"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Sun Rises In the West

Man bites dog. Water flows uphill. George W. Bush vetoes some pork. Hungry children wait patiently for the insurance salesman to leave. And the latest: A jury—in New Jersey no less—gets it right.

No, really. Merck has just been vindicated completely in the second Vioxx case, without nuance, qualification, or conditional subparagraphs attendant upon article A, clause 4, section f(ii), subsection d(5)(j)(14)(b). And so at least for today, America will not take from the children and give to the lawyers.

11 comments:

Tlaloc said...

"And so at least for today, America will not take from the children and give to the lawyers."

Merck is a bunch of children?

Hunter Baker said...

Oh, you were just giving an example of something improbable. What a disappointment!

I think the Merck case is fabulous, though. I'm glad that one is for real. The trial lawyer redistribution system (i.e. our courts of civil justice) has been broken for quite a while. Good to see it works on occasion.

connie deady said...

The trial lawyer redistribution system (i.e. our courts of civil justice) has been broken for quite a while. Good to see it works on occasion.

Wait a minute. I thought you believed in a capitalist system whereby we all had a right to earn a buck. I make my bucks off of this civil justice system by raping insurance companies. I maintain my right to do that, just as coal companies had the right to rape the land mining coal where I live, or any other corporation has the right to utilize the system to maximize its profits. Why aren't trial lawyers allowed to do the same?

Hunter Baker said...

Trial lawyers are making their bucks merely by finding a way to get the government to use their monopoly of coercive force to extract dollars from person A and give them to person B (after taking 40%). That's not capitalism. That's vicious lobbying.

Tlaloc said...

Hunter surely you don't deny that the legal system provides a critical control on the abuses of industry?

connie deady said...

Hunter also misses the point that corporate America also benefits tremendously from the legal system.

I would point to this Molly Ivins (sorry Hunter) column on SLAPP lawsuits, which is defamation lawsuits filed by corporations to silence consumer critics of their products.

connie deady said...

oops, left out the link:

http://alternet.org/columnists/story/24293/

Hunter Baker said...

I'd be more than happy to see the government engage in appropriate law enforcement v. corporations or anyone else. I just don't like the bounty hunter/massive forced wealth transfer model.

connie deady said...

I just don't like the bounty hunter/massive forced wealth transfer model.

I don't what this means. Sounds like a conservative trigger phrase, but what does it mean in actuality.

Wealth transfer occurs all the time from middle class to rich, rich to poor and middle class. Even public housing is a tranfer of income from taxpayers to business as well as conferring benefits on poor. Prescription drugs for elderly was a wealth transfer to pharmaceutical companies.

Government is all about transferring wealth and redistributing benefits for purposes of a functioning society. If all wealth is in the hands of a small few and you have a large body of poor you get riots and revolutions. Look at France and South and Latin America. Some wealth is transferred to maintain stability. That's why FDR created his social programs like social security during the depression.

One could argue the relative amounts of wealth transfer, but to argue it shouldn't exist is unrealistic and misses the point.

Hunter Baker said...

You're missing my point, Connie. These are massive wealth transfers without anybody voting on anything. Just independent contractors convincing juries to take from one party and give to another, often well beyond any reasonable scope.

connie deady said...

It's called tort law. I'm sure you learned that in law school. We take from those who cause injuries and give it to those who are injured.

Now if you want to argue that a lot of it is out of control, I'll agree completely, take the automobile insurance litigation business. But it's hardly a transfer of wealth. It's pretty much from middle class and poor to middle class and poor since the insurance companies just pass it on in the form of high insurance rates. Since insurance is mandatory, the poor pay a higher proportion of insurance relative to income.

If you're talking medical mal, then I always laugh at that one. I kid my orthopedic surgeon when I saw the pamphlets in his office. If there was no tort litigation they wouldn't have much business. The remedy of caps only solves the problem of high insurane rates. What you are doing when you cap is redistributing money from the poor and injured back to the wealthy.

But then you'd support that. Be glad you aren't the one who has been maimed by an incompetent doctor. You might feel differently. I'm sure you'd be willing to change places with a young mother I know who is on the transplant list and requires dialysis 3 times a week because her kidneys were destroyed by a doctor who let her become eclampsic without treatment.

Look I'm willing to understand doctors being squeezed by insurance companies but generalities talking about wealth transfers leave me cold. Tort litigation is hardly a new "liberal concept"