Tobacco

And the Days of Congress Doing the Bidding of Philip Morris Have Begun

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Michael Siegel catches Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in this whopper:

The days of Congress doing the bidding of the tobacco industry are over. This long overdue legislation would give FDA broad powers to regulate tobacco products and protect public health.

The bill to which Waxman refers, which he is co-sponsoring, is avidly supported by Philip Morris,  which thinks FDA regulation will help solidify its position as the leading cigarette manufacturer. Take that, Big Tobacco!

NEXT: What Do They Have, Little Breasts on Them?

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  1. When did “not interfering in the affairs of private transactions” becoming “doing the bidding of private industry”?

  2. Puhleez doan thro me into dat ol’ briar patch!

    – Josh

  3. Or, to put it the “free minds, free markets” way:

    If Congress wants to hurt the tobacco market as much as possible, then they should allow it / encourage it to become oligoplized, monopolized and otherwise all consolidated up. then there is less competition and without competition, prices go up as the remaining manufacturers seek rent on their (its?) commanding market position.

    Presumably Congress does want to drive up prices in the cigarette market, and to have manufacturers do just this kind of rent seeking. For reasons of public health.

    Ergo, it makes sense for them to put Phillip Morris in the driver’s seat.

  4. MP, it’s pretty straight forward:

    Phillip Morriss hates competition. New competitors with newer equipment, and a organizational structure optimized for the current market will be able to undercut them, making th lives of management difficult.

    However, they have lots of cash on hand, so they go and buy a criminal gangs’ services in preventing competitors from setting up shop.

    The particular gang whose services they have purchased is the most powerful organized crime family in the world, but much of their power comes from fooling people into giving them money and submitting to their extortions and thefts. Rather than piss off people by blatantly burning down factories and breaking their victims’ legs, the criminal gang makes a big deal about how they really are the people’s friend, and how they are “protecting” the people from lower-costs and/or higher quality products.

  5. What could FDA do to regulate tobacco products that would protect public health? Is there anything currently known about cigarets that their makers would be unwilling to improve, but which would be safety improvements?

    Usually the argument for product safety regulation is either to force the business and customers to sacrifice some economy and/or performance in favor of safety, or to force the business to disclose some embarrassing detail about the product affecting safety. Does anybody (and I mean anybody) seriously believe either such case applies here?

  6. FDA regulation cost big dollars. PM USA has been spending big bucks the past several years to bring their procedures up to FDA code. They have a huge head start on the other companies. How many smaller ones will crumble under the regulatory stress is another thing. Why aren’t there small drug companies?

  7. There are small drug cos.

  8. But we’re still subsidizing tobacco farmers, right?

  9. Compare and contrast: Wal-Mart embracing higher minimum-wage laws.

  10. jennifer,

    I believe we stopped subsidizing tobacco farmers with a large one-time payout a few years ago.

    How is it that States can tax cigarettes at two different rates? Based on whether they were part of the MSA or not. They tax non-settlement cigs at 50 cents higher to remove the “advantage” of not being in the settlement.

  11. A perfect example of why the left is wrong about everything, even when they’re right. Because left’s answer to every problem is to put government in charge of it, thus making it even worse.

  12. I heart my congressman.

  13. “”A perfect example of why the left is wrong about everything, even when they’re right. Because left’s answer to every problem is to put government in charge of it, thus making it even worse.”””

    If that’s a “left” problem, how do you explain the last 12 years of Congress. And, you seem to be ignoring the fact that Republicans are pushing anti-smoking or anti-this, anti-that laws as fast as anyone on the left.

    The fact that Rudy is the front runner should have people from the right screaming foul, but they would rather complain about what the “left” is doing instead of bucking up and getting their own house in order. Winning an election is more important them than preserving rights of the citizen.

    Warren, the fact is that “left or right”, “D or R” has nothing to do with it. Government will always try to put its self in charge. No party has a monopoly on that.

    I have never seen any political party move to give citizens all the rights provided by the Constitution or embrace the ideologies of freedom that the founding fathers placed in the Declaration of Independence.

    Almost everytime I try to pursue happiness, the left and the right try to stop me.

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