Rich Tucker

Do private companies want to kill their customers?

It seems like a goofy question. Clearly, if a company killed its customers, there’d be nobody to buy its products and it’d go out of business. But many liberals don’t see it that way. In their eyes, a powerful government is all that’s protecting us from dangerous killer corporations. Look no further than the infamous health-care summit for proof.

“We could set up a system where food was probably cheaper than it is right now,” President Obama explained, “if we just eliminated meat inspectors and -- and we eliminated any regulations in terms of how food’s distributed and how it’s stored.”

Well, yes we could. And why would that be bad, exactly? “I’ll bet, in terms of drug prices, we would definitely reduce prescription drug prices if we didn’t have a drug administration that makes sure that we test the drugs so that they don’t kill us,” the president concluded.

So, meat companies, drug manufacturers -- they’d apparently be happy to kill you if they could. Just be glad you’ve got Washington’s efficient bureaucrats standing between you and them.

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The truth, of course, is that the free-enterprise system and its drive for profits is what really protects us. Remember the Topps Meat Company of New Jersey? Probably not.

In the fall of 2007 it shipped frozen hamburgers tainted with E. coli. It recalled the meat, but ended up shutting down almost immediately. “In one week we have gone from the largest U.S. manufacturer of frozen hamburgers to a company that cannot overcome the economic reality of a recall this large,” COO Anthony D’Urso announced. No government bureaucracy could react that quickly or decisively. No doubt other meat companies took note.

So too with drugs. The Food and Drug Administration’s approval process is flawed, and may be keeping life-saving drugs off the market. “Today, not only can the agency not lead, it cannot even keep up with the advances in science,” the Science and Technology Subcommittee of the FDA Science Board admitted after an internal review in 2007.

That brings us back to health care. In one respect at least, the president’s summit meeting was useful. It allowed liberals to detail what they really want. Not “reform” that “bends the cost curve,” but a federal takeover of the insurance system.

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for