ELDER PATRIOT – The argument against Donald Trump is that he’s a bombastic iconoclast. Frankly, that should be the argument in favor of Mr. Trump. If he didn’t have a booming voice the image-crafters working for the Republican Elites would’ve buried him by now much as they did in their successful marginalization of Ron Paul.
Saturday night, when he addressed the public after the results of that day’s caucuses and primaries had finally been announced, Trump took a shot at Big Pharma and in the process opened the door to the broader discussion about “too big to fail” that was memorialized in the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
That lone piece of legislation has destroyed investment on main-street and in the process stripped us of three quarters of the new jobs that it has historically produced. Coupled with QE1, 2, and 3, that transferred wealth from the American people to the companies protected by the Dodd-Frank legislation, these companies grew significantly larger at our expense. Making matters worse was the concentration of financial power and importance in fewer companies leaving us even more vulnerable to potential failure in the future.
It gets even worse. The enormous wealth of these “favored” corporations has allowed them to “own” the messaging that forms our opinions as well as the politicians on both sides of the aisle who aggressively advance the corporate interests of these companies through legislation. Since the beginning of 2015 just three industry sectors – Finance, Legal, and Health – have “donated” in excess of $551,000,000 to essentially own key politicians and to divide the American electorate on what’s best for them.
This phenomenon was predictable to an informed society but schools and our media would rather indoctrinate than teach the lessons of history.
Adam Smith, the father of free market capitalism, warned us at the time of the American Revolution that limited-liability companies (corporations) posed a threat to our economic welfare because they divorced power from liability in the process rendering responsibility moot. By limiting risk only to the money invested in their care, management was freer to take unnecessary chances than if they were “all-in” as their counterparts on main-street were. Now, with bailout and bail-in legislation already in place even that modicum of risk that is necessary for prudence has been removed.
What Smith and Jefferson warned against was legislation like Dodd-Frank that only made risk-taking more attractive because any significant corporate failure would be corrected by raiding the people’s money through a process known as bail-in. This eliminated the messy procedure of securing votes on the floor on congress where politicians risked an uprising from an awakening public.
The miscalculation by our political class, giving them the credit that was all that it was, was the greed inherent in the system. Properly harnessed that greed allows capitalism to outperform any economic system we so far know. Improper incentive in laws such as in Dodd-Frank, ostensibly sold to fundamentally ignorant people as absolutely necessary, have only exacerbated problems within the system.
On Saturday Trump used Big Pharma as the whipping boy to begin the dialogue about the failure of both Democrats and Republicans to stand in defense of the interests of the people rather than the industries that fuel the political elites.
Whether the subject is re-importation of drugs at lower prices from markets where they’re sold more cheaply, corporate inversions that result in companies abandoning the country for tax savings, or the influx of hedge-fund types who have stripped their acquisitions of research and development (that was ostensibly the reason supporting higher prices in the U.S. market) while raising prices as much as 5000% for their specialty drugs, Trump appears ready to take them on in defiance of both political parties that have staked out positions, albeit different ones, in support of Big Pharma.
Most significant isn’t Trump’s willingness to open the debate about how pharmaceutical companies or how any other particular industries conduct their business. Trump’s willingness to challenge the entrenched interests and arguments of both political parties when it’s in the interest of the people “trumps” everything else. Mr. Trump’s desire to put an end to the Left-Right paradigm that has been used to divide us along purely ideological lines and instead to unite us in a purely common sense way is what’s most admirable.