Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: September 13, 2011


Rick Perry’s Gardasil problem

Rick Perry got some deserved heavy fire for something he attempted as governor of Texas.  That is, he attempted to mandate a vaccine for sixth grade girls designed to help prevent cervical cancer.  

Last night Michelle Bachman, trying to revive her flagging campaign, lit into the Texas governor for attempting to establish the mandate by executive order:

“To have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just wrong,” Bachmann said. “Little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don’t get a mulligan.”

Two points here that need to be considered.  One, as some defending Perry are saying, we mandate shots for kids right now before they can attend school and there are some who suffer adverse effects.

True.  But here’s the difference – they’re for communicable diseases that can spread quickly in schools and cause all sorts of problems up to and including death.  Most Americans realize the difference between a program designed to prevent the spread of a communicable disease and one that isn’t.  They accept the need for the shots to prevent communicable diseases among children as well as the risk associated with them.

The HPV vaccine is designed to help prevent a non-communicable disease.  It isn’t a “public health” matter or threat the same way the communicable diseases are.  So the vaccine should be optional in terms of whether or not a person decides to chose to be vaccinated.  

Additionally there are some pretty bad side effects if a child has a negative reaction.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported after vaccination with Gardasil® . GBS is a rare neurologic disorder that causes muscle weakness. It occurs in 1-2 out of every 100,000 people in their teens. A number of infections have been associated with GBS. There has been no indication that Gardasil® increases the rate of GBS above the rate expected in the general population, whether or not they were vaccinated.

Blood Clots

There have been some reports of blood clots in females after receiving Gardasil®. These clots have occurred in the heart, lungs, and legs. Most of these people had a risk of getting blood clots, such as taking oral contraceptives (the birth control pill), smoking, obesity, and other risk factors.

Deaths

As of June 22, 2011 there have been a total 68 VAERS reports of death among those who have received Gardasil® . There were 54 reports among females, 3 were among males, and 11 were reports of unknown gender. Thirty two of the total death reports have been confirmed and 36 remain unconfirmed due to no identifiable patient information in the report such as a name and contact information to confirm the report. A death report is confirmed (verified) after a medical doctor reviews the report and any associated records. In the 32 reports confirmed, there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine and some reports indicated a cause of death unrelated to vaccination.

It is obviously unclear if Gardasil was the culprit here, but then it’s also unclear it wasn’t.  However, it does seem rather interesting that 68 youngsters died after its administration.  That many young people dying in close relation to the administration of the vaccine is at least highly suspicious.

You could write it off to bad screening … why was it administered to those people who had risks of getting blood clots.  But that’s irrelevant if it is mandated, isn’t it?

Unless the mandate specifically states such exceptions, everyone, to include those with the risks outlined, are going to get the vaccine and health care workers aren’t going to bother to screen, are they?

And of course that brings us to the real problem.  The mandate.  Sort of hard to be outraged about ObamaCare’s mandate when you’ve been mandating things yourself, and without even a legislative okay – not that that would justify a mandate.  However, the point is Perry decided to do this with an executive order, thereby placing the entire fiasco squarely on his shoulders.

The point, of course, is what he did is not exactly in keeping with what he claims he wants to do as president, i.e. “get Washington (government) out of our lives”.  His action in this case was exactly the opposite.  And while, as he claims, his intentions were good, we all know the road to hell – and serfdom – are paved with good intentions.

“At the end of the day, this was about trying to stop a cancer,” Perry said. “At the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life.”

Not your job, Governor, at least in this context.  And especially by executive order mandate.

Compound this mess with the fact that also a hint of political cronyism involved:

“There was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate,” Bachmann said. “The governor’s former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company.”

The company in question is Merck and his former chief of staff was indeed it’s chief lobbyist.  And we know that sort of former relationship buys access in political circles.   And we also know that fosters cronyism.  None of that may be the case here, but politicians running for president can’t really afford that sort of implication, can they?

Perry shot back that he was offended that anyone would think, after raising $30 million dollars that he could be bought off by a $5,000 campaign contribution.  Well he wasn’t running for president then was he?

Lots of questions.  Less than satisfactory answers to this point.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, “Romneycare” still stands as my answer to any question Mitt Romney might ask.  If you think Perry’s answer was unsatisfactory about the HPV vaccine, I’ve still yet to hear one from Romney about his mandated health care for MA.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 13 Sep 11

Today’s little economic snapshots:

A sharp drop in oil prices reduced import prices by –0.4%. Export prices, conversely, rose by 0.5%. On a year-over-year basis, import prices have risen by 13%, while export prices have gone up by 9.6%.

For the sixth straight month, business confidence has fallen as the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 1.8 points in August to 88.1.

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index fell 1.4% in August, with the index reading at 94.62, as nationwide trucking activity dropped slightly.

In weekly retail sales, ICSC-Goldman Store Sales rose 1.3% on a post-Hurricane Irene burst of sales last week, with year-over-year sales up 3.3%. Redbook, meanwhile, reports year-over year sales were up 4.5%.

