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Trusting the government to keep you safe doesn't seem to work that well. We have the example of the New England Compounding Pharmacy which was careless in how they handled the drugs. As for the FDA, they've allowed drugs with bad side effects to be marketed. The diabetes drug Avandia (not sure of the spelling) which caused heart attacks was allowed to stay on the market despite the fact that the Europeans pulled it off their formulary. There is a drug for arthritis that creates bad side effects and is still available. Problem is that "money talks" and the drug companies have a lot of lobbyists that can influence votes in Congress.
Government licensing of doctors doesn't protect you from bad doctors. Regular certification tests might be a better choice. We could also have various levels of providers with certification as to what they are qualified to do. The medical profession also (like the police) has a strong tendency to close ranks and conceal examples of malpractice. So it doesn't appear that government involvement has much effect. I can also say from personal experience that very few doctors will question what another doctor does. Again, the profession tends to "close ranks" against those outside the profession. Nor are they all that careful about diagnosis or even checking on the side effects of the drugs that they prescribe. Again, I have personal experience of this.
The medical profession has a lot of political power here in the USA. This is also why we end up paying 50% more for health care than those fortunate enough to live in countries with national health insurance where there is control over excessive charges. Who as a rule tend to have longer life expectancy than do Americans. Ask why it is that the Japanese have life expectancy greater than people living anywhere else, but only half of what Americans do for health care? Plus more Japanese per capita smoke cigarettes than we do!
About 80% of all antibiotics are used in the animal husbandry in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations where large numbers are crowded together and locked in stalls most of their lives. The antibiotics tend to make the animal gain weight quicker and also serve to prevent diseases from overcrowded. Then the animals are given hormones to make them gain weight. Among these are growth hormones and such which leach out from the "animal waste" and leak into streams and the water table. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been fighting this for years, but the CAFO's are located in rural counties that vote Republican, so nothing happens. Of course with a Republican governor it isn't likely anything will be done either.
Libertarians believe in free choice for everyone. Those who want to rely upon "government" for their protection will be able to continue to do so. However it doesn't appear that government does that great a job of "protection" when you get down to it.
1 year, 2 months ago on 4 Steps You Can Take to Stop Obamacare Now
The question really comes down to one of whether or not people should be denied medicine because they can't afford to "bribe" a doctor for his or her "permission" to purchase medicine. Libertarians such as myself believe that personal freedom is the better choice than being denied the choice to take care of yourself because you can't afford the cost of doing so because government has established a monopoly. A very profitable monopoly for an organized group who has the power to deny medicine to anyone who is not willing to pay for the "permission" to be allowed to purchase medicine. The medicines sold by Walmart are just as safe as the medicine sold by any other drug store.
Basic problem is that US health care is at least 50% higher in cost than health care anywhere else. Do we enjoy longer life spans because our health care costs half again as much as what health care costs anywhere else? There is no data supporting this. As a matter of fact, the US ranks close to the bottom. Nor does the "Patient Protection, Affordable Care Act" do anything to correct this problem. At the very best, all that is being done is to offer people some financial "aid" so that they can purchase private health insurance from our quite profitable private health insurance industry. And "where" does the money come from to pay for all this? The government can either tax people to obtain the money, or run up the deficit higher than it already is. No one is willing to tell the health care industry that the real problem is a monopoly system where there is next to no control over prices and anyone can charge whatever they feel like charging because they are operating under a government enforced monopoly system that "protects" them from "competition".
Solution is simply to eliminate all laws and regulations that make health care the monopoly that it is. Without prescription laws your only cost would be the price of the drugs at Walmart. Without professional licensing there would be various levels of providers providing services according to their ability. We'd have much lower cost hospitals for those who don't need 2012 technology for their medical problems. We would also be free to use medical providers in other countries via the Internet. Our health care costs would fall by perhaps as much as a trillion dollars a year. Currently that is the difference between US health care costs and that of the rest of the developed world. Of course this will be make today's health care providers rather "unhappy" since they've gotten used to a lifestyle much higher than what most Americans enjoy. But most of the rest of us have had to accept that our incomes won't be as high as we'd like, and without prescription laws, the providers will quickly learn that most people don't need to see doctors anywhere nearly as often as the profession would like. Probably at least half of all doctor visits are only done because the doctor holds the power of access to medicine as a weapon over the rest of us. This needs to come to an end...
Repeal of prescription laws as libertarians have been advocating would be a good first step that would reduce the need for "government health care" of the sort that Obamacare now proposes to do.
