Yet more relevant when the corporate criminals are drug dealers.
Also, keep in mind a lot of this is being done with an eye to the future. In a very real way, the Sacklers are only, what? Maybe 8 to 10% of the problem? The rest of the opioids came from other corporations. So you get a settlement with the little guy, all of a sudden you're in a better position to pressure the other guys.
Maybe it does suck. Maybe it is infuriating. But the alternative is that you potentially lose leverage and you never get any of the bad guys. I guess I'm just saying, this stuff is harder than people think it is.
Settlements for criminal conduct should be illegal full stop. Money shouldn’t be a get out of jail free card.
But the alternative is that you potentially lose leverage and you never get any of the bad guys.
I see the alternative as voting in politicians who will pass laws and regulations with teeth, not kowtow to lobbyists.
What a joke.
Based on what?
We saw similar pronouncements following Elizabeth Holmes' civil charges. And pretty much every scandal preceding and succeeding that.
This settlement is similar to the J&J public-nuisance ruling in Oklahoma. Public nuisance does not require proving intent. Proving intent is difficult.
Many believe prosecutors in the United States, Canada, and Europe, will find evidence of ill intent amongst members of the Sackler family. That would lead to additional confiscations of property and, if criminal convictions can be attained, potentially even jail time.
But that's a longer, more difficult and more expensive process. Hence why this comes first.
And before you say "this comes first" or "we're not there yet" just think back to the 2008 banking crisis, and how the people who got incredibly rich(er) off of the backs of working class people are still very much incredibly rich, many still working in the industry they royally screwed up in.
Then again, having all that wealth, would one still care?
What about this parallels the lives of the Kennedys?
There is always talk about "if companies are people, how do we punish them when they break the law?". Well, what about nationalizing them for the public good for a certain number of years that matches what a person would get in prison for a similar crime?
Purdue Pharmaceuticals could be put under the umbrella of Medicaid and ordered to manufacture generic drugs for the next 30 to 50 years (or forever if contributing to tens of thousands of deaths would be equivalent to a life sentence)
Forcing their IP into the public domain followed by a liquidation of their hard assets would be simpler, and not put the U.S. government in the narcotics business.
(Downvoters are on the wrong side of history. Nationalizing companies is a failed experiment. Privatization of state-owned companies is one of the few things nearly everyone agree on, from the US to Sweden to putatively Marxist countries like Vietnam: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphjennings/2018/12/30/vietna...)
That gave me a good belly laugh. In the metrics I care about, Amtrak could be seen to represent the government at their best.
The trains run on time, are more comfortable than flying, and often cheaper too. The dining cars are surprisingly good (snack cars are lackluster though), and I've found every Amtrak employee I've ever dealt with to be a kind and courteous professional. And they look after their customers in other respects too, such as chasing away the notorious serial-gropists known as the TSA. Amtrak treats regular people like humanely in a way that contrasts sharply with how American airlines behave.
From my perspective the primary problem with Amtrak is disappointing coverage of the country, so yes I want more Amtraks!
(Incidentally, my experience with them is more limited, but I found the workers of the Alaska Marine Highway, a ferry service operated by the state of Alaska, to be similarly pleasant people. So maybe there is a trend here..)
Amtrak has abysmal reliability, even on the Northeast Corridor (which is Amtrak-owned and doesn't share traffic with freight lines). On-time performance on the northeast corridor is just 75% https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/07/10/the-s.... Many scheduled flights along that route (e.g. DCA to JFK or LGA) have 90% on-time performance. And of course, trains aren't supposed to have airline-like delays. One of the key selling points of trains is that they don't have to deal with airport congestion, late arriving equipment, etc., and so relatively short intercity trips are predictable and hassle-free. (Unlike Amtrak.) My wife and I rode Amtrak twice a day for two years between DC and Delaware. It was a nightmare. Routinely delayed trains, cancelled trains at least once a month, etc. No private business would survive operating like that.
It's also odd that you'd cite TSA as a bad thing. TSA is, of course, what happened when the government nationalized airport security, taking it away from the private security forces airlines previously used.
As for the rest, I'd rather be a little late than be treated like shit. The Amtrak delays I've encountered have all been less than an hour, compared to numerous incidents of multi-day delays when flying (I'll never do business with Delta again under any circumstances. Being stuck in Atlanta for two days is pretty bad, but the shear malicious joy their employees were expressing at the situation was as bad as any stereotypical DMV encounter.) A few hours of delay isn't such a problem, but some Americans seem to enjoy being in a perpetual state of hurry...
