Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Anti-Tobacco Bill Helps Philip Morris

Here's a good example of a 'see, I told you so!" story about corporate-government collusion.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions panel voted by a tally of 13-8 to approve legislation authorizing the Food and Drug Administration to restrict and regulate tobacco advertising and health hazard labeling.

The legislation was drafted after several years of negotiations with led by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and former Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) with help from health groups and tobacco giant Philip Morris.

"Kennedy said at the meeting that Philip Morris had "nothing to do with our decision" and he supported the clove ban as long as it is WTO compliant.

Philip Morris's competitors are strongly opposed to the overall bill, saying it would lock in Philip Morris's dominant market share. The panel rejected several amendments by Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who represents R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in his home state of North Carolina. Kennedy said that Burr's amendments would undermine the legislation.

After the hearing, Burr said he would not rule out trying to hold up the bill on the Senate floor.

Enzi, the top Republican on the panel, also opposes the legislation and has objected to Philip Morris's involvement.

"If this bill is good for big tobacco, how can it be good for public health?" Enzi asked after the hearing. "The fact is, it can't. This bill is nothing more than a 'Marlboro Protection Act,' written to keep Philip Morris at the top of the tobacco market."

Enzi has introduced his own bill that would aim to greatly shrink the size of the tobacco market over the next 20 years.

A company statement issued by Altria said the company will "continue to lend our full support to this process."

Here's the full story: Anti-tobacco Bill passes Senate Panel

Note for the Michael Moore fans out there - this is not free-market capitalism. In a real free market health groups would make their case to the people directly. The Tobacco companies would probably do the same. The better and hopefully more sensible ideas would win out, but at least the people would decide.

By discussing the matter with the federal government, legislation gets crafted to benefit Philip Morris at the expense of their competitors. This ends up as government sponsorship of Philip Morris and Big Tobacco is still king.

The lesser of two (or more) evils is still evil.

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Blogger Poetic Marketer said...

To John "The Broadlighter",

Thanks! You said it right!! This proposed anti-tobacco bill, as with most bills our supposedly fair government attempts to pass are one-sided, in their favor, of course!
Any organization that ought to help consumers would be the WTO if they make their policies with any reason at all and not just influenced by the U.S. government.
Any comments would be appreciated about this and my bloggiong attempts too!!
Your blog looks great!!!


5:42 PM  

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