Is This Really Rational Thought?OK, I disagree with the premise. That doesn't make the editorial writer stupid. But for the Free Press to run thinking this sloppy, I just have to wonder how the writer and the editor make a living in their jobs. The article begins,
Anyone who still can't understand why health care reform should be the government's business need look no further than the pharmaceutical industry, which is raising its prices at the fastest rate in years despite an economic downturn that has pushed most consumer prices lower.It ends,
What federal lawmakers should take away from this is the necessity of giving the government broad authority to negotiate drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid recipients, just as large private insurers do. Economists are divided over how effective such reforms will be at reining in prices, but as current price trends show, what consumers pay for prescriptions is too important a cost driver to be left entirely to the private market.But inbetween these two paragraphs, it is written,
Pharmaceutical industry spokesmen cite the need to maximize profits on popular drugs whose patent protection is about to expire. But most outsiders believe drug makers are anticipating government regulations that may limit their ability to raise prices in the near future. Economists recall a similar spike in 2006, just before Congress agreed to subsidize prescriptions for tens of millions of Medicare recipients.So, according to this editorial, pharmaceutical companies are raising their prices in response to predicted government policies, which are going to interfere with their abilities to price their products as they see fit. That is neither your mother's nor Adam Smith's private market. What the Free Press is calling for is more government interference to solve problems created by previous government interference in the marketplace. But somehow, the government jumping in and distorting the market to the point that people can't afford their medicine is the fault of the "private market." That's a cycle (and a tactic to increase demands for more government) as old as governments. The problem is that we are taught to forget or ignore previous government episodes of big government screwing up the market in order to make us accept the next round of interference, which, with past experience as our guide, will only lead to more problems.
With the pharmaceutical industries one of the scapegoats du-jour, I suppose we can expect to see more "hard hitting" editorials exposing them for daring to make a profit in these times of economic turbulence . . . caused by whom? Oh yeah, a government that is out to solve all of our problems - at the cost of - greater and more numerous problems.