As he was making the transition from portraying Stuart Smalley to portraying a Democratic Senator, Al Franken penned a 2003 left-wing screed entitled Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them). Ironically, Franken’s first legislative accomplishment—a sop to the personal-injury bar—has formed the punch-line for late-night comedy skits as well as yet more lies from the lawsuit industry and its apologists.
The Litigation Lobby’s Attacks
Before turning to Mr. Franken’s legislation, some background is in order. As the director of the Center for Legal Policy at the Manhattan Institute, I oversee the nation’s leading policy center devoted to reforming lawsuit abuse in America. One of our series of publications, satirically entitled Trial Lawyers, Inc., exposes the litigation industry’s business model—which taxes Americans to the tune of $250 billion annually in direct costs alone. As a percentage of GDP, America spends twice as much on tort litigation as Germany and three times as much as Britain or France.