John Stossel: Bullies rule when we let them
Take the Food and Drug Administration. It seems like the most helpful part of government: It supervises testing to make sure greedy drug companies don't sell us dangerous stuff.
It taught politicians and bureaucracy that slower is better.
Today, it takes up to 15 years to get a new drug approved. Though most devices and drugs never are.
What do Americans lose when regulators say "no"?
Usually, we never find out. We don't know what vaccines or painkillers are never developed because regulation discouraged companies from trying something new.
Uterine prolapse is a common and nasty complication of childbearing. It causes urinary incontinence and terminates most couples' sex lives. Complicated surgery and clumsy devices didn't offer much help until device companies developed implants that often did.
The bullies' mandate unleashed a hornets' nest of tort lawyers. They advertised, "Did your device fail? Call, and we will get you money!" They soon piled up so many suits that device manufacturers' insurers canceled liability coverage. Device companies then withdrew devices from the market.
Reasonable people can debate whether the FDA assures product efficacy and safety. But the regulatory boot always presses toward delay.
In rare cases, when new devices are approved, there is a new obstacle: complex marketing restrictions. Say something about your product that the government doesn't like, and you may be fined. The Office of the Inspector General and federal and state prosecutors troll for rule violations, then sue and fine.
There are only two ways to do things in life: voluntarily or by force. Government is force. Government bureaucrats, who spend their whole lives pushing the rest of us around, easily become bullies.
Twenty-two million government workers delay the Keystone XL oil pipeline, raid poker games, force us to put ethanol in cars, prohibit drugs and medical devices that might make our lives better, take about half our money, and jail more citizens than even China and Russia do.
John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed."
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