A blogger on Tigerhawk, whose day job is executive in a medical device company, takes exception to yesterday's Senate speech by socialist Bernie Sanders which "ripped into insurance companies, drugmakers, medical device manufacturers and others."
The TH reaction:
I don't begrudge a man his beliefs. The demagoguery, on the other hand, is a bit much. If he would take a week next summer when the Senate is not in session and work at a medical device company, he might gain an appreciation for just how difficult it actually is to bring a product out of the lab, through clinical studies, submit it to FDA and get it to market. It is many years and a great deal of money invested in the project, after which the company might get yelled at by elected representatives for "profiteering."
Sorry TH, but I do begrudge a man his beliefs, when they cross the line into utter nonsense. The speech said:
The day will come, although I recognize it is not today, when the Congress will have the courage to stand up to the private insurance companies and the drug companies and the medical equipment suppliers and all of those who profit and make billions of dollars every single year off of human sickness.
I was under the impression that all these actors made money from alleviating human sickness or spreading risk, and that these are good things. Now that I have been educated, I can see many applications for the philosophy, as Congress gets the courage to stand up to:
all those farmers, food processors, and distributors who make billions off of human hunger;
all those construction workers, equipment makers, and financiers who make billions off of human shelter;
all those gas drillers, coal miners, and generating companies who make billions off of human shivering (whoops! that one is already a cliche);
all those computer makers, software designers, game creators, and ISPs who make billions off of human boredom.
The list could be extended indefinitely.
And even in a socialist paradise, people would have to be paid (and thus profit) to produce medical care, food, shelter, etc., so I simply cannot track the thought processes at work here.
So get a grip, everyone. Market society is a good thing. A decade-and-a-half ago, high tech guru Esther Dyson said:
Having seen a non-market economy, I suddenly understood much better what I liked about a market economy. . . . Number one, that it works. Number two, that it's moral. Not always, and not everybody in it is moral, but the system is, I think, a moral one. . . . In the sense that people who produce things and work get rewarded, statistically. You don't get rewarded precisely for your effort, but in Russia you got rewarded for being alive, but not very well rewarded. A worker's paradise is a consumer's hell. People were beaten down. Everybody drank too much. Everything was hostile and dysfunctional. It was a good education about why the U.S. was a better place.
Producers of all kinds better understand that it not just pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers that are under assault; the contempt for the efforts of these worthy citizens is sort of all-purpose, ready to be retargeted at any useful enterprise that wanders within range.
Meanwhile, in Copenhagen, Hugo Chavez gets a rousing ovation for attacking capitalism.
UPGRADE: More from Tigerhawk, channeling Col. Jessup from A Few Good Men:
[A] medical device executive addresses the Senate Democrats (and, if necessary, Senator Snowe):
Senator, we live in a world that has patients, and those patients have to be treated with technology. Whose gonna invent, develop it, and build it? You, Senator Sanders? You, Senator Reid? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for high health care costs, and you curse new medical technology. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That new medical technology, while expensive, saves lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about in front of cameras or in committee hearings, you want me on that production line, you need me on that production line. We use words like innovation, quality, and safety. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent helping injured people. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and walks by virtue of the very medical technology that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a biomedical engineering degree, and get to work inventing better medical devices. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.