Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, January 10, 2013 7:56 pm

Quote of the Day

From Steve M. at No More Mr. Nice Blog:

… we think we live in a democracy, but mostly we just watch the rich fight. We just get lucky when a few of them fight on our side.

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.

Monday, December 28, 2009 9:09 pm

Odds and ends for 12/27

Hmm, what else can we screw up in a way that screws poor people worst? Hey, I know! The estate tax!

John Fox can have another year if he wants: So say the Panthers, although they’re not talking any kind of contract extension with him now (he has a year left). I have mixed feelings about this, upon which I’ll elaborate in a separate post.

Utterly un-self-aware: Jonah Goldberg presumes to pass judgment on someone else’s competence.

Utterly un-self-aware, cont.: Before Republicans criticize Democrats on national-security issues, they need to take a few history lessons, starting with the 9/11 commission report.

Related memo to Joe Lieberman, on the off-chance that he can read: How ’bout before we start a third war, let’s take a minute and figure out how this would-be airplane bomber got a visa? (Newsweek offers the strong beginning of an explanation.) Because the purview of the Senate Homeland Security Committee you chair does not extend to foreign policy or strategic (let alone tactical) military planning. You ass.

At least one legitimate criticism can be leveled at the Department of Homeland Security, and John Cole levels it.

One thing liberals applaud Obama on: Tightening restrictions not only on lobbying, but also on when and how ex-industry officials can go to work for the government, so that agencies aren’t “captured” by the companies they’re supposed to regulate. Watch that change get undone the second a Republican retakes the White House.

Which is fine, except that I haven’t heard them come up with an alternative solution to the problem: Blue Dogs Bayh, Landrieu and Conrad say cap ‘n’ trade is DOA. Relatedly, chemicals from power plants in their states are killing trees in the mountains of mine.

Your tax dollars at work: Despite the recent removal of caps on taxpayer assistance to Fannie and Freddie, which already totals $111 billion, they’re resuming foreclosures next week. You’re welcome, guys.

Not just no, but, hell, no: Not content to throw women’s rights under the health-care bus, the evangelistas are now trying to get the failed policy of abstinence-only sex education incorporated into health-care reform. Guys, we tried your flavor of Teh Stoopid once already and got a big jump in unwed pregnancy to show for it. Go. Away.

Tremors: The last time Iran got this shaky, the Shah was ousted. That may or may not mean the current regime will fall. But it almost certainly means blood in the streets, much of it likely innocent. Great.

Antiterrorism 101, which means most current and former government officials probably haven’t read it: Spencer Ackerman: “It’s never sufficient just to observe that a terrorist group has a presence in Country X. We have to ask ourselves: what are the conditions that allowed for said terrorist group to take root? If we don’t, we simply can’t devise an effective strategy against the terrorist group; and we come close to guaranteeing that we’ll flail and make the situation worse.”

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