~
Dale Franks
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Its official–a supermajority think we’re over-regulated

And frankly, I think they’re right:

– There is little appetite among American voters for additional regulations coming out of Washington.  Three quarters (74%) of voters throughout the country believe that businesses and consumers are over-regulated.  Further, another two thirds (67%) believe that regulations have increased over the past few years.   These percentages include majorities of all partisan affiliations, with 91% of Republicans, 75% of Independents and 58% of Democrats saying businesses/consumers are over-regulated.

Now you may argue that “over-regulation” may mean different things to different groups.  However in each case the term “over” has specific meaning – it means there’s too much regulation.  While they may argue about the degree of over-regulation, it appears that each and every group sees over-regulation in the same and proper light.

– A key fear among voters is that regulations will hinder job creation, as most believe the result of new regulation will be either job losses (47%) or increased prices for American made goods and services (22%).

Or both.  You see, businesses will absorb only so much (job losses) before passing along the cost of regulatory compliance in the cost of their goods and services.  We’re well past the first part in this recession.  Businesses are about as lean and mean as they can stand to be and still function well.  Additional regulatory cost, then, is likely to be passed on to consumers – another among many reasons consumer confidence is down.

– More than two thirds (70%) believe increasing the number of regulations on American businesses will result in more jobs moving overseas.  Also, majorities agree that the increasing number of regulations have created uncertainty for large and small businesses (66%), and that agencies who enforce regulations fail to consider how their decisions lead to increased prices for consumers and job losses (69%).

All three of these beliefs among those polled is on the money.   The amount of regulation is a key consideration for businesses when they assess a business climate.  Their cost is calculated in the cost of doing business there.  And when that cost is deemed to be too much or too unreasonable, businesses look around for a less costly place to establish themselves.  We’ve seen this right here in the US as states with more regulation and higher taxes lose businesses to states that impose a less costly regime of taxes and regulations.  They don’t call the Midwest the “Rust Belt” for nothing.

And those polled are right when they say they believe those who impose regulations “fail to consider how their decisions lead to increased prices for consumers and job losses”.  But while regulators may not consider it, voters apparently do:

– One of the highest points of agreement in the survey is the fact that 73% concur that “every time the federal government mandates a new regulation on America’s large and small business, the prices of American made good and services like gasoline and food go up.”  Only 22% supported the view that “while many federal regulations might be just another burden to operations of America’s large and small businesses, customers do not see major cost increases for American made goods and services like gasoline and food.”

In a study, The Small Business Association found that the regulatory burden on small business in this country was quite high:

The research finds that the cost of federal regulations totals $1.1 trillion; the cost per employee for firms with fewer than 20 employees is $7,647.

Under 20 employees is indeed a “small business” yet most would agree, $7,647 in compliance costs per employee is a lot of money.  It is over $140,000 for the 20 employee firm.  That money has to be made up somewhere, just to break even, much less turn a profit.   And it is clear that depending on the type of firm and needs of the employer, any number of employees could be hired for that amount.  And don’t forget, small businesses account for about 80% of the jobs in the US.

So it is clear that there’s a tremendous regulatory burden that has been placed on the businesses of America that most feel over-regulate them and cost jobs and increase prices. 

There’s a move afoot within the Obama administration to cut regulation.  That’s a good thing.  But we have to remember, it’s the Obama administration where they usually talk the talk and never walk the walk.   One way to get the economy moving is to lift some of the burdensome regulation and its related costs.

So who should be leading this charge?  The executive branch.  And, as the poll indicates, most voters don’t understand that it is at that branch the buck stops.  But they are clear in what they want – much more consideration and an amended approval process before new regulations are imposed:

– Voters are simply unaware that Congress is not in a lead position with regard to regulation, as a majority say that Congress (52%) creates regulations. However, there is a strong desire for checks and balances in creating regulations, as two thirds (65%) favor requiring regulations be approved by Congress and the President before they are enforced.  Voters do not want a regulatory process that takes away legislative duties reserved for Congress – just as they do not want judges legislating from the bench.  This strong support for Congressional involvement is consistent across partisan groups, including among Democrats (67%), Republicans (65%) and Independents (64%).

Of course that would mean that most oppose the unilateral imposition of new regulation by the executive branch as we’ve seen during this administration. 

All that is not to say that at some level, most Americans see some necessity for regulation:

– There are some positive connections to regulations, with solid majorities saying they are positively impacted by those that require certain safety levels for drinking water (72%) or require controls to ensure better safety at schools and in the workplace (66%).

But, not like this:

– When presented with a lengthy explanation of the Boeing case — where the federal government has filed a lawsuit over the their motivations for locating a new facility in the non-union state of South Carolina — fully 78% of voters side with Boeing in agreeing that a business should be able to open a facility in any state, and that the government should not be involve in the decision about where Boeing or any company locates new plants.

A very interesting poll, and one that needs to be in front of every politician and department executive in government.  Back off, unchain the engine of prosperity and listen to the people.   They’re pretty clear here in what they want.  A less costly and intrusive regulatory regime and government out of places it doesn’t belong – like in the Boeing example.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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