On the EDge: Take 2 and call me in the morning

OPINION – When the Presidential debates begin in a couple of weeks, you can count on two issues receiving front-and-center attention: jobs and health care.

There will be a lot of squawking and finger pointing and, as we have seen already, out-and-out lies, but neither side will offer a solution.

We’ll be told it will take time, to be patient during the job recovery. We will be told how health care is too expensive and Obamacare must be repealed because we will bankrupt the United States if we take care of everybody’s health needs.

The truth of the matter is there are two things that could be done to bring most of the jobs back to these shores and a way to cut health care expenditures by $26 billion, if Congress really is interested in doing something to benefit the men, women, and children of this land.

Two simple pieces of legislation would do the trick, if only our elected leaders had the guts to do what is right instead of lining their own pockets.

In the realm of jobs, Congress need only pass a bill that taxes each company that sends jobs offshore in the amount of what a year’s salary and benefits would cost to keep the job here. In other words, if your employer is paying you $40,000 in salary and benefits and your job is shipped overseas, the company that stole your job from you and sent it offshore would be required to pay an annual tax of $40,000. A company would think twice before sending its call centers, graphic arts work, and other jobs to India, China, or wherever else these corporate greed monsters can undercut the hard-working men and women of the United States.

I’ve heard it argued, even by Southern Utah business leaders who ship jobs overseas, that doing so is an attempt to keep their doors open, which is utter nonsense.

Keeping people working spurs the economy and while it may take a little time to reap larger profits, keeping the money circulating, rather than cutting jobs, is the key to fiscal viability. Kicking loyal employees to the curb so the corporate machine can replace them with vendors in India stalls the local economy, which feeds upon itself. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the parallel between long-term, widespread unemployment and the foreclosure rates.

But, that won’t happen because the captains of commerce long ago decided that it was far more important to feed the stockholders than the people who labor in their shops. Because they receive company stock for bonuses or are offered stock options as an enticement to be good company men, these guys would lay off their mother on Mother’s Day to improve the revenue stream. I would bet you the hard-earned nickels and dimes I make that when a company president/CEO talks about doing what’s best for the company they are really saying what’s best for the stockholders, who have become more important than the workers. Don’t believe me? Check out their annual report statements and look at the dividends paid, then compare that with your latest raise.

But, Congress will not take that bold step.

The expense of health care can also be dramatically decreased with one little piece of legislation.

All it would take is for Congress to pass a law that would ban the advertising and marketing of prescription drugs.

Big Pharma spends approximately $26 billion annually, according to the drugwatch.com website, in marketing and advertising. The bulk of that money — about $20 billion — is spent in direct marketing campaigns aimed at doctors. About $4 billion goes to consumer advertising and another $2 billion is spent by the drug manufacturers for medical seminars and training opportunities.

Why won’t Congress do anything about this egregiously lopsided set of numbers? Because Big Pharma spends about $188 million annually on lobbyists and dumps about $14 million a year into campaign funds to ensure that its friends are reelected.

Over the years, I have brought both of these proposals before members of the House and Senate.

Their response?

“No … you don’t understand,” one former senator told me. “The only way we can drop health care costs is to eliminate Social Security and institute tort reform.”

Another said: “It will never happen.”

A third, with connections to the health care industry, went silent and hid behind a nervous grin.

Gutless wonders, one and all.

 

No bad days!

 

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: edkociela.mx@gmail.com

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

 

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7 Comments

  • Carol September 13, 2012 at 5:58 am

    A company stole your job and sent it overseas…? A job that was your own personal property…?

