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OPINION

Disheartening: Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill to Grow Government

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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There’s always a lot of talk about the benefits of reaching across the aisle. In Washington, it seems like cooperation between the two pillars of political power rarely happens. That makes it all the more disheartening when the Democrats and Republicans reach bipartisan agreement, but in a way that suffocates the American people.

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Maybe growing the federal government is the only thing the two parties can agree on.

Last week, a Hearing Aid Bill passed in the house and the Over-the-Counter-Hearing Aid Act of 2017 has been presented in the Senate. The bipartisan legislation is designed to make hearing aids available over the counter at low cost and without a prescription for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Sounds innocuous enough, but it isn’t.

The Senate version is Co-sponsored by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA.) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) while the House version is led by Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Joe Kennedy III (D-MA). It is simply another increase in power for the Federal Drug Administration with far reaching potential for crony-capitalist abuse. The bill hurts the American people and will cause many cheap, non-medical device hearing amplifiers currently available over the counter to fall under the purview of a new bureaucracy…the FDA. Why? So they become more expensive and don’t eat as much into Warren’s favored companies’ market share.

I would expect both Congressman Kennedy and Senator Warren to be all over the chance to grow government, but it is disappointing to see Grassley and Blackburn sign onto this.

Crony capitalism is alive and well in Massachusetts. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that both representatives from Massachusetts are for this legislation given that fact the Bose, a maker of hearing aids, is based in Massachusetts and has donated heavily to the lobbying efforts of this bill. Bose stands to enjoy inflated profits if this bill passes thanks their good friends in government.

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It is estimated that getting a new product approved by the FDA costs upwards of a billion dollars. It takes a lot of greasing the skids to get wheels of government turning.

The FDA has a history of rigging the game. The EpiPen scandal is a perfect example. The FDA slowed down approval of certain competitors to hurt their chances of competing with EpiPen. They then turned a product that saves kids’ lives that should cost under $30 to a product that is over $300 a piece! They historically cause pricing to rise, safety to decrease, and by and large lower the quality of innovation throughout America. They are known to be good at one thing…cronyism.

Why would we want to hand a behemoth like that to an entire new segment of the formerly free market? We wouldn’t of course, but this bipartisan group of legislators are pushing for it. States should have the freedom to control what is sold in their states without the FDA breathing down their neck at every turn. With each year the federal government claims bigger swaths of our economy and pulls it under their control. This is just an attempt to grab another piece of the pie.

Bills like this actually lead to more crime and black-market trade by pushing the price of everyday products to unreasonable and not market driven levels.

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When the two parties come together and agree to increase the size of government at the expense of the everyday consumer it’s time to push back. Some Senators (Cornyn, Roberts, and Collins) have stated they will try to “Fix” the House bill before it comes to the Senate.

Forgive me if I feel a dog who’s being told he’s going to the vet to be “Fixed”. When will the legislators learn to leave enough alone when it comes to our free market system? The answer is as murky as the swamp that refuses to be drained.

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