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Passing Obamacare the Chicago Way

Big Pharma told to support passage of Obamacare, "or else."

by
Michael R. Shannon

Bio

June 1, 2012 - 12:56 am
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Here’s an outrage: sleazy government officials approach a major business interest and want to enter into “negotiations.” The officials casually mention, “You’ve got a nice little business here. It would be a shame if something happened to it.”

Both sides know the business needs permits to operate, current regulations could be changed or delayed and the bureaucracy’s normally glacial pace could begin to approach that of plate tectonics. All it takes is a little ill will on the government side and costs and delays start to escalate for the business side. And there’s no one to complain to for obvious reasons.

The government officials say this doesn’t have to happen. We can all cooperate for “the greater good.” Spend a little money now and it will pay off tenfold in the future. Everybody’s happy. It’s just a cost of doing business in this locale.

Yeah, yeah, you’re thinking: Wal–Mart in Mexico. Old news. The bad guys have already been treed in Bentonville.

But it’s not old news and it’s not in Mexico. It’s how Obamacare was passed in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Times reports that internal Obama administration documents just released by House Republicans reveal “those negotiations violated the promises of transparency Mr. Obama made during his 2008 campaign.” My question is: why didn’t those “negotiations” violate the law?

Let’s compare the two stories. In “progressive” circles all cultures are relative until a non–union U.S. corporation decides to “go native,” so to speak, and conform to the cultural norms where it’s attempting to do business.

Wal–Mart is now in a heap of trouble for potentially violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Specifically, Wal–Mart is accused of paying “mordida,” translated as the “little bite” to local officials. These bribes meant the officials didn’t “lose” paperwork, invent environmental problems, or arbitrarily change the rules for building permits in the middle of the process. “Mordida” is a way of life when dealing with officialdom in Mexico, as many U.S. drivers who’ve received a traffic ticket south of the border know from personal experience.

As a result, Wal–Mart’s Mexican division rapidly built stores all across the country and became the fastest growing part of the corporation with one in five stores now located in Mexico.

Now compare that with the Obama administration “negotiations.” The Washington Times reports White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina and health care honcho Nancy–Ann DeParle met with major drug company representatives and told them that if the drug companies didn’t publicly support passage of Obamacare, the administration would demand a 15 percent rebate on Medicare drugs and urge Congress to remove the tax deduction for consumer advertising. Times reporters estimate this would have cost drug companies $100 billion over the next decade.

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