I could hear “a giant sucking sound,” as H. Ross Perot used to say, as I read about the life-saving drug for cystic fibrosis in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (A Charity’s Investment a prescription for profits for drug maker.) With its insanely outrageous cost borne by taxpayers, clearly this was not about saving lives, but about enriching a very few individuals beyond comprehension.
- $841 a day (for two little pills)
- $25,230 a month
- $307,000 a year for the rest of of their lives (and paid for by all of us, either through Medicare, or through jacked up premiums which all of us will bear.)
In 1992, Perot was referring to the sound of good-paying American jobs being flushed down the drain with the passage of NAFTA.
This time the sucking sound is billions of dollars, being drained out of our weakened and faltering American economy, into a private loo, where it will pool and stagnate.
Next time you hear someone say there’s not enough to pay for health benefits, not enough for food stamps, not enough for schools, not enough, not enough, not enough, remember where this money has gone.
Last month, [Vertex Pharmaceuticals] stock shot up more than 60% again, from $52.87 to $85.60, after positive early data from a clinical trial of Kalydeco and another drug it is developing with funding from the foundation. On April 19, the day after the news was released, the company’s market value jumped by more than $6 billion.
That same day, two company executives sold huge chunks of stock options. Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ian Smith alone sold 745,685 shares worth more than $60 million. Most shares were sold at $81.50, with options purchased from $29 to $39.
Enough money to run a small country, drained from taxpayer and donor coffers, now hoarded by a few, is where the money has gone.
The broken promise of NAFTA was that it would be good for America by lowering prices — planting the seeds for more jobs and opportunities. Does anybody disagree, that that this two-decades-long experiment has failed to deliver? What NAFTA planted instead was the seeds of Greed, and today, we reap the harvest: a weak, nearly ruined economy, immigration and drug wars, and concentrations of power unprecedented in American history.
This latest corruption of our charitable system — a non-profit foundation financed the development of this drug and will reap “profits” from it, which they will funnel back into creating more drugs — violates the public trust of taxpayer and donor alike. This latest corruption is yet another shoot off the Choking Vine of Greed.
Our founding fathers are no doubt clucking their tongues, shaking their heads. It is a disgrace.
There should be a huge public outcry over this story. There should be united resolve by officials at all levels to take swift and immediate action to fix the system, for the gross violation of constitutional principles. There should be a bipartisan amendment to the Constitution passing quickly throughout the land, to correct the error of Citizens United which led to this, and to the IRS non-profit debacle. There should be clear resolve to not make the same mistake again, and reject the pending Pacific Rim free trade agreement. There should be resolve to heed the historic warnings of the Founders against consolidation of power, recognizing how it as an invitation to the Vampire of Corruption–which will suck the life out of us.
If public outcry and action by our leaders does not occur, it means one thing: America is lost. It means our pledge of allegiance to the ideal of “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all” is broken. It means we have abdicated our authority as the owners of this country, and sold our Republic to the highest bidder. It means we bought an oligarchy, a Fascist state led by giant corporations, no less bureaucratic and bloated than our old government, but instead beholden to no civil authority, but only profit. It means we have bowed down not to God, but to the almighty dollar.
If this is so, then Lord, help us, and our children.
Is it too late? No, not yet. The corporations have not yet taken away our right to petition the government–although they’re trying. They have not yet stolen our voices–although they’re trying that now, too, at the highest levels, and at the state level. We still have our brains, our hearts, and our minds. But time is short. The time is here to stand up, declare who we are and to whom we pledge allegiance. The time is now, for each of us to make a choice.
Do we blindly succumb to the life-sucking Vampire of Corruption? Do we allow our country to fall to the Choking Vine of Greed? Or do we open our eyes, reach out, clasp hands, cut the vine and renew our commitment to the common good, and resolve to share with one another, and stop the insane drive to hoard it all? Do we continue to congratulate those who excessively accumulate wealth, envy them, strive to be like them? Or do we choose instead to follow the founding father’s historic “prime directive,” the guiding principle of the United States of America which unites by way of cooperation, fairness, sharing, and not by hoarding? Do we at last, as I wrote about previously, Occupy Ourselves, see our own failings, and join a 12-Step Program to recover from our own addictions?
What we need is to pass a constitutional amendment correcting Citizens United: we need to say clearly that a corporation is NOT a human being. We need to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement: just as NAFTA did in Central American, it will only wreak costly havoc for many innocent people and concentrate more wealth into the hands of a few. We need to restore, renew and rebuild integrity in our government: reject leaders who point fingers instead of fix systems, and who call for consolidating more power. We need to instead elevate those who stand up for individual sovereignty at the local level. We need to support those who value our government for what it is, a gift from our ancestors which gave you and I the power to make this country what “we the people” want it to be–“of the people, by the people and for the people”–not of, by and for drug lords and corporations. We must, as H. Ross Perot said years ago, stand up and take ownership of the country — not abdicate ownership to those who worship the almighty dollar.
Our system of government — as broken and messed up as it is — is better than any other system on the planet! Don’t destroy the best system on earth– protect it! Restore it, repair it, and keep it safe for our children, as our veterans did for us, for generations.
It’s up to us. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The People…are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”