The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, August 26, 2016


An EpiPen is a device that allows a person allergic to insect stings to self-inject with epinephrine if he or she is stung by a bee or other venomous insect. The EpiPen helps the person avoid a severe or even life-threatening allergic reaction. In case you missed it, the company that makes EpiPens raised the price of the potentially life-saving device to $600. Cue the moral outrage from the likes of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Kevin Williamson is a firebrand conservative writer.In an epic rant, Williamson comments:
If we were relying on the intelligence, work ethic, creativity, entrepreneurship, scientific prowess, and far-sightedness of the members of Congress to produce treatments for allergic reactions or any other medical problem, we’d still have a million people a year dying from smallpox and preventable infections. We’d also be starving to death.

Bernie Sanders doesn’t have the first clue how an EpiPen works or what went into developing it, but he’s sure he knows what one should cost, and he’s sure who should decide — him ....

Mrs. Clinton is a bum and a crook who used the State Department as a funnel to guide the money of favor-seeking business interests at home and abroad into the Clinton Foundation, a sham charity that exists to pay six-figure salaries to Clintons (Chelsea is full-time executive there) and their courtiers.

These people are parasites. They make: nothing. They create: nothing. They produce: nothing. But they feel perfectly justified — they positively glow with moral frisson — standing between the people who create and build and the people who benefit from those creations. And they don’t just stand there: They stand there with their hands out. I don’t know how much Heather Bresch [president of the company that makes EpiPens] has in the bank, but without checking, I’ll bet you five dollars it is a good deal less than the Clintons have piled up in “public service.”

Thought experiment: Your child is dying. Who do you go to for help? Sanders? Clinton? Or one of the research scientists who made the EpiPen possible? Yes, Mylan [the manufacturer] raised the price of an EpiPen. You know who else raised the price on EpiPens? Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, that’s who, and Joe Manchin, too. You thought Obamacare meant free goodies for you paid for by wicked rich people and evil corporations, right, Sunshine? Remember that medical-device tax? An EpiPen is a medical device. You think the politicians don’t have any self-interest there?

Short of rainbows and redwoods, just about every good thing we have in this world is the result of the fact that somebody, somewhere, worked to create it. Some of those people were philanthropists, like the ones who built so many of our libraries, museums, and schools. Some were in business, like the people who are bringing you awesome electric cars and little pocket devices that have more computing power than a major research university could muster only a few decades ago.

Epinephrine is unstable, and developing a way to store and deliver it reliably isn’t easy. Others have tried and failed; some have tried and been blocked by federal regulators, who of course have only your best interests at heart. (Federal employees care about two things: serving the public and consuming vast amounts of online porn during office hours. Okay, maybe they care about one thing.) You don’t have to love the people who dream and create — that’s why you pay them.
Although Williamson may be overstating things just a bit, the thrust of his rant is on target. It's particularly galling to be lectured to by people who have never worked in the private sector for any appreciable length of time, have never started a company, have never had to deal with the uncertainties and burdens of business ownership, and (this is important) have enriched themselves at the public trough, tell private businesses what they can and cannot charge for their products. Rest assured that the poor can gain access to an EpiPen through a myriad of existing government programs, and the rest of us can pay for it, just like we pay for any other product developed by private enterprise.

One can only wonder how much less EpiPen would cost if politicians like Sanders and Clinton worked on litigation reform, regulatory reform and otherwise made it easier and safer for those who produce life-saving devices to bring them to market. But nevermind—moral outrage over rapacious capitalists is so much more rewarding.