And Marijuana Remains Illegal

Sweet jeebus:

During one week in June Pfizer 1) agreed to pull its 10-year-old leukemia drug Mylotarg from the market because it caused more, not less patient deaths 2) Suspended pediatric trials of Geodon two months after the FDA said children were being overdosed 3) Suspended trials of tanezumab, an osteoarthritis pain drug, because patients got worse not better, some needing joint replacements (pattern, anyone?) 4) Was investigated by the House for off-label marketing of kidney transplant drug Rapamune and targeting African-Americans 5) Saw a researcher who helped established its Bextra, Celebrex and Lyrica as effective pain meds, Scott S Reuben, MD, trotted off to prison for research fraud 6) was sued by Blue Cross Blue Shield to recoup money it overpaid for Bextra and other drugs 7) received a letter from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) requesting its whistleblower policy and 8) had its appeal to end lawsuits by Nigerian families who accuse it of illegal trials of the antibiotic Trovan in which 11 children died, rejected by the Supreme Court. And how was your week?

I bet their stock went up that week, because the mavericks on Wall Street know to reward any company that will go to those lengths to make a profit. Of course, if we would just abolish the FDA, none of this would have happened because the first time one of Pfizer’s products killed someone, the market would punish them so brutally they would never do it again. That’s what I’ve learned at Reason magazine.








Debtors’ prisons

People underestimate just how much the glibertarian right likes the idea of a return to 18th century mores. Because if you put people in jail for having debts (via David Dayden), then people wouldn’t go into debt and the FREE MARKET would take care of the rest.

And, no, he’s not talking about AIG and Citigroup, as far as I can tell.

The guy in the video is the CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, an anti-Social Security Broder favorite. Peterson himself was head of the Council on Foreign relations for 22 years, which means he probably was responsible for hiring Amity Shlaes.

These are just some of the very serious people who dominate the economic debate in this country.








It can’t happen here

Bruce Bartlett brings up an interesting nightmare scenario for a Republican-controlled Congress:

To be sure, the debt limit has always been raised in time to prevent a default, although Treasury sometimes had to push the limits of the law to move money around to pay the government’s bills. However, I believe the game has changed because Republicans have become extremely bold in using the filibuster to make it extraordinarily difficult to pass any major legislation without at least 60 votes in the Senate.

Furthermore, a growing number of conservatives have suggested that default on the debt wouldn’t be such a bad thing. It is often said that default would lead to an instantaneous balanced budget because no one would lend to the U.S. government ever again. Therefore, spending would have to be cut to the level of current revenues.

Writing in Forbes last month, the Cato Institute’s John Tamny was enthusiastic about the prospects of default. Said Tamny, “It’s time we learn to love the idea of a U.S. default . . . For Americans to worry about a debt default is like the parent of a heroin addict fearing that his dealers will cease feeding the addiction.”

I don’t think that it’s likely that a Republican Congress would actually force a default, but they could certainly use the threat of forcing one to get their way on other matters. Serious economic minds like Charles Lane and Robert Samuelson would likely cheer them on as they held the country hostage.








She Came From France, She Had a Thirst for Knowledge

Episode 531 of the recurrent blogospheric wank-fest over the retirement age is going on, begun by the New York Times and facilitated by Sully. Here’s Veronique de Rugy:

The best option is to cut benefits. One way to do that is to raise the age of eligibility to at least 70 and then progressively increase it to track with life expectancy. This won’t be popular, but Americans’ dependency on government programs is less entrenched than that of Europeans.

I love the muted understatement of the phrase “this won’t be popular” — has this woman slept through every political campaign in the last twenty years? Also, too, a minimum retirement age was established in 1935 in the US, and in 1956 in the writer’s native country, France. That’s not a minor difference, it’s another generation of entrenchment.

“Fuck the poor” is an ever-popular political agenda, but I wish these glibertarians could at least exhibit a token effort while advancing it.