Thursday, August 6, 2009


I have to say that the ten-dimensional chess arguments are starting to wear a bit thin at this point.  The front page of today's NYT sums up just about everything wrong with our government.

Pressed by industry lobbyists, White House officials on Wednesday assured drug makers that the administration stood by a behind-the-scenes deal to block any Congressional effort to extract cost savings from them beyond an agreed-upon $80 billion.

“We were assured: ‘We need somebody to come in first. If you come in first, you will have a rock-solid deal,’ ” Billy Tauzin, the former Republican House member from Louisiana who now leads the pharmaceutical trade group, said Wednesday. “Who is ever going to go into a deal with the White House again if they don’t keep their word? You are just going to duke it out instead.”

The pressure from Mr. Tauzin to affirm the deal offers a window on the secretive and potentially risky game the Obama administration has played as it tries to line up support from industry groups typically hostile to government health care initiatives, even as their lobbyists pushed to influence the health measure for their benefit.

When did our government become just a way to negotiate with industry?  How did they get put in charge of writing the laws?  And when did it become so commonplace to have former house members heading up lobby groups? 

What the fuck is Obama thinking?  The market is supposed to be where companies compete with one another, not the floor of congress.  If Obama doesn't change this, he will be a complete failure, no matter what else he does.  There's no way to soften that statement.  If there's anything we should learn from the last year, it's that we can all suffer tremendously from the way corporations capture our political process.  If we don't get this one fundamental thing moving in the right direction, I can guarantee that we will end up exactly where every third world country controlled by a few businessmen ends up -- broke.

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