jump to example.com

Say the words, Nick: Say the words!

Kevin CarsonSupport this author on Patreon
economic-forecast-headerAt Reason, Nick Gillespie (“How to Build a Better Epi-Pen — or Something Totally Different That’s Much Better,” Sept. 4) argues — correctly — that Mylan’s EpiPen price-gouging is enabled by government regulations. He cites fellow Reason writer Scott Shackelford’s earlier article (“Want to Reduce the Price of Epipens? Approve Some Competition!” Aug. 25) showing how FDA regulations are specifically tailored to Mylan’s product specifications so as to give it a de facto monopoly on the EpiPen. This enables Mylan to mark up the price of an EpiPen to about $300, compared to the actual ten cents worth of epinephrine in it.Gillespie also points out that “Mylan’s path to monopoly pricing in EpiPens has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with laissez-faire economics. The approval process isn’t just long and expensive, it also opens things up to politics.” Well, that’s true as far as it goes. Of course just about the whole structure of the capitalist system as it’s existed for the past five hundred years — not to mention the monopoly capitalist system we’ve had for the past 150 or so — has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with laissez-faire economics.” Things were “opened up to politics” a long time ago, starting with land enclosures, mercantile war, colonial conquest and the slave trade.

And in pointing out all this, Gillespie can’t resist mentioning how refreshing it is for Mylan’s CEO to admit “I am a for-profit business. I am not hiding from that.” If he finds it so refreshing to hear a CEO say he’s in business to make money, he’d positively love former Archer Daniel Midlands CEO Dwayne Andreas, who not only admitted that he was in business to make money but also uttered the usually unspoken understanding of how large corporations actually make the great bulk of that money: “The competitor is our friend; the customer is our enemy. The only place you’ll find one grain of anything on the free market is in Fourth of July speeches.”

But we have yet to come to the real howler: “Mylan isn’t taking advantage of customers. It is simply working a political system to its own advantages.” Holy Moly! Take a minute to let this sink in. “This isn’t a square. It’s simply a geometrical figure with four equal sides.”

Now, at this point I need to insert a few comments on the concept of “crony capitalism,” as it’s used by the Libertarian Right. It’s something that almost all right-libertarians concede the existence of, and object to, in principle. They just have a hard time recognizing it in any actual case. The stuff they love the most is like a laundry list of crony capitalist abuses: Most “privatization” schemes, charter schools, governor-appointed city Emergency Managers, corporate managed “free trade zones” created by eminent domain seizures of peasant land, ad nauseam. If the Ex-Im Bank and flood insurance for beach houses didn’t exist, right-libertarians would have to invent them just to have a couple of real-world examples of “crony capitalism” on hand to prove their opposition isn’t entirely rhetorical.

But look — here is a case where Gillespie is actually describing, and condemning, a case of crony capitalism. Everything he says about FDA regulations being tailored to enable Mylan to price-gouge customers is entirely correct (although he leaves out drug patents, which are the biggest state aid to drug industry rent-extraction of all). But even here, he still can’t overcome a knee-jerk impulse to defend big business!

Even when a right-libertarian devotes an entire article to describe HOW big business is using “crony capitalism” to rip people off, actually saying “Big Business is ripping people off” is harder for him to say than for the Fonz to say “I was wr… I was wro… I was wruh-oh-ung…”

Let me spell it out for you, Nick, in simple, easy-to-understand steps: 1) Mylan is taking advantage of customers by charging an enormous monopoly markup on EpiPens; 2) Mylan lobbies the government to create a rigged monopoly market so it can take advantage of its customers in this way.

Look, I can understand if you’re not ready to make the full leap to generalizing that big business works through the state to guarantee profits, or that the state is (in a phrase much better than I can come up with) “the executive committee of the ruling class.” I understand. You’re a right libertarian. You people have been defending the power of big business for a long time. So, baby steps.

Say it with me, Nick: “Mylan, a large, powerful corporation, is acting through the state to take advantage of its customers.” There, was that so hard?

   
Discussion
 
Highlights

Street Knowledge with Chris Graham: Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Cliff Hyra

Chris Graham interviews Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Cliff Hyra.

Another new poll gives Northam big lead in Virginia governor race

One Virginia governor race poll released yesterday had Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie tied.

Poll: Trump unpopular in Virginia

President Donald Trump is well under water among Virginia voters, according to new poll results released by the University of Mary Washington.

The Petty Hearts bring Tom Petty tribute to Wayne Theatre on Sept. 22

Tom Petty tribute band The Petty Hearts are coming to the Wayne Theatre on Friday, Sept. 22.

Virginia Chili, Blues n' Brews Festival set for Saturday

The Virginia Chili, Blues n' Brews Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Saturday in Downtown Waynesboro.

Events Calendar

Upcoming events in the Shenandoah Valley, Central Virginia and statewide from the Augusta Free Press Events Calendar. Don't see your event listed? Email augustafreepress2@gmail.com.

UVA alum Chris Long to donate first six NFL game checks to fund scholarships

The Chris Long Foundation announced today that Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long will donate his first six game checks of the 2017 NFL season to fund two scholarships in his hometown of Charlottesville.

Game Preview: VMI, Chattanooga look to get back on track on Saturday

VMI knew the 2017 football season was going to be a rebuilding year. Chattanooga, coming off a playoff appearance in 2016, had its usual high expectations.

Game Preview: UVA has a chance at Boise State

Vegas and the ESPN Power Index don’t give UVA much of a chance to win at Boise State on Friday night.

Street Knowledge with Chris Graham: First look at UVA-Boise State

Chris Graham and Scott German take a first look at the UVA-Boise State game set for Friday night.

Web Design, Marketing

Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including web design, TV/radio, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation.

   
Recent Posts
   
Your One-Stop Media Shop
Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including web design, magazine/brochure, TV/radio, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation.
  • Web Design

    You want a new website, but don’t have the first clue as to how to build one. That’s our job. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design and content development. Get your business online for as little as $1,299.
    Learn more about AFP Web Design services.
  • Graphic Design

    The staff at Augusta Free Press Publishing has been recognized by the Virginia Press Association for excellence in layout and design. Whether you need a fresh business card design, rack card, ad, flyer or full magazine design, we can help with all your graphic-design needs.
    Learn more about AFP Graphic Design services.
  • Marketing

    Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.
    Learn more about AFP Marketing services.