I can't help but wonder if such impatience is somehow related to the general surliness of airline employees, relative to Amtrak and the Alaska ferry. The last ferry I was on got delayed for several hours one morning after responding to a mayday and being kept on the scene by Canadian Coast Guard during the search. The crew was unnecessarily apologetic while nearly all the passengers were, if anything, a bit proud or appreciative. I shudder to think of what such a delay on a plane would look like, with the sort of personalities that would likely be involved...
Perhaps your experience is a little atypical.
I'll see your belly laugh, and raise you hysterical laughter, rapidly increasing in intensity until I pass out.
The last time I rode Amtrak, from Denver to Chicago, I spent a 24-hour delay waiting on a siding in the middle of the Great Plains. A train filled with passengers motionless for a complete day as cargo train after cargo train just whoosh by.
I once worked out that a internationally-competitive professional cyclist could have beaten me home, even taking a full 8 hours of sleep somewhere along the route. Slow and steady, but with right-of-way, wins the race.
The previous instance of riding Amtrak, from Indianapolis to Chicago to catch some touristy activities, and then back again the same day, gave the party just enough time to arrive, take a deep breath, and immediately board the return train, which was also late getting back.
The Amtrak customer-facing employees seem courteous and satisfied, but the ones in the corporate offices, setting the timetables, must be completely delusional. I have never once been on an Amtrak train that left on time, or arrived on time. Never. And I likely never will be, since I have stopped giving them the opportunity to disappoint me.
(And better to sleep on a train than whatever bedbug infested shitbox of a hotel the airline offers you a stay in during your delay... Airlines are up there with Comcast when it comes to customer service.)
It's way past time America stopped prioritizing cargo over people. We sold almost all our rails to cargo companies for cheap, and now have almost no passenger travel left. It's an unbelievable farce.
We don't expect the rights on toll roads to revert back to the tolling company at the end of the tolling period and become a private road reserved only for cargo trucks, we expect them to continue to serve all traffic, for cheap as free once the tolls are "paid off". (Though Indiana and some other states are certainly working hard to create such privatized disasters this century, because no one remembers these states made the same exact mistakes with their rails.)
Privately operated toll roads are completely different. There, the operating company generally never owns the right of way to begin with. Even if they build the toll road, all they are buying is the right to operate the road for for some term.
The key word there is limited. Eminent domain is supposedly limited to things in the Public Good. It's not meant to be a transference of wealth to private companies at the expense of the Public, and it's supposed to and does include attached riders on the usage of such eminent domain-appropriated properties. Such as required passenger travel quotas that were supposed to be applied to railroad companies as a public service.
> Privately operated toll roads are completely different. There, the operating company generally never owns the right of way to begin with. Even if they build the toll road, all they are buying is the right to operate the road for for some term.
It's not completely different. Obviously things varied hugely between different states, but some states did own their railroad right of ways as public goods (as they should have, and just as they generally do with utility pole right of ways, toll road right of ways, and interstate right of ways). It was only after the fact that many of the railroad owners decided they should also own the rights of way to avoid further regulation and abscond from original contract terms (such as, and most importantly, passenger travel minimums), and only then worked very hard (through monopolies and hard bargains) to purchase said rights of way from states desperate for quick cash or easily swayed by privatizer lobbies and deregulationists.
We do not vilify the early railroad folks as the "Robber Barons" for nothing, and it is incredible how much that history is forgotten or overlooked. It's also incredibly naïve to think that roads are immune from the same folly that happened to the railroads!
Indiana has a couple of toll roads today that are "in hock" to an Australian company that essentially wins the right of ways in the right circumstances of the tolls not paying enough for the loans that the Australian company bought from Indiana and the tolls are supposed to cover (just as passenger fares were supposed to cover railroad rights of ways and underages used to steal them from the public). It's amazing, ridiculous, and absolutely history repeating itself, because Indiana lost so much of its railroad right of ways in very similar overly privatized financial games.
A lot of railroads did, in fact, get their trackway for free. They didn't get it by eminent domain, but by land grant, as the first [white] owner of record. They got a checkerboard of land , so they could trade adjacent lands with the other grantees in order to establish a continuous railway.
The only holdouts were the Ghost Dancers.
The delays are mostly structural: Amtrak is required to share the tracks with unscheduled cargo. I budget an extra hour and I'm fine. The same cannot be said for airplanes. It's like conflating TSA gropings with airline (de)regulation.
The rest of Amtrak is wonderful: website / e-ticketing / free changes / frequent traveler program, communication, seats, power outlets, etc. All this would get replaced by toll booths carefully metering out every convenience until your knees are in your chest.
