With an entire nation watching our elected officials during the fiscal cliff crisis, you’d think they would do everything in their power to avoid crony capitalism deals.
The spotlight was on when CEO’s of major corporations flew into Washington to tell the American people that we cannot afford social security and medicare. Lloyd Blankfein from Goldman Sachs asked us to, “Support President Obama in cutting these programs for the future of this great country. We need to make sacrifices because we can no longer support the rising debt and substantial deficits.”
The theme of all speeches in Washington were, “Americans must make sacrifices for the greater good.”
Yes, even though Middletown struggles to pay utility bills, go yet another year without wage increases because of the “economy”, our young people choke on student debt, and families line up in drive-thru lanes ordering value meals held together by fat, salt and corn syrup. We must do more. “It’s for the good of future generations.”
Yet, with all this hype and drama about debt, deficits, and needed sacrifice, a few key men in Washington sat down and added a single paragraph in the eleventh hour of the Fiscal Cliff bill. A bill that was supposed to spare the country from going over a financial cliff.
Payroll withholding taxes on Middletown USA were allowed to rise on January 1st causing more suffering, yet these few men gave a half billion dollars to one company essentially subsidizing their fraud case settled with the Department of Justice just a few weeks prior.
Amgen is the world’s largest biotechnology firm, a drug manufacturer that sells a variety of medications. The little clause secretly inserted into the fiscal cliff bill gives the company two more years of relief from Medicare cost controls for certain drugs used by patients on kidney dialysis.
The most embarrassing part is Amgen just settled a fraud case with the Department of Justice and was fined $762 million for misleading marketing on one of their drugs sold to patients. The last minute gift allows them to recoup most of the fraud settlement – how convenient.
Think about it…Amgen defrauded the American people and put lives at risk in doing so. They got caught and were allowed to reach a $762 million settlement with the DOJ, already proven to be soft on the 1%, and within just weeks from the settlement, our esteemed Senators refunded them their settlement with taxpayer dollars and then raised our taxes to pay for it. Nobody goes to jail, and a couple of Senators add one paragraph to make all the companies woes go away.
Thanks to reporters at NY Times.
The story told us of a pharmaceutical giant, Amgen, and three senators so close to it they might be entries on its balance sheet: Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus – a Democrat — and that powerful committee’s ranking Republican, Orrin Hatch. A trio of perpetrators who treat the United States Treasury as if it were a cash-and-carry annex of corporate America.
Bill Moyers chats with U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) about the bi-partisan bill he recently sponsored to repeal that giveaway, and the political factors that allow such crony capitalism to occur. It’s worth 20 minutes of your time: