Free Market Fundamentalist is an Atlantic Sentinel blog with an exaggerated faith in the ability of unfettered laissez-faire capitalism to promote opportunity and deliver prosperity. It derives inspiration from Austrian School economics and Objectivism to champion personal liberty, private entrepreneurship and productivity, rational self-interest and limited government.
Repression Is the Wrong Approach to America’s Opioid Epidemic
One of the few silver linings to last year’s presidential election in the United States was that candidates from both major parties recognized that opioid addiction should be treated as a public-health, rather than a law-enforcement, problem.
Which makes it all the more disheartening that Donald Trump is taking exactly the wrong approach to this crisis.
Politico reports that the new president believes in a “tough law-and-order approach” to arrest the rise in drug overdose deaths.
142 Americans die from opioid abuse every day. That is more than die in car accidents or from guns.
The crisis is concentrated in postindustrial states like Kentucky and West Virginia: the heart of Trumpland. Read more
Clinton’s Plan to Control Drug Prices Seems Like an Overreach
Hillary Clinton has a new plan to stop what she considers “unjustified” increases in drug prices.
Slate reports that her plan comes down to European-style price control.
As president, Clinton would create a task force of regulators with the power to decide whether price increases on old, essential medicines and devices were reasonable given product improvements and the amount of competition in the market. If not, the task force would have the power to mete out punishments to companies that were trying to profiteer, potentially with fines.
Fines would still require an act of Congress, where market-friendly Republicans are likely to retain their majority in the House of Representatives and block such penalties.
Nonetheless, as Slate puts it, “Clinton is subtly sending the message that she’s comfortable moving toward a more European system in which regulators have a direct say not just in what drug companies can charge the government, but what they can charge the rest of the public, too.”
It may not happen in the first four years of a Hillary Clinton presidency, but price controls are becoming Democratic Party policy — which means they could happen eventually. Read more
Are there another people in Europe so determined to shoot themselves in the foot as the Greeks?
Against all the advice of other euro states, they elected — twice — in recent years leaders who vowed to reverse what little progress had been made to liberalize the Balkan nation’s economy. Labor market reforms came undone last year. Privatizations were canceled or pushed back.
The country only agreed to sustain reforms in return for a third, €86 billion bailout this summer when it, once again, teetered on the brink of default.
Now promises have already been broken and targets missed. Greece is typically slow to implement the economic policy changes it commits to undertake. Yet there seems to be no holdup in policies that make things worse. Read more