Lobbying is theft
A couple of weeks ago I commented about the ethical assumptions that seemed to lie behind a statement I found on another blog, that “universal healthcare is theft”. Now Liz Dyer has drawn my attention to this:
Drugmakers, hospitals and insurers continued to pour millions of dollars into lobbying during the second quarter of this year, hoping to limit the damage to their bottom line as lawmakers and the Obama administration wrangle over landmark health-care legislation.
New disclosure reports that began arriving Monday in Congress showed familiar players at the top of the health-care influence heap, including $6.2 million in lobbying by the dominant Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and $4 million by the American Medical Association.
Many health companies and associations increased their first-quarter lobbying expenditures, sometimes dramatically. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association upped its lobbying expenditures by a full million, to 2.8 million dollars in the second quarter; GlaxoSmithKline’s spending jumped from $1.8 million to $2.3 million; Novartis grew from $1.4 million to $1.8 million; and Metlife Group reported $1.7 million, up nearly 50 percent. Allstate, which spent less than $900,000 on lobbying through March, boosted its spending to more than $1.5 million from April to June.
Those who attempted to defend (rather unconvincingly, I think) the statement that “universal healthcare is theft” did so with some rather obscure arguments about taxes. But it seems to me that, using the same kind of reasoning, one could make a much stronger case for saying that the kind of lobbying activity described in the article cited above is theft. These people are simply stealing from the sick.
This kind of lobbying is theft.