Amerika

If you don’t like CEO Martin Shkreli, you don’t like post-modern Amerika

the_eye_of_greed

If E-VIL, Greeeeeedy 1%-er Martin Shkreli didn’t exist, some Leftist filmmaker out in Hollyorc would have to invent the man. Before Martin Shkreli hatched, Oliver Stone did. The character in Wall Street was named Gordon Gekko and his famous “Greed is Good” soliloquy justifies this month’s Netflix Bill. I’ll save you the cost. Here goes.

So what did Martin Shkreli do that was vile, sick and amoral? He raised the price of a drug his corporation sold and reaped every penny of profit he could from it. The drug, Daraprim, treats parasitic infections. It used to cost $13.50 a pill. It now costs $750. Why did Mean, Old Martin charge such an exorbitant price? Because he could.

I can imagine the scene from an updated version of A Christmas Carol.

Cratchett: “Please, Mr. Shkreli! My son Tiny Tim has a compromised immune system and your Daraprim pills are his only hope to wipe out his parasites. I can’t afford $750 per pill….What will I do?”

Shkreli: “Bob, Old Buddy, Old Pal, Old Schmuck, let’s go through the relevant options here. 1) You can get your defecation in sequence and learn how to sell those little, pruned nuts off. Then you can afford whatever the fornication I feel like charging you and Tiny Tim will live to see his Bar Mitzvah. Or 2) You can invest in a good, sturdy shovel and a warm pair of gloves because, let’s face it Sparky, your ass is broke and the undertakers here don’t work cheaply.”

Now we all know the scene I created above would never come to pass. I’m sure people with sick children are that desperate and I’m sure Martin Shkreli is genuinely that obnoxious a mentula. He’d piss on cute, little Tiny Tim and laugh if it gave the poor tyke pneumonia. It’s just that both Mr. Cratchett and Mr. Shkreli have an ally here. That keeps Tiny Tim alive and keeps Martin Shkreli well supplied with nose-candy for all his holiday partying this winter. It’s you, it’s me and all the other suckers imprisoned in the US cartelcare, oops I mean healthcare system.

Insurance companies will pony up. They will do so voluntarily, or ObamaCare will be tweeked a notch to make them pony up voluntarily. What Mr. Shkreli has done here is reveal three flaws with our current society that manifest themselves in our screwed healthcare system.

  1. We are altruistic beyond all reason. People who have compromised immune systems are going to have a very hard time surviving, even if you microwave all their parasites with the wonder-pill. You could teach 500 kids in Detroit how to read for the price of saving Tiny Tim until he reaches adulthood and is too sickly to ever hold a full time job. Or you could fail to do either while expending the money to do one or both. Or you could draw the line on this pathological altruism somewhere and perform the incredibly hard cost-benefit analysis that is necessary.
  2. And here’s the kicker! If either Cratchett or Shkreli invested their own money in saving Tiny Tim, I’d say ‘God Bless” and wish them a mountain of luck. They aren’t. They are investing your money and not even asking please or telling you thank you. You are saving Tiny Tim (and indulging whatever itch Mr. Shkreli feels like scratching) every time you pay for that increase in your health insurance premium. Neither Cratchett nor Shkreli has to wonder whether saving Tiny Tim is worth the fight.
  3. Neither Shkreli nor any other drug maker (or other economic actor) has any moral or practical economic limit on what they can screw over you, the health-insurance premium payer for. We are all individuals that get to do our own thing. Shkreli’s thing is robbing the insurance industry and by extension all of its customers. Unlike Mark Zuckerberg who buys regulatory capture over the immigration process to artificially lower his labor costs, Shkreli just puts that .45 right up against your dome and calls for your wallet. If anything, I like him compared to Zuckerberg. There’s no treacly pretense of any decency. The red claws and fangs are out there in clear view.

So you’re probably thinking this guy Shkreli should have a .50cal sniper round with his name on it. Maybe you lack the educational background to properly discuss his business ethics, but he can go take them up with Jolly Old Saint Pete. I’d have to agree with you on that one. Guys like Martin Shkreli have a notch in the ecosystem, but a wise man makes bloody well sure they don’t get to practice it near his location. But that brings me to my final point here.

If you don’t like Martin Shkreli, you don’t like our contemporary society. Amerika is in part Martin Shkreli. He’s just way more blatant about the whole thing than Bono, Bill Gates or Bill Clinton. He doesn’t tell you how much he cares. He shows you by skinning you and leaving you for dead.

Martin Shkreli is a serviceable villain. He is truly malicious, but his greed is good. It clarifies a whole bunch of things that the typical Amerikan Crony Kapitalist would rather leave carefully obscured. If you want to see him stopped, than you have to help dismantle the Government-Capitalist Complex that thrives on regulatory capture and dishonest, corrupted democracy. Shkreli, like Barack Obama, like Neal DeGrasse Tyson, like Speaker Ryan, Like Hillary, like Jeb Bush, is Post-Modern Amerika. We have met the enemy. Is he staring back at you out of the mirror this morning?

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