What is the justification behind prescription laws? If people own themselves, then as the owner of one's self, one also has the right to maintain and improve one's property. Without prescription laws, people would be able to take care of many of their health needs without the need for a doctor. For example, to control your blood pressure and cholesterol, using medications sold at Walmart would cost you $120 a year. However, because the state does not accept the concept of self ownership, it believes that it is entitled to regulate the activities of everyone living within its borders. And that only certain licensed people (doctors) are allowed to prescribe medicine and to allow access to medical drugs. Obviously this is very profitable for doctors, whose incomes are much higher than they would be in a society where they did not enjoy the economic benefits of this government enforced monopoly. In effect we are seen as "children", unable to make decisions for ourselves regarding our health. The doctor therefore acting as an agent of the state, therefore has been given the right to deny us access to medicine except as the doctor allows. The same thing is true of the other licensed professions. They are licensed by the state to perform certain acitivities under state regulations. Everyone else must therefore seek the services of a member of these professions in order to be allowed to do certain things. Legally, a doctor can deny you a certain medication, therefore causing your death, with no legal consequences to the doctor acting as an agent of the state. His opinion on such matters overrides your own. Thus the state considers all people living within its borders as its legal property. It can extract money from people (taxes), have its agents (doctors) demand payment for "permission" to purchase life saving drugs. Under the recent Supreme Court decision the state can now tax you for failure to purchase health insurance. Under the same thinking the state could force you to purchase any item it feels you should have, regardless of your wishes in the matter. It can also prohibit you from buying medication for your own use without first obtaining "permission" from one of its groups of agents, ie doctors. In other words the doctor holds the power of life or death over you. He or she is effectively your "master" under the laws of the state. You become a criminal in the eyes of the state if you dare to purchase medicine without the "permission" of one of its "licensed agents". Note I am not talking here about narcotics, or illicit drugs in general, but common medical drugs used by tens of millions of people. Did you know that it is illegal to purchase heartworm pills for your dog without a prescription? Further proof if any is needed that we do not in any way "own" ourselves. We are "property", just like the black slaves were in the South before the Civil War. The only difference is that they had private masters, but our masters live in Washington.D.C. And we "vote" for our masters! All 535 Congress members, the President, who then vote into office the members of the Supreme Court. All of whom appear to believe that they have "ownership" rights over the rest of us! Of course all this is a TRUTH that few people outside of us Libertarians understand. If they did, most likely many would stop voting for Democrats or Republicans, and start voting for Libertarians, who are it appears the only ones who still believe in "freedom" today...
1 year, 7 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.libertarianism.org/blog/upside-freedom
I see Libertarianism as a very useful "tool", not an "operating system" that solves all problems when used according to one certain doctrine. I do think that all Libertarians agree that the maximum amount of personal freedom that is both possible and practical should be the objective. Right now we are a long ways from achieving that goal. Part of the problem is due to corruption of the political system so that the political system starts to only represent those who have bought into the system and are in effect directing it towards a goal that only represents their wishes at the price of causing some degree of loss of freedom to the majority of people, along with a reduction in their living standards. Our government is becoming less "representative" than it used to be. We are engaging in military "adventures" that make us hated by hundreds of millions of people. Some of whom are likely to put their hatred of us into deeds if they get the chance to do so. Then we have spent ourselves into approaching bankruptcy, with so much of our national debt now being held by foreign nations. Neither of our political parties appears to have a "solution" to these problems...
1 year, 8 months ago on An Introduction to Rent Seeking
There is a considerable difference between prescription laws (which give doctors an effective monopoly over medicine) and medical safety. It is however doubtful in today's legal climate that anyone would attempt to sell poison as "medicine". However I might note that there have been a number of medical drugs produced by US drug companies that passed every government standard, but turned out to have serious side effects to some people. There is sufficient variation in human DNA that biological responses will vary between individuals. This can happen inside the same medical "family" where what works on one person will not work on another.
The incomes of those people involved in the licensed professions is higher than it would be without government regulation. Let me give an example here based upon my own personal experience. The blood pressure medication I use is sold at Walmart as a 90 day supply for $10. Without prescription laws, my cost for this medication for a year would be $40. As it is simple and easy to check your blood pressure, there is no real need for the involvement of a doctor. However, thanks to prescription laws, the government has given doctors a monopoly over the supply of medicines. Therefore, the doctor can force me to pay (rent) to obtain his "permission" to purchase this medicine. He can require office visits, lab tests, all costs that I have to pay in order to have "permission" to purchase medicine. In a Libertarian run society, there would be no prescription laws, no drug laws in general (for adults). No doubt computer software writers would create diagnosic programs to assist people in making medical decisions for themselves. People who would only see doctors when they felt the need to do so, not as frequently as doctors might wish. The same is true with veterinarians, who require that you obtain a prescription to purcahse medicine for your dog. The other licensed professions operate the same way. A government enforced monopoly is created, one that forces the public to pay higher prices for anything that these licensed professions deal with. You will note that neither the Democrats or the Republicans appear to have any wish to change these laws, all of which if you research the issue, were first advocated by members of these professions. Obviously for their own benefit, no that of the general public as they may claim. The only political party willing to state the truth about this is the Libertarian Party of which I'm a member.
