An Ode to Capitalism…..

Source: Drugmakers have paid $8 billion in fraud fines – USATODAY.com.

The nation’s largest drugmakers have paid at least $8 billion in fines for repeatedly defrauding Medicare and Medicaid over the past decade, but they remain in business with the federal government because they are often the sole suppliers of critical products, records show.

This is one of those cases where “you can’t live with them can’t live without them”. Drug companies definitely have improved the quality of life for all of us. We should all be thankful that they are around. But greed, that seems almost ingrained in the capitalist process pollutes their contributions to society. I am sure that as usual  the fines are a small fraction of what the companies raked in profits. When you can easily make a million bucks by “misreporting” what you provide and in the future only pay $50,000 fine, fraud become an unwritten part of your business plan.

My Republican friends are constantly saying government is impeding the “free market” and all we have to do is to free them from regulations and any government intrusions and our economy will flourish beyond imagination. But to those of us who are less naive know that at capitalism’s core is greed and we also know that greed without limits is a deadly proposition.

Contrary to what my Republican friends think I am a firm believer in the capitalist system but a critical part of that system is someone to protect us from the greed of the primary players. We rational people look to our government representatives to do that job for us via regulations.  If no one reigned in the overwhelming obsession of profits they would soon bring down our country instead of rising it above imagination. Just look at Greece as an example.

We depend on  the checks and balances of our government to protect us from power abuses within our democracy. We also depend on our regulators to protect us from the abuses of our capitalist system. Anyone who thinks that unfettered capitalism is a good thing just hasn’t learned the many lessons in our past history. You need look no further than four years ago to see what  stripping regulations did to our financial system and the resulting costs laid on each of us taxpayers.  If that doesn’t convince you then go back to the 1980s and see an almost exact same thing happen to our savings and loan industry.  Oh, by the way it was also a Republican administration, namely Mr. Reagan,  who bailed out the S&Ls. Why we seem to make the same deregulation mistakes over and over again is a mystery to me.

But what do I know…