Friday, July 01, 2005

WTF happened to the GOP of WFB?

It might appear to some that I’m an incorrigible contrarian, in light of my dim view of Dems (generally speaking) or my critique of the Libertarian Party’s pacifist platform. The reality is, quite simply, that I'm a strong advocate of inherent individual rights, which is to say maximum liberty and its preservation, respectively. All facets of Liberty. I consider such advocacy to be a duty and one that I take very seriously, irrespective of the offending Party. Speaking of which, it seems that the GOP, or at least their leader in the US Senate, has recently proposed an assault on economic liberty. What’s more, the problem that Frist presumes to solve is an “artificial” one.
"Drug advertisements are fuel to America's skyrocketing prescription-drug costs," Frist says in remarks prepared for delivery in the Senate. "They create an artificial demand. And they drive up our nation's overall health care costs."
Didn’t the Republican Party, once upon a time, boast that they were the go-to party for free market capitalism? Well...we are nearly twenty years removed from Reaganomics. Additionally, Mr. Bush signed the Medicare Monstrosity into law and has vetoed exactly ZERO "spending bills" thus far…fiscal responsibility my ass.

Leaving behind, for the moment, any hopes in the near term for any measurable spending restraint by the GOP majority (all three branches of government no less), one might still expect Republicans to fulfill the promises of “smaller government”, enumerated in the 1994 Contract with America. Alas, the pull of populism seems to have insidiously crept in as a means of retaining control of Congress for decades, like the Democrats did after FDR. Besides, what good is an inordinate amount of power if it’s not exercised to “help” people?
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, an industry trade group, has promised to come up with an advertising code of conduct. Former representative Billy Tauzin, R-La., head of the industry group, said drug advertising "is a free-speech issue" but acknowledged that these ads are due for some change.

Frist believes the code should include a moratorium on ads for drugs that have been on the market less than two years. The Government Accountability Office study that Frist is requesting could be used as the basis for legislation to impose federal restrictions if Frist is not satisfied with the industry's voluntary measures.
What?! Frist’s plan would be laughable if its implications were not so serious. Where has the Republican Party of William F. Buckley Jr. gone? You know, the one that actually opposed onerous regulation and was the friend of libertarians. Even worse, adding insult to injury is the stated motivation for the proposed “federal restrictions”: supposed excessive demand for prescription drugs, which in English means: “too many choices for mere individuals”. Senator Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) apparently believes that “ordinary” people ought not to be at liberty to “ask their doctor if X pill is right for them”. This flies in the face of the unencumbered economic freedom that has enabled the Western World, and America particularly, to have a standard of living that was unthinkable before capitalism became normative.

Who knows, maybe Clara of Liberty Belles (the sister blog [shameless pun] of Catallarchy) is correct in her assumption about Frist’s true motivation: “How will Dr. Frist address the problem of ‘artificial demand’ for his presidency when he runs for office in 2008, buying TV time and traveling the country?” How indeed, Dr. Frist…