizens United
    Brief for Appellee United States of America
    Reply Brief for Appellant Citizens United
    Amicus Briefs
    Brief for the Foundation for Free Expression in Support of Appellant
    Brief for the CATO Institute in Support of Appellant
    Brief for the Committee for Truth in Politics in Support of Appellant
    Brief for the Center for Competitive Politics in Support of Appellant
    Brief for the Alliance Defense Fund in Support of Appellant
    Brief for the Wyoming Liberty Group and the Goldwater Institute in Support of Appellant
    Brief for the United States Chamber of Commerce in Support of Appellant
    Brief for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Support of Appellant
    Brief for the Institute for Justice in Support of Appellant
    Brief for the American Civil Rights Union in Support of Appellant
    Brief for the Center for Political Accountability and the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research in Support of Appellee
    Brief for Senator John McCain, Senator Russell Feingold, former Representative Christopher Shays, and former Representative Martin Meehan in Support of Appellee

    Comment by Jon A Firebaugh — Friday, May 7, 2010 7:36 pm @ 7:36 pm

  6. Well, let’s see: argument to authority, argument ad hominem, but no real grappling with the facts or my logic.

    Your point about the Framers’ attitude toward income taxes is debatable. Hell, let’s say for the sake of argument that it’s true. What you’re overlooking is that unlike the legal standard laid out in the Citizens United ruling, the IRS is the result of the very process of constitutional amendment laid out in the Constitution. If Congress had amended the Constitution to give corporations more rights and fewer obligations than individuals, and three-fourths of state legislatures had voted to ratify, I wouldn’t like it, but I would certainly accept it.

    Unfortunately, in the Citizens United case, John Roberts’s majority ordered up briefs on issues that neither side raised at trial or on appeal, for the specific purpose of overturning a century-old legal precedent that it didn’t like without going through the bothersome process of, you know, representative government and all. Tell me, Jon, while you’re tossing around the silly notion that I’m some sort of left-winger, does that strike you as conservatism?

    Comment by Lex — Friday, May 7, 2010 8:45 pm @ 8:45 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: