The Old Man On The Mountain

A View From the Backwoods of NH

We Never Learn

So, as I was listening to the news recently, two stories caught my attention – one that’s been going on for a while now, the epi-pen manufacturer’s (surprise) 500% markup on their product and failure to disclose the actual dollar profit to Congress, and a new one, Morgan Stanley’s (surprise again) unethical sales contest (as accused by the State of Massachusetts).

That this should surprise anyone is beyond my comprehension. Let’s see, have there been any recent precedents set for this type of behavior? Wells Fargo was running a scam (with other people’s money no less) so that the employees could reap HUGE bonuses. But this couldn’t be so, right? I mean, after all the new banking regulations and “checks and cross-checks” that were put into place following the collapse of Wall Street almost a decade ago (were, once again, banks were paying HUGE bonuses, with other people’s money, to screw OTHER banks) this couldn’t happen AGAIN, could it?

Sure it could – especially when, after screwing depositors out of billions of dollars in fees, the bank was slapped with a RECORD SETTING $180 million dollar fine. It’s like having your kid steal a thousand dollars from your wallet and punishing him by making him give $20 back. So why wouldn’t Morgan Stanley (or anyone else) play those odds? Looks like the current administration really did a bang-up job of creating and enforcing laws to prevent those that profit from hard working Americans by playing “fast and loose” with their investments.

And how about Mylan, and their 500% markup on epi-pens? Surely “Obamacare” made sure that no one could hold people hostage over a “life-or-death” drug. I mean, wasn’t that the whole purpose, to ensure that “Every American” has access to AFFORDABLE healthcare? And there couldn’t be a precedent set for this as well, could there? Sadly, there was – Martin Shkreli, the chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, cranked up the price for his company’s AIDS drug Daraprim by a whopping 5000%, from $13.50 to $750 overnight. Why – because he could.

While the government tells us that it is protecting us by passing laws designed to “prevent” our being screwed over or sucked dry, the reality is that’s exactly what’s happening. The banking industry is taking “our” money and playing roulette with it. The only problem is, when they win, they keep the winnings – and when they lose, people’s savings are decimated. The only difference between today and 2007 is that this time the banks KNOW the government will cover their losses – you know, the “too big to fail” scenario.

And don’t even get me started on the pharmaceutical companies. These people have been putting the screws to Americans for years, with no regulation, even finding “new” diseases to match their products. One of the biggest problems facing New Hampsire right now (and many other states) is the addiction to opioids. What a surprise, huh? Opium being addictive – pharmaceutical companies making opioid products (instead of finding an alternative, non-addictive product). And I’ll bet they’re even making a killing on some kind of pill to ween folks off of their addiction.

Of course, the government’s solution is to find the “dealers” of these products and shut them down – you know, law enforcement’s continued “war on drugs”. What was it that Einstein’s credited as saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. And who’s going to be stuck paying for all this? The taxpayers, that’s who – not the pharmaceutical companies that started all this (although I can’t see why, if the Tobacco Industry could be sued for billions, why the Pharmaceutical Industry couldn’t be as well).

So there you have it – two of America’s major industries hard at work to help part YOU from your hard earned money. Brought to you by the Federal Government – always keeping a watchful eye – until lobbyists pay us to look the other way…