  • Peg September 13, 2012 at 7:32 am

    It makes me nervous Ed, but I actually agree with you on some level.At this time in history, businesses and corporations should receive encouragement tax,financial or otherwise, to stay in the US and produce or provide services and goods.Plus, kudos should also be given to those who have chosen to do so.
    For instance our government should allow a business to move to a right to work state if they want to. Instead they send the justice department to investigate. Then there is the problem of bail outs of companies who THEN procede to build and move factories to foreign countries you would think they would know what side their bread is buttered on ,but no, does not work that way. Of course if our job Czar is Jeffrey Immult ,who has moved most of GE to foreign countries,well I am somewhat speechless about that one.
    Prescription advertising,which is a pain in my butt and has caused me to provide to small children more information than I ever intended to discuss with them in my lifetime,nor have I ever discussed outside of a doctors office.
    May also be a pain for most doctors,for I am sure that every nutcase with a rash, pain,tingle,non tingle ,weight gain ,weight loss ,well you get it,has cost society more money than I like to imagine.All of these hypochondriacs run to the Docs begging for these instant cures they saw on TV,except for me for I also listen to those side effects,I am sure many do,that keeps most of us away from a daily desire for most of these drugs. Have you read pill bottles recently? I think I will keep my, real or imagined, disease thank you.There is always the occasional person that might be prompted to go to a Doc with one or more of these symptoms re the drug ad ,that actually is sick and needs tx.We should be happy about that. However,the question of do we have the right to pick and choose what businesses have the right to advertise or not? That darn Constitution gets in the way so many times. I am sure that our present President could find a way to circumvent it once again if enough of his base complains or additional votes would be available to him. You just need to know how to do it Ed. SO we have big Pharma on one side and an out of control President with you and I in the middle .Does not look to good for us does it ,either the greedy corporation or the narcissist wins leaving us out in the cold. So it has been since the beginning of time.

  • DoubleTap September 13, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Really Ed??? Writing an article about job exportation and big Pharma in this country…from someone who “exported ” himself to Mexico to write (work) for the STGNews; pure silliness. Please don’t tell us you utilize the “excellent” healthcare services provided by your host country. Why is it that so many Americans living in border states run to Mexico for their pharmaceutical needs? Do you trust their pharmacies for your personal presription drugs? But I will agree with you that those solutions you described will NEVER be implemented here in the USA. Have a margarita for me Ed…

  • Ed Kociela September 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Actually, Double Tap, I am back in the U.S. as we speak. I do not hold a full-time job with STGnews and am still a U.S. citizen. But, nice try, anyway.

    As far as trusting the pharmacies in Mexico, well, yes, I do. I have several meds I take on a daily basis and found those I purchased in Mexico of the same quality as those I purchased in the U.S., and at a fraction of the price. As far as the medicos in Mexico, most are U.S.-trained and certified. In fact, many return to the U.S. on a regular basis to do surgeries and procedures to earn a decent income. Many return to Mexico with enough money to do a LOT of charity work for the poor.

    As an example, I had to have an eye exam and new prescription while I was there. The exam was free and the contact lens prescription? I got six months worth for $50. The lenses were manufactured in the U.S. and would have cost me more here. I wonder why.

  • Doug Chambers September 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    “There you go again!” Socialism never succeeds in the long run, but liberal continue to regurgitate their hippy professor’s brainwashing rhetoric. Fact is, capitalism, left alone, always succeeds. You just have a scewed sense of “fairness” and “everyone deserves a fair shot.” No, no they don’t. It’s not a right to succeed, only to try. Your ideas simply limit their ability to try. Your photo says a lot about you Ed. Go away.

    • Ron September 18, 2012 at 6:18 am

      “Your photo says a lot about you”??? Wow, Doug! I didn’t realize that looks are a part of the political debate. Tell me, what am I supposed to look like in order to be a good American? I may need a makeover.

  • Dsull September 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Hey Ed,
    Maybe we should look to our fearless president for a partial reason. No way that money is going to add a couple of loopholes in that gargantuan health care plan.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/obama-2012-health-care-campaign-donations_n_1048673.html
    —“Drug companies won more protections for brand-name drugs against cheaper drugs in Obama’s health care reform law. Proposals to have Medicare negotiate drug prices and to allow importation of drugs from Canada did not make it into the final bill. An estimated 32 million new Americans with insurance also means more business for pharmaceutical companies.”
    Oh wait, I guess loopholes was not correct, actually looks more like straight up benefits to Big Pharma.
    As you said, “dumps about $14 million a year into campaign funds to ensure that its friends are reelected.”

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