Global Tax Dodging Just One Part of Pfizer’s Corrupt Business Model

By William Lazonick, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Öner Tulum, research associate at The Academic-Industry Research Network (theAIRnet) and a visiting scholar at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Matt Hopkins, a research associate at the Academic-Industry Research Network (theAIRnet. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

There’s plenty that doesn’t add up about Pfizer’s claim that the low Irish tax rates it will pay by merging with Allergan are necessary if the company is to fund drug research to stay competitive. Consider that while the pharmaceutical giant was provisioning $2.2 billion for income taxes over the first nine months of this year, it was distributing five times as much – $11.4 billion – to its shareholders, $6.2 billion in stock buybacks and $5.2 billion in dividends. That was 159 percent of its profits over these three quarters.

And for Pfizer such mind-numbing distributions to shareholders are nothing new. The company has been piling stock buybacks on top of dividends since 1985. From January 2001 through September 2015, Pfizer paid out $95.5 billion in buybacks and $87.1 billion in dividends, representing 117 percent of its net income. Meanwhile, it booked $37.1 billion in corporate income taxes to the IRS.

Yet in a Wall Street Journal interview in October, to forestall the public criticism of corporate flight that was bound to come with the upcoming Pfizer-Allergan merger announcement, Pfizer CEO Ian C. Read moaned that its U.S. tax bill puts the company at a “tremendous disadvantage” in global competition. “We’re fighting,” Read said in the interview, “with one hand tied behind our back.” When one looks at Pfizer’s gargantuan distributions to shareholders, however, it is obvious that if Read can’t make use of both hands to secure innovation finance, it is not Uncle Sam who tied the knot.

If Pfizer is cash-constrained, it is far more likely that it is the golden handcuffs of stock-based executive pay that are the source of the problem. In 2014 Read as CEO had total direct compensation of $22.6 million, of which 27 percent came from exercising stock options and 50 percent from the vesting of stock awards. The other four highest-paid executives named on Pfizer’s 2015 proxy statement averaged $8.0 million, with 24 percent from stock options and 41 percent from stock awards. Pfizer states that the company has a prime commitment to ”
enhancing shareholder value,” a self-serving ideology for executives whose remuneration depends on the company’s stock-price performance. And stock buybacks provide a potent tool for manipulating a company’s stock price for the sake of enhancing executive stock-based pay.

If we accept stock price as a measure of a company’s performance, then, compared with the S&P 500 Index, Pfizer has been successful over the years. Yet, as a company that is, as Read put in his Wall Street Journal interview, “doing what we need to do to ensure that we can continue to innovate,” Pfizer is a failure, and it is a failure for which American households as consumers, taxpayers, and workers have been paying a very high price. To see why Pfizer’s stock-price performance does not translate into superior economic performance, we need to delve into the inner working of the drug company’s business model. Let’s look at how Pfizer generates the profits that support its mega-distributions to shareholders and its stock-price performance.

Over the past 15 years, Pfizer’s growth has been driven by three major acquisitions: Warner-Lambert in 2000, Pharmacia in 2003, and Wyeth in 2009, each one bringing with it a number of blockbuster drugs. The most lucrative by far has been Lipitor – already a huge blockbuster at Warner-Lambert when Pfizer acquired that company in 2000 – ringing up an annual average of $11.0 billion in sales from 2000 through 2011. But the Lipitor patent expired in 2010, and by 2014 its revenues had fallen to $2.1 billion, although it was still the fifth-best seller among Pfizer’s products.

Pfizer is on the prowl for new blockbusters to fund its buyback habit. In 2014 AstraZeneca, the British-Swedish drug maker with strong sales in cancer drugs, rebuffed Pfizer’s takeover attempt. Now Pfizer has struck gold with Allergan, which owns the mega-seller Botox.

Botox, known for its ability to erase wrinkles, was first approved by the FDA in 1989, 13 years before it was approved for cosmetic treatments. Over half of sales actually go to therapeutic uses such as spasticity, hyperhidrosis, and chronic migraine. New therapeutic indications have been found for Botox, resulting in new patent protection that will keep this drug valuable for a very log time.

As has been the case with the takeovers of Warner-Lambert, Pharmacia, and Wyeth, Pfizer wants to get its greedy hands on blockbuster drugs that innovative companies have already developed and then, in the name of enhancing shareholder value, milk the acquisitions until the patents run dry. In merging with Allergan, Pfizer will gain from the corporate inversion, but compared with the profits to be generated by Allergan’s existing products, the Irish tax dodge is just icing on the Pfizer-Allergan wedding cake.

From 2010 to 2014, Pfizer’s revenues fell from $67.8 billion to $49.6 billion, mainly because of the expiration of the patents on a number of the company’s blockbuster drugs. Over these four years, it slashed worldwide employment from 110,600 to 78,300. With Read as CEO, R&D spending has declined compared with the previous 15 years.

Whatever its recorded R&D spending, however, Pfizer has long since lost the capability to generate its own drug products. Since 2001 the company has launched only four internally developed products, the last one in 2005. In 2010 sales of these four products totaled $3.7 billion, but, in part because of expiration of patents on two of the drugs, by 2014 these revenues had slumped to $1.3 billion.

In 2014 the United States was Pfizer’s biggest national market, accounting for 38 percent of revenues. As Pfizer moves to Ireland, the U.S. market will remain critical to its profits not only because of its size but also because, unlike the governments of other major nations, Congress has chosen not to regulate drug prices. Going back decades, U.S. drug prices have been at least double those for the same products in other national markets. And over the past few years, Pfizer, along with many other U.S. pharmaceutical companies, has been aggressively jacking up drug prices even more, as a recent study shows.

Yet whenever Congress has questioned the high prices, major U.S. drug companies say that they need the hefty profit margins to fund more R&D expenditures. For Pfizer, that argument may have held some water back in the ’80s. But for the past three decades Pfizer has been using its profits to enrich shareholders. U.S. taxpayers pay extortionate prices for indispensible pharmaceutical drugs so that companies like Pfizer, Merck, and J&J can do billions of dollars in buybacks every year to manipulate their companies’ stock prices. And top executives get paid many millions for this financial engineering.

It gets worse. As the drug companies hold U.S. households hostage in our need to consume their products, taxpayers hand over massive amounts of hard-earned pay to support the drug companies’ R&D efforts. From 1938 through 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent a total of $927 billion in 2014 dollars on life sciences research, and this year the NIH budget is over $30 billion— funded by taxpayers. Drug companies benefit from all sorts of other protections and subsidies, including those under the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. In Pfizer’s case, Lipitor, its most profitable drug to date, and Botox, its new shareholder-value enhancing therapy, both originated as orphan drugs

Since 2010, Pfizer’s annual sales have plunged by about $20 billion and its employment by more than 40,000 people. But Pfizer’s Read-era profit margins are at a record high for the company while Pfizer’s stock price has soared. If increasing its stock price is Pfizer’s raison d’être, then the allocation of more than 100 percent of profits to “enhancing shareholder value” through buybacks and dividends has worked – but at a huge cost to American innovation, employment, and income distribution.

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  1. Kris Alman

    Senators Wyden and Grassley announced their findings of an investigation into the pricing of Sovaldi. No surprises there. Mergers and acquisitions and even some help from IMS (health data aggregator) to help with the pricing strategy. Nothing about the R&D related to the price. After all, the bar would be set by shadow drugs to stabilize the price in subsequent waves. i.e. Gilead put prices over people.

    I called Wyden’s office and thanked him for the investigation.

    But I pointed out that it’s not just “blockbuster” drugs that are overpriced.

    Wyden graduated from Standford. From their Law & Biosciences Blog “Will the Trans-Pacific Partnership hinder access to medicine? Part I
    Most controversial of all, in addition to patent protection, the TPP obligates countries to protect clinical trial data on a new medicine’s safety and efficacy, which is needed to obtain regulatory approval. Without this protection, generics companies could short circuit the approval process by relying on data already generated by the patent holder. With this protection in place, generics may be kept out of the market even after a patent has expired due to the cost of replicating the data.

    So what are he and Grassley going to do? I suggested he needed to do two things to address this:

    Allow CMS to negotiate drug price
    Oppose the TPP. (I cited the fact that it’s not just the blockbuster drug prices we need to worry about.)

    Of course, the tax inversion story is another thing.

    1. Waking Up

      Oppose the TPP?? Senator Ron Wyden voted FOR fast track of the TPP.

      He loves to put his name on “investigations”.

  2. MikeNY

    Big Pharma is obscenely profitable.

    In 2014, Pfizer’s pre-tax “Adjusted Income” margin was 40% of revenues. 40%! This is after R&D expense. They paid 25% effective tax rate on this, so NET margin was 30%. Cry me an effing river.

    Cash from operations has been about $17BN for the last three years, again, AFTER R&D expense. CAPEX is only about $1.2BN a year. So free cash flow to sales is an eye-popping 32%, or $16BN a year. It’s insanely high, and obscenely high, as they make that money off the distress of sick people. But, you know, Pfizer doesn’t make enough money. Their taxes are too high.

    For-profit healthcare is evil.

  3. washunate

    I’m curious why the headline is so sensationalist? It directly calls out Pfizer for having a corrupt business model. But the article doesn’t say anything about corruption; literally, the word corruption doesn’t even appear. Instead it’s a dog bites man story of a company trying to minimize its tax bill. Show me the academic economist who pays more than he has to on his federal income taxes. For heaven sakes, threaten to take away his home mortgage interest deduction and charitable contribution deduction and retirement contribution deduction and he will howl in terror.

    This article seems to fit into the convenient villain category of intellectual discourse: acting like a Big Corporation is responsible for what’s wrong with an area of public policy instead of going after the liberal pundits and politicians that support the various things that actually undermine public health, such as:

    drug war and two-tiered justice system
    IP law
    Medicare Modernization
    car-dependent sprawl
    stress of overwork and degrading working conditions
    subsidized processed foods
    subsidized industrial agriculture
    destruction of passenger rail system
    preventing international trade in drugs
    refusing to use anti-trust law to stop anti-competitive practices
    extreme inequality in wages on government-funded projects

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Just because Pfizer is a convenient villain doesn’t mean they aren’t a villain. I don’t get what is wrong about calling them out. The “corruption” in the headline refers to the fact that the business model has nothing to do with the ostensible “purpose” of the business, which is health care. Yes all corporations try to maximize (returns to top management) but drug companies use the rhetoric of public good more shamelessly than most.

      1. washunate

        I’d say that rather cheapens the concept of corruption to ultimately end up with the punchline being that their rhetoric is more shameless. More shameless than who? Oil and car companies? Food companies? Financial companies? Defense companies?

        The larger point is that this is an example of the kind of thinking in intellectual circles that is part subconscious, part willful to not see the whole picture (or to not be willing to speak frankly about it). The author doesn’t even take a stand on IP law, let alone talking about the actions of policy makers, and that’s the most central component of drug company business models. They are IP portfolios.

        Here’s a bit of irony I love. Umass – Lowell brags on its own website about how highly they are ranked for their intellectual property generated. Saying that Pfizer is uniquely bad conveniently sidesteps the actual question of whether IP law itself is badly constructed and enforced. Not to mention the role that highly paid professors, deans, and other publicly paid employees in higher education have played in entrenching such a system.

        1. MikeNY

          As usual, you raise good points.

          Per Ed Yardeni, the operating profit margin of the S&P 500 is currently about 10.6%. Pfizer’s is about 40%. Other Big Pharma company margins are in Pfizer’s zip code.

          Why should Big Pharma be so privileged? You are surely right it is due to IP law.

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          I guess I would disagree that a post about Pfizer’s BS is somehow a claim that they are “uniquely bad.” Or that it’s somehow worse to highlight one particular scam without acknowledging the entire flawed apparatus than to (what?). Yes, that is what people who want to divert attention from the apparatus do. But that is also how bad behavior is generally uncovered, bit by bit.

          1. washunate

            I generally agree with you. But it really doesn’t bother you that such mundane financial details of the actual post are paired with such a sensationalist headline? Calling the business model corrupt allows only two possibilities: either it is an indictment of Pfizer being uniquely bad, or it is an indictment of the political leadership for allowing the entire society to become corrupt. Neither implication is addressed.

            As far as why to expect more from our intellectual discourse, I would propose a general and specific reason. Generally, these are people paid by public institutions whose job is to think about these things. That inherently carries a duty of care to the public good.

            More specifically, the authors pose this question at the original post:

            Why are we paying for corporate behavior that crushes innovation, cheats taxpayers, cost jobs, and heightens inequality?

            They then proceed to studiously avoid answering it when we know exactly why. It is because specific Democratic politicians and pundits supported specific public policy choices. When economists, knowingly or not, subscribe to the professional courtesy of minimizing agency of public actors, all that is left is a vague screed against corporate evil doing. There’s not even a specific campaign contribution mentioned, let alone any kind of actual juicy corruption like bribery or something.

            1. MikeNY

              This is well said. And the answer, IMHO, is that the entire society is corrupt, is an oligarchy. Big Pharma, with Wall St. and the MIC, are exhibits A, B and C of the proof of oligarchy.

              1. washunate

                Thanks Mike, I appreciate it! I think this is the opportunity at NC specifically and the Internet more generally to impact our collective discourse. We can keep returning to that theme that the problem is the whole system.

            2. NeqNeq

              It is interesting that the most parsimonious interpretation of the piece has been mentioned, but then dismissed so readily. Overly sensationalist headlines and rhetorical questions are usually a good indicator that the content of the work is really just a Spin mechanism.

              Rather than dismissing the practice as a methedology to generate ‘buzz’ (clicks and links) about the author’s mundane work, and then skipping to the argument that is actually presented, the Title-Content divide is used to support a tribal protectionism conclusion.

              I get that there is a big push towards political action on this site, and part of that is accomplished by linking pain-points with the political actors who facilitate those points, but I fear over indulgence in this methedology detracts from the careful, measured, quality work that makes this site great.

              I usually enjoy reading your (Washunate) comments because they are measured and well reasoned, but I think you are overreaching here.

              1. washunate

                So exploring that some more, which part do you think is overreaching, or both parts? The general duty of care for economists, or the specific responsibility to answer questions that are posed?

                The reason that Pfizer’s business model makes such a great case study for this is that it is so clear cut. There are no market forces at play here. No complex business processes. No transcendent business minds. And no partisan politics: there is bipartisan responsibility for the nature of the system.

                It is simple public policy. 1) The government outlaws recreational drugs. 2) The government outlaws importation of these specific prescription drugs from other countries. 3) The government outlaws manufacture of compounds similar to these drugs in generic form. Voila, government-sanctioned monopoly.

                We know exactly what happens in such a situation. The monopolist uses their market power to price the product at the ability of the consumer to pay rather than at the cost of production.

                1. NeqNeq

                  Nothing you mention needs to be false in order for my point about sensationalism to stand. Imagine the following:

                  A retired Air Force Colonel writes an artical about how the military did some calculations about the probability that “alien life forms exist” somewhere in the universe. They find that there is a good chance that it does. What GAWKER headline generates more clicks?

                  “USAF thinks there is a good probability biological life is not limited to earth”


                  “UFO’s are Real: USAF Colonel leaks secret research which proves Aliens exist!”

                  If GAWKER runs the second headline, should we infer that GAWKER is a haven of UFO conspiricy theorists, or should we infer that GAWKER uses click-bait headlines?

        3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think the time for intellectualized hair-splitting has passed as these grotesque, stateless corporate monsters like Pfizer devour the world’s economic pie and completely ignore any shred of responsibility to the people and countries that support them. They collude with utterly corrupt politicians to create a flow of taxpayer money from the citizen to their offshore pockets through protectionist health care system racketeering and so-called “trade” deals. The central bank incents them not to hire or invest, but just bloat themselves with free debt they can funnel back to themselves and their cronies as buybacks and dividends.
          The sooner we all get goddamn angry about it all, the better, the so-called “Left” doesn’t need any more detached intellectualizing or debating the fine points of possible “solutions”, it needs people who are mad enough to go to the streets and break heads. Do you really think these thugs, from the boardroom to the White House to the Fed to the Pentagon, understand any language at all other than that? If you really do want it to change, stop all the mental m*sturbation and DO something about it. Otherwise when your kid asks “what did you do in the war, Daddy?” you can reply “Nothing”.

          1. washunate

            Preach it.

            I think that’s why the lack of agency in convenient villain stories is so noteworthy. It’s as if there’s a subconscious attempt to protect Democratic politicians and pundits and intellectuals that created this mess in the first place from becoming targets of that righteous anger.

          2. Norb

            A while back I participated in a demonstration. Thinking, its time to get out into the streets. What struck me was the strange carnival like atmosphere of the whole event. Different groups professing their various dissatisfactions, while the police stood by monitoring the whole event. The police looked disgusted and bored and the participants of the rally merrily shouted out their slogans and carried their signs. There was very few spectators since the event took place on the weekend. No news coverage on the evening news. This event happened in a major American city.

            What stuck in my head was the well equipped and attired police units compared the the bedraggled protesters. The disproportionate allocation of resources was plain to see. I went to the event alone since none of my friends wanted to participate. Also, the protesters congregated into their own factions. Small knots of people expressing their views. I felt like an anthropologist in a foreign land.

            When asking one of the police what they thought, I received a shrug. When talking to various protesters about how their efforts would reach their fellow citizens, I received answers ranging from contempt because they were not in the streets in solidarity to thoughtful plans to build mass movements.

            I left thinking more events like this are not going to change a thing in the wider public. As most American politics has turned into theater, the protest was also theater. The question is always one of how to direct limited energy to productive results. When looking at the scale and scope of the problems facing humanity today, is it any wonder why avoidance and wishful thinking prevails.

            It takes a lot of energy and skill to be a proper citizen. This idea of being a good citizen is even more difficult to achieve when your live in a fake democracy. I left that rally thinking I could only bring change about effectively in myself and those who I have daily contact with. The anger is all around and the real work is to make sure it is directed in the right direction.

        4. JerryDenim

          You raise some good points about patent law, the unmentioned Gorilla in the room, but taking aim at the author using the word “corrupt” in the title seems off base. Shameless promotion of personal interests over the job you are tasked with, (perhaps legal) bribery, subversion of public policy, tax dodging, lying, the list goes on. Do these thing not constitute a ‘corrupt’ business model? Just how bad does one have to be to qualify as corrupt in your book?

          1. washunate

            Just how bad does one have to be to qualify as corrupt in your book?

            That’s an important question the authors navigate around in this particular piece. This is my original question. Why don’t the authors address that? What is corruption, and why does it exist? Is it a localized problem of a few bad apples, or pervasive across our system of political economy? There are very different implications to those mutually exclusive perspectives.

    2. fritter

      Have we reached the point where lying to the public and government in order to steal as much as possible from the public coffer is considered “trying to minimize its tax bill?” They obviously aren’t overly burdened by their tax rate and claiming that they are (and the subtle hint that they might need to start downsizing if this deal isn’t pushed through) is a continuation of behavior that is corrupt and discussed in the article.

      Your strawman is noted but blaming their behavior on “public policy” they actively lobby at the expense of the public interest isn’t logical.

      1. washunate

        Yep. Are you familiar with corporate financial statements? Minimizing taxes is a huge part of corporate activity. Heck, some of our healthcare companies don’t pay income taxes at all. Michelle Obama herself earned a pretty sweet salary from one of our friendly local behemoth nonprofit medical centers.

        More generally, this is the point. Pfiizer isn’t engaged in a specific set of unique practices we would call corruption or stealing within the confines of existing law. Rather, the entire political culture is corrupt in the general sense of the word. But economists are notably shy about naming names when it comes to that.

        What you call a straw man is the fundamental problem: we face a management failure on public policy. The story is not corporations lobbying for special treatment. Of course they’re going to do that. The story is politicians who side with them over the public good yet get to pretend they aren’t screwing the public thanks to the professional courtesy extended them by a variety of actors – including, rather frequently, economists.

    3. run75441

      I think Yves has pretty much indicted Congress (Dems and Repubs) with this statement:

      “As Pfizer moves to Ireland, the U.S. market will remain critical to its profits not only because of its size but also because, unlike the governments of other major nations, Congress has chosen not to regulate drug prices. Going back decades, U.S. drug prices have been at least double those for the same products in other national markets. And over the past few years, Pfizer, along with many other U.S. pharmaceutical companies, has been aggressively jacking up drug prices even more, as a recent study shows.”

      Pharmaceutical companies have been responsible for large percentages of increase in medicines and medical costs. I think what is interesting about this post by Yves is she is explaining how the profitability model with out innovation comes to being for one particular company. Maybe you do not find it fascinating; but, I do.

      What you are proposing here:

      “drug war and two-tiered justice system
      IP law
      Medicare Modernization
      car-dependent sprawl
      stress of overwork and degrading working conditions
      subsidized processed foods
      subsidized industrial agriculture
      destruction of passenger rail system
      preventing international trade in drugs
      refusing to use anti-trust law to stop anti-competitive practices
      extreme inequality in wages on government-funded projects”

      is outside the realm of this post and almost a non sequitur. You have suggested it though and maybe Yves will take it up in an additional post at a later date. There are many good topics there.

      Rather than pursue innovation internally, the company is buying it externally. If I were in R&D, I would be concerned. Yet it appears Pfzer is taking R&D as an excuse (one of many I would assume) to Invert to Europe. I would think this would be a corrupt reason.

      1. washunate

        outside the realm of this post and almost a non sequitur

        That’s exactly the mindset for which I am offering a different perspective. I’m not saying you have to agree with me; I’m just pointing out that I approach this from a different angle.

        The notion that IP law and trade law and wage inequality and so forth is outside the realm of a post on the