Absolutely not true on the NEC. It's dedicated track and the delays are due to operational mismanagement and failing infrastructure.
+ deliveries - you have your choice of the (public) Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, etc.
+ police protection - many companies use private security-guard services in addition to the (public) police.
+ schools - there's always the public-school option in addition to the myriad private schools available for those who can afford it.
+ local transportation -- private taxis and ride-sharing services operate alongside public bus service.
It's not axiomatic that essential pharmaceuticals shouldn't have a public option too.
EDIT: You can argue that the public options listed above are inefficient compared to their private counterparts. But max efficiency isn't necessarily the primary goal; some folks are faced with the choice between a comparatively-inefficient option and none at all. (Or: Perfect is the enemy of Good Enough.)
For services that are really "essential,” I’d probably argue that the best course is to have markets that are properly regulated for antitrust issues, and then pay low-income people to purchase the services they need.
That assumes apples vs. apples; the examples I listed above aren't.
People ship UPS/Fedex unless the object is heavy and fits in a flat rate box.
Private security is not known for doing ethically questionable things to maximize revenue and excessive force like public police are. The only time people want "real cops" is when the extra violence can work to your advantage (which is why many large events where alcohol is served tend to use police for security).
People who can afford it often opt to send their kids to private school, particularly if local schools are not "good".
People who can afford it generally take a taxi (uber/lyft in this day and age) instead of public transit.
Heck, it's worth getting an AAA membership just so you don't have to go to the DMV for certain transactions.
While it's essential to have a government provided backstop for all these services I wouldn't say the public is "well" served by any of them.
And for some people, the lesser option is Good Enough, because their alternative is — nothing, because they can't afford one of the better options.
The problem with privatisation, especially in the UK with the trains, is there are only so many tracks and so many routes ... you therefore can't have rival operators competing so they just charge what they want for unregulated fares, which is why it's cheaper to fly to Edinburgh from London than get the train.
The largest irony is, most of the franchises that run train companies in the UK are ultimately state owned enterprises in their own countries (SNCF, DB etc.)
It’s obviously a process to go from these big state owned enterprises to private companies without disrupting the apple cart. There are degrees of privatization: from the US model of an organization running a “public service” to the Singaporean model of a hands-off government that owns the equity as a passive investor. And the government may have an interest in supporting otherwise “money losing” operations.
But there is broad consensus, not just in the developed world, but in the competitive Asian economies like Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore which are in many ways ahead of the curve, that the goal should be to privatize as much as possible, within the constraints of things like natural monopolies. Those calling for not just nationalization (the government being the shareholder) but active government involvement in operations are on the wrong side of that trend.
We also have it in the UK so the large monopoly telecoms provider BT OpenReach have to provide network services to rival ISP's at regulated prices.
In the current climate of fewer regulations in the US this just looks like a road to further exploitation of the populace.
And you're ignoring that nationalization can work well in the US: look at GM in the wake of the financial crisis.
For instance, if you consider something like the "normalization of deviance", the culture of the company and groups within the company have almost certainly contributed to the situation.
Perhaps it would work well enough to give the victims shares in several poorly constructed successor companies. Poorly constructed because structuring them well is going to preserve culture.
That sounds like nationalization under another name to me...
Wouldn't it cost more to the taxpayers to manufacture them here. Or do you mean till the company goes bankrupt?
"In January 2001, Richard Sackler received a plea for help from a Purdue sales representative. The sales rep described a community meeting at a local high school, organized by mothers whose children overdosed on OxyContin and died. “Statements were made that OxyContin sales were at the expense of dead children and the only difference between heroin and OxyContin is that you can get OxyContin from a doctor.”
The next month, a federal prosecutor reported 59 deaths from OxyContin in a single state.[...]Sackler wrote in a confidential email: “we have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible. They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.”
The punishment for causing this level of death and suffering should not be limited to writing a check.
Do you need a really high IQ to think way? Is one person able to make such strategy or do you need a group of high IQ people to pull off something like this?
Are there lots of people they know in power?
Media desperately needs a convenient and affordable financing model that does not depend on selling off their users' data to the highest bidder.
The executives should be facing execution . In exchange for dropping the death penalty they should get no better then life time in prison.
 if can execute a black kid for being a driver in a botched robbery, why can’t we RICO these assholes to the gurney? Purdue Pharma can supply the execution drugs
The felony murder rule has some messed up assignment of responsibility (fair enough for eggshell patients and causing dangerous situations but dead accomplices or absolving reckless use of force by pinning it on the felon are problematic) but it also isn't one of the enumerated crimes.