Illustration by M. de Lipman

Illustration by M. de Lipman

What do the latest school campus killings in Oregon have to do with the price of meds these days?

Hint: At the risk of giving you the answer to the first riddle, what does Nero have in common with the U.S. Congress and what rhymes with riddle?

Depending on the news source, up to thirteen were killed and twenty were wounded. Coming on the heels of Columbine, Blacksburg, Newtown, Tucson, Aurora, Charleston, it seems like we are confronted with new instances of mass carnage every few months and nothing meaningful that I can see is being done about it.

Everyone—or at least everyone who depends on meds to get through their life, which includes virtually every senior citizen—knows that the cost of many drugs is prohibitively and indefensively expensive. Check out the latest story in The Week.


How about the NRA? Nope, they have nothing to do with the cost of meds.


How about the pharmaceutical industry? Nope, they have nothing to do with the easy availability of guns.


How about lobbyists? Do lobbyists have anything to do with the on campus mass carnage? Do they have anything to do with the mass carnage being visited on us at the local drugstore or medical facility?

You’re getting warmer. Lobbyists have a lot to do with both of these subjects, perhaps not the same lobbyists, but the industry of lobbyists to be sure.

The prevailing arguments of the NRA and their lobbyists are that guns don’t kill people. They assert the two oft-used cliché that people kill people. Give me a break, have you ever seen a gun walk up to a group of people and shoot them dead? Conversely, have you ever seen a demented person walk up to ten or twenty people and pummel them to death with her hands? Possible? Yes. Likely? No. Frequent? Hardly.

The NRA shouts the second amendment. The right to bear arms. And why is that? Because when then second amendment was adopted we were just coming off war with England. Guns were needed—THEN. And lots of people needed guns to put food on the table—THEN. How long has it been since you HAD to use a gun to feed your family. And for the few who perhaps do, they can apply for and obtain a gun permit. And do you really think there is a need to arm ourselves to prevent the government from declaring itself a dictatorship—TODAY? Perhaps those who do have stopped taking their meds, possibly because they can no longer afford them. Bad joke. Maybe.

The conventional rationale for overpriced drugs: We have to provide pharmaceutical companies with a sufficient ROI subsidy to justify their continuing research and development of new wonder drugs. Hogwash! If that were true, then drugs wouldn’t generally be available just over the border in Canada at generally about a quarter of the cost you have to pay here, and that’s after round trip shipping costs to send the drugs to Canada and to then send them back to consumers here.

Let’s get serious about the answers to the above riddles. The answer to what is in common in these two issues (actually, there are five issues, keep reading and count them) is our political leaders. The SAME political leaders who won’t stand up to the NRA or to the pharmaceutical industry because, like Nero, they are fiddling like their country is (crashing and) burning.

Why not? There are three basic answers, or issues (in addition to the first two, failure to regulate guns and failure to regulate the cost of meds) which I just referred to as the third, fourth and fifth issues:

One (or third), our political representatives won’t regulate the lobbyists. Why not? Because the lobbyists grease the skids, i.e., the political representatives on whom we the people depend to protect our interests, when they aren’t too busy gilding their own lilies.

Two (or fourth), why ELSE won’t our political representatives rein in the lobbyists? Because many, if not most, of our political representative want to be like Mike, they want to grow up and become lobbyists themselves. The latest example: What do you think retiring House Leader John Boehner will be doing as soon as he supposedly retires from public life? (I say supposedly because he will still be in public life, just now on the other side of the street, conflict free and easily increasing his disclosed income by a factor of ten.)

Third (or fifth), if it’s really necessary to subsidize the pharmaceutical industry, the way to do that is for the government to do that as a social cost through tax subsidies or whatever so as to spread the cost of that to we the people as a whole and to deflect it away from those who need the meds and can’t afford to bear this expense. If the government was doing that, it would legislate against unreasonable pricing and bring the cost way down. Why isn’t the government doing this? Are you kidding? You think the Obama Administration wants to admit that this is really a hidden cost of Obamacare which the Obama Administration is not owning up to.

So, what is then solution? The 28th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Read more hereron_emoticon

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