1 year, 9 months ago on An Introduction to Rent Seeking
My opinion of government is that it does too much, regulates too much, costs too much, starts wars with countries that didn't do anything to us, kills hundreds of thousands of innocent people who had nothing to do with "terrorism". Then we have all sorts of "regulations" supposedly for our own good! For example, prescription laws (a pet peeve of mine) raise the cost of health care considerably. Without these laws I could take care of my health for considerably less money than what I'm paying now. And while health insurance pays much of these costs, one way or another I'm paying for the health insurance too. Our drug laws make the US the world's "jailer" in that we have more people in prison than any other country on Earth. Two million people at $30,000 a year at least, so there's $60 Billion dollars a year just for housing prisoners! Then there is the added cost of law enforcement, courts, everything else involved along with the social corruption involved. As at least half of these people are in prison due to "drugs", that's a minimum of $30 billion dollars a year being spent just for someone who was seeking to use something that the government doesn't want people to use. Add to the figures of law enforcement, running prisons, all the other "damage" to our society caused by drug laws and you can see why Dr. Ron Paul stated that these laws are a great big mistake! Then calculate how much taxes have to be collected to pay for all this too! This is part of the reason I'm a member of the Libertarian Party! We can't afford a government that wastes so much money, fights wars, kills people by the hundreds of thousands, creates a billion people who hate the USA with good reason! I'm sorry Ron Paul didn't do better, but I'm going to write his name on the ballot anyway just to say that he had the "answers" that the "other guys" didn't!
1 year, 9 months ago on What's So Special About the State?
Very true. We have poverty because people are forbidden by government to use their talents to support themselves. We have government licensing which prevents people from creating businesses for themselves. Prevents people from offering services to other people for pay. Often an established business will attempt to use the power of government to prevent anyone else from competing with it. This makes everyone more "poor" than they would be otherwise. The economy is smaller instead of larger. There are fewer employment opportunities available. The more laws and regulations you have in a society, the worse off the people are. The government should only act to protect people from criminals using force and violence to get their way. Not prevent people from using the talents they have to use their skills for their own benefit and the benefit of the public. In the past young people could work for an employer at a wage level compatible with their skill. Then the government passes a minimum wage which may well be higher than the value of their work to an employer. So the young people end up unemployed because the government won't allow them to work for the wage that their work might be worth. The government also in many cases prevents a young person from learning through experience skills that will make him or her much more valuable later on. Again, all of us lose when this happens. We lose the skills this young person might possess later on in life, skills that could well some time in the future be a matter of life or death to us. America was once "the land of opportunity". Now, not so much...
1 year, 11 months ago on Michael Sandel Thinks Markets Make Us Worse—But He Can Make Us Better
Actually the "free market" works pretty good. Walmart has reduced the cost of many generic medicines below the previous "drugstore" price which certainly benefits the individual in need of medicine. On the other hand when "government" puts its hand into things, generally the cost to the consumer goes "up". Prescription laws are a good example of this. Prior to the passage of these laws in 1938, people in need of medicine had much more of a choice. They could purchase the medicine themselves. They could obtain the assistance of a local druggist whose experience might well equal that of a doctor. Or they could visit a doctor, obtain a prescription which they would then take to their local drugstore to be filled by the druggist. However, the doctors, acting through their professional "union" (which is what the AMA is) got Congress to pass a law requiring people to obtain a doctor's prescription in order to be permitted to buy medicine. This of course took money out of the consumer's pocket and put it into the doctor's pocket because the doctor now had the power of the federal government behind him to demand this. No doubt anyone who wishes to consider this can think of other examples where one group or another uses the power of the State to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. Libertarianism on the other hand states that actions of this sort are a violation of people's freedom to make these decisions for themselves. And while it will be claimed that such actions are for "the protection of the people", they generally turn out to be more a case of one group using the power of government (the "guns of government" in reality) to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else! If people are to be free to make their own decisions, they should be allowed to do so. We do not need the government to "protect us from ourselves"! Generally too the government doesn't do a very good job of it anyway!
When government passes a law, generally if you investigate, you will find that someone is benefitting economically from that law. The law against "raw milk" is a benefit to the large bottling companies as it reduces competition from those who are giving people a choice between the types of milk. We can see the same thing in medicine with prescription laws which give doctors monopoly control over the supply of medicine. These laws are of course "sold" on the idea of "protecting the public", but you will notice in all these cases that someone is profitting from the law while at the same time the public's freedom to make its own decisions is decreased. For example, you need a "vet's" prescription to buy heart worm pills for your dog or cat. Why? Dogs and cats are not "people". While a group like the Humane Society might be concerned about their welfare, this is hardly the role of the federal government. Which in this case takes money out of the pet owner's pocket and transfers it to the "vet". Which leaves the pet own with less money than before, but still having to pay for the medicine. Another good example of "statism"!
1 year, 11 months ago on How We Might Become Politically Obligated