...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Regulation by newspaper. And/or state attorney general.

Cheers to the Seattle Times for its investigative report, published Sunday, into the sale of drug development information to Wall Street firms by scientific researchers--these are doctors, folks, working on new meds, taking money to brief stockbrokers on the next big pharmaceutical thing. Today, the Times reports that the SEC has confirmed it will investigate this practice. Before the Times report appeared, they didn't have a clue this was going on.

It would be naive to blame this condition on the Republicans alone. Remember when Jimmy Carter presided over airline deregulation? Other than David Kessler, Clinton's FDA Chief, or Reagan's Surgeon General, Dr. Koop, we haven't seen a crusading federal czar in this country since, maybe, Bobby Kennedy. The regulators are supposed to keep American industry honest. But, it took Eliot Spitzer, the New York state attorney general, to expose the SEC as Wall Street enabler.

The result of our cultural shift to deregulation--or should I say, government-business integration--is the Defense Department-Halliburton partnership (Dick Cheney, former CEO of Halliburton, former Defense Secretary); the government-energy-industry policy seminar (Cheney again, Halliburton again); the Congress-FCC-telecommunications-industry ownership consolidation partnership (Clinton administration, folks). All this is supposed to result in smaller government and more profitable business, floating all our boats.

hummer3Somehow, General Motors, for one, hasn't taken advantage of the American non-regulatory atmosphere to rake in the profits. Ford and Chrysler aren't doing all that well either; Chrysler's even dragging Daimler down. I guess it's all because there's no demand for economical vehicles in the U.S., right? However, I read the other day that GM is doing great in China, where they've introduced a $5000 minivan that gets 43 miles per gallon--in the city. [Read the article, and you'll learn that the American GM manager who developed the van found himself muscled out after nine years, which speaks volumes about the culture of GM, which hasn't shifted (pun intended)].

No comments: