John Ransom
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ZealousConscript wrote: As far as the cost of prescription medicine, I would suggest "The $800 Million Dollar Pill" by Merrill Goozner. Pretty damning evidence about how Big Pharma uses government funding to research drugs, then turns around sells them at astronomical cost in order to increase their profit margin.- Don't Let Obama Kill "Pills for Profit"

Dear Comrade Zealous,

Strike one is that Goozner is from Chicago. Strike two is that Goozner was the Chief Economics Correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.

And there is one thing worse than being an economist, and that’s being a journalist. And to sink just a little lower- ok a lot lower- you stick the economics moniker on to the title of journalist, and now you are the Lord of the Crap.

This is Paul Krugman-Ezra Klein wanna-be territory.

He’s the thought that largely escaped Goozner, as he was likely writing about something he knows nothing about: Very few big pharmaceutical companies run investigational compounds through clinical trials.

Small biotech companies do that. When the small biotech companies have success at the clinical level, they start to enter into distribution agreements with big drug companies like Pfizer. But in the meantime smaller biotechs fund their investigations from investor dollars. These are dollars that are at risk.

While it’s true that the federal government funds some basic research, the funding mechanism they used is what the rest of us would call pork-barrel spending.

It’s research dollars looking at shrimp running on treadmills that congresstrons bring back to local universities.

While the super-advanced, super-stupid shrimp study will probably yield no breakthroughs in shrimp or human fitness, the research results obtained by the university are either open source- meaning usable by anyone without compensation to the researchers- or the results are the intellectual property of the university. If research is the property of the university then they have to be paid for it if someone, like say a biotech company, wants to use the research to make money.

In my experience there are few universities or hospitals that are doing the type of science that lead to investigational compounds for use by biotechnology companies. You start from a whole different point when doing pure science of a research facility versus practical science of a biotech company.                       

Hmiller wrote: Sir you wrote; "But, just like a wildcatter staking an oil claim, the profits are large for investors willing to be patient and work hard." What work do investors do? Sounds like do do to many; that's why they are referred to as parasites. Must be a heck of a minimum wage. Complete with write off's and the new, lower than workers, tax rate..- Don't Let Obama Kill "Pills for Profit"

Dear Comrade H,

Well, you have obviously not invested money in any meaningful way in the biotechnology sector. It’s one of the places in the stock market where hard work can pay off.

If you care enough to learn about the science behind what you are investing in- and it’s a lot of work to do that- you can gain a very useful advantage over other investors;  an advantage not available to you in other sectors of the market.

In biotech much of what you invest in is the “mechanism of action” of a compound. If, you can master the technical details of the science better than average, your investment returns can improve much better than average.

People willing to work to get the technical insights necessary for biotech will beat out secular investors.   

Jack2894 wrote: Can anyone identify where in this article there is any evidence that bio-tech investment in the US is going to suffer? ALl is see is evidence that it is stronger here than anywhere else. If lack of regulation were the key (which is unlikely) then California and MAssachusetts wouldn't be leading the world, would they?- Don't Let Obama Kill "Pills for Profit"

Dear Comrade Jack,

The article isn’t given as proof that drug development will suffer.

I’m not a climate scientist where I get to theorize an outcome and then build a model that will produce the outcome. Proof for me is evidence produced after the fact.

And yes, we produce more biotech under federal laws in California and Massachusetts than anywhere else. 

But California is losing companies at a record pace. Biotech icon Biogen closed their research facility in San Diego and moved it to North Carolina.

In Massachusetts they are giving biotech companies literally billions in benefits that normal companies don’t qualify for.

The question I have is that if it’s such a great deal for biotechs, why not make it a great deal for everyone?      

Barry_PO1_USN_RET wrote: Being a retired sailor with 5 awards of the Navy Good Conduct Medal (each equals 4 years of undetected crime) and 4 awards of the Viet Nam Service Medal along with 8 or 10 miscellaneous other medals, I find it offensive to relate bho to CNO in any way shape or form, CNO = Chief if Naval Operations.- Who says Obama Doesn’t Like to Prey?

Dear PO1,

Belay that.

drrisk2 wrote: There is no such word as "neglegtative" in the English language. Buy yourself a dictionary use it for something other than a doorstop. - Who says Obama Doesn’t Like to Prey?

Dear Comrade DrRisk,

There is a word called “dorcus,” but if I used it in reference to you I would have to define an entirely new meaning. And if I told you what it meant it might make you cry.

As luck would have it, I have several dictionaries that I do not use as doorstops. They are electronic dictionaries.

Because only a dorcus would look something up in a paperweight.      

Hmiller wrote: What 'YOU' think is important went out of vogue in a bunker in Berlin in 1945. Although there remain vestiges of it in the "Old South" - ahhh the good old conservative days. - Who says Obama Doesn’t Like to Prey?

Dear H,

Oh, so I’m a Nazi now because I’m a conservative? Ha!

Or I’m a racist?

Despite the evidence to the contrary, like living in the South and supporting slavery or living in Nazi Germany, and supporting a charismatic leader from a murky background who can give a great speech but more of the than not uses the skill to hide what he wishes. 

Kurt114 wrote: Mr. Ransom, I have wondered what our GDP might look like without deficit spending by the federal government. If the feds have spent roughly one trillion dollars a year above tax collections for four years, that is one trillion a year in stimulus spending. Without that spending I suspect we would be in a depression, as our circumstances merit. - Bursting the Washington Bubble: The Outlook for 2013

Dear Kurt,

No doubt over the short-term decreased federal spending has a negative [note to drrisk2: “negative” is a real word. You don’t have to look it up] effect on GDP. But even Democrats will tell you that we’ve spent trillions over the last 12 years to no good.

It’s money that’s wasted.

A guy who collects an unemployment check of $214 and produces nothing is less productive by definition than someone who goes to work and gets paid to produce some goods or services in excess of the $214 they get paid.       

Phd in Reality wrote: John Ransom is an idiot. Oh and that article almost certainly constitutes criminal harassment. Way to go John! - Self-Proclaimed Union Thug Vinny Castaldo Wants to Beat Me Up

Dear Readers,

First you have to start with the delusion that PhD thinks he knows me. He’ll always manage to bring Colorado into the argument as he did here playing PhD: Colorado Lawyer, like somehow he and I being from Colorado lends him extra gravity.  

Secondly PhD is an expert about everything. No matter what the topic he’ll tell you: 1) He’s from Colorado; and 2) He knows all about the wind farm or the shrimp treadmill or uranium mining or topsoil reverse cohabitation studies [note to drrisk2: “topsoil reverse cohabitation studies” isn’t a real term. You don’t have to look it up].

But even though I completely made up the term “topsoil reverse cohabitation studies,” he’ll let you know that he’s an expert at it.

That’s the only way I figure he can get from some guy threatening me on Facebook to me being a criminal because I suggest that perhaps we can talk and debate the issues instead of using our fists or firearms. Therefore….I’m the criminal.  

Typical liberal.

DagNabbit wrote: I can't find Vinny on Facebook, but Ransom is a doughboy, and he'd better be careful because I'm pretty sure ANYBODY could kick his fatass.- Self-Proclaimed Union Thug Vinny Castaldo Wants to Beat Me Up

Dear Comrade Dag,

Here I thought that the Age of Aquarius was all about peace and love.

Turns out you guys are the same common thug you accused Nixon of being.

Extra! Extra! Woodstock a fraud! Turns out the boomer generation was just an industry of cool. And phonies.  

And Comrade: I stopped caring whether my dad was bigger than your dad…well…actually I don’t think I ever cared whether my dad was bigger than yours.

Doughboy or no doughboy, no one has ever kicked my “fatass” and it’s not because I haven’t given people plenty of reasons to.

I frankly don’t have to fight like that.

On the other hand, you guys are letting way too much gut hang out.

One guys calls us Nazis and old Southern racists- completely out of context- and then you sail in with the sophisticated argument- again, out of context- that I'm a "doughboy" so I should get my "fatass" kicked.

Explain to me how the future belongs to you?       

Vinny wrote: Send the address tough guy and you can get some1- Self-Proclaimed Union Thug Vinny Castaldo Wants to Beat Me Up

Dear Comrade Vinny,

Meet me in the vacant lot, by the haunted house, across the street from the abandoned factory, down near the fishing pier, next to the old roundhouse, kitty-corner from old Second First State Bank building.

At midnight.

I have to pick up some dry cleaning, so if I’m a tad bit late, just wait.   

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John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.