False, misleading or fraudulent claims have long brought the wrath of juries, judges and government agencies down on perpetrators. So have substandard manufacturing practices.
* GlaxoSmith Klein has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $750-million fine for manufacturing deficiencies at a former pharmaceuticals plant. Even though there was no indication of patient harm, said the US attorney, the fine was needed “to pressure companies to follow the rules.”
* Johnson & Johnson was recently slapped with a $258-million jury verdict for allegedly misleading claims about the safety and superiority of an antipsychotic drug. J&J’s actions “defrauded the Louisiana Medicaid system,” prosecutors argued. (The company intends to appeal.)
* The Feds have also prosecuted baseball players for lying to congressional investigators about using performance-enhancing steroids. Said a prosecutor: “Even when you’re just providing information to the Legislative Branch, you need to be truthful.”
Who could oppose following the rules, making quality products and being honest? But shouldn’t these values apply where far more is at stake than a few companies, pills, baseball records or bad role models? Shouldn’t we demand that these rules apply to people and actions that have unprecedented impact on lives, livelihoods, liberties and communities throughout the country?
Can we afford to continue having double standards that let government officials violate basic standards of honesty and accountability that they apply “vigorously” to citizens and companies? Why should legislators, regulators and investigators be exempt from rules they devise and impose on everyone else? Shouldn’t we teach our kids that government officials mustn’t lie to us, either?
Few examples are as immediate, costly and far-reaching as the new ozone, dust, mercury and carbon dioxide rules that EPA regulators are trying to impose, under the guise of protecting air quality, planetary climate and human health. Few corporate executives or citizens are as exempt from basic legal standards as the energy and climate czars, czarinas, bureaucrats, and government-funded scientists and activists who seek to inflict their anti-hydrocarbon agenda on us, regardless of the science – or the impacts on jobs, prosperity, families and civil rights progress.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s new mercury, ozone and soot rules alone would eliminate up to 76,000 megawatts of generating capacity by 2015, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation calculates. That’s 7% of total US electric generating capacity – enough to power 38,000,000 homes under normal conditions. It’s 1.2 times the all-time peak electricity demand record for the entire state of Texas.
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