no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Big Agribusiness Opposes GMO Labeling Requirements

May 25th, 2012

Quoth Cathleen Enright, executive VP at the “Biotechnology Industry Organization”, a mouthpiece for dangerous chemical manufacturers like DuPont and Monsanto, who blessed the world with such known poisons as Agent Orange:

These folks [those who want more labeling requirements] are trying to use politics to do what they can’t accomplish at the supermarket, which is increase market share.

You disingenuous bitch:

Michael Talyor, former Monsanto lawyer & lobbyist, now FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods

Michael Talyor, former Monsanto lawyer & lobbyist, now FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods


What was that about using politics where you can’t win in the marketplace?

To suggest that “farmers” are upset about a grassroots effort for more labeling requirements for genetically modified foods is simply a gross misrepresentation. Not “farmers”, rather well-connected big businesses and factory “famrs” are upset about this, because their MO is always to use legislation to squash their smaller competitors.

Do Businessmen Make Good Politicians?

February 28th, 2012

I hear a lot of people talking about how Mitt Romney would make a good president because he has been a successful businessman, because he knows how to make profit and turn things around, etc. For example, Pat Burke, a local self-employed entrepreneur says,

You need to vote for the most electable conservative. … We want someone new, someone who has business experience. It’s the economy, economy, economy.

A businessman doesn’t know how to run government. That’s a common fallacy. “Electability” is a different topic, but let’s talk about that business acumen and whether it translates to politicking.

Mitt Romney: businessman or career politician?

Mitt Romney: businessman or career politician?

The right-wing idea of making government “more efficient” or more business-like whatever is a canard. They romanticize “business” and then suppose that because a certain man is a businessman (whose business usualy bears no resemblance to the highly idealized caricature they extoll) that he will be able to bend the apparatus of government more to their liking, more businesslike. But because there is such a divergence between our ideas about government & business, and the reality of government and business, that’s never going to happen.

Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught. — Honore de Balzac

The sort of “successful” businessmen typically presented as political hopefuls are not necessarily savvy entrepreneurs, allocating scarce resources efficiently across a truly competitive freed-market economy. Instead, they are merely those most capable of navigating the spiders’ webs of laws and regulations which they use to browbeat their competition, and they are the most connected to politicians and the lobbyists who convince the politicianss to privilege some at the expense of others.

If businessmen like Romney become “successful” politicians, it has nothing to do with their “business” acumen, it will be because they already know politics. He is successful at business because he negotiates politics and he negotiates politics by fucking some portion of the population in order to appease the others. If they do this long enough, eventually they’ll get to come full circle, retire, get a 7-figure job on K-Street and write those laws.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Why Does the U.S. Spend More on Health Care?

September 1st, 2010

The fact that the US spends more on health care is not particularly alarming. The NYT points out that, for the last 50 years the US has always spent more (as a % of GDP) on health care than the rest of the developed world. The problem is the velocity of change: health care expenditures are rising considerably faster in the US.

health care spending trend, OECD nations, 1960-2008

If you want to make something more affordable, you cannot continue to spend more money on it, nor can you continue policies which encourage bloat and bureaucracy. To be quite fair, there are dozens if not hundreds of factors that have contributed to the price increases.

  • The $100B/year tax subsidy given to corporations is pretty pervasive. Anyone who doesn’t work for a large corporation is at a disadvantage, unable to write off their health care expenses as tax-free — and more unfairly handcuffs people to their jobs.
  • The digital age has rapidly accelerated the development of new techniques and new technologies over the past few decades, but many of these procedures are extremely expensive (a problem that is exacerbated by the fact that many people view health care and insurance as a “Free Lunch”).
  • The technological advances have allowed us to live longer than ever before — but there is a price to pay. An aging population will always require more attention as the frailty of old age sets in: everything from reading glasses to new drugs and procedures to elder care and hospice.

But something else happened in the 80s that contributes to this problem: The AMA, an evil cartel the sole purpose of which is to extract the highest possible monopoly rents for its member doctors, with the collusion of congress, began restricting the number of new and potential doctors, in spite of an obviously aging population.

The marketplace doesn’t determine how many doctors the nation has, as it does for engineers, pilots and other professions. The number of doctors is a political decision, heavily influenced by doctors themselves…

The United States stopped opening medical schools in the 1980s because of the predicted surplus of doctors.

— via USAToday

The moratorium on new medical schools was not overturned until 2002 when the damage was already well underway. Thirty-ish years later, despite spending more, the US has fewer doctors, fewer nurses, and fewer hospital beds per capita than the OECD average [source: pdf].

This problem is going to take years to fix. I pointed out the metaphysical problem last time: there is already a shortage problem, and it’s only going to get worse if someone pronounces that medical care (provided by whom? at what costs?) will be an American birthright. A shiny new label that says “Universal Single Payer Awesome Health Care America Fuck Yeah!” isn’t going to work, the entire “system” is broken, and rotten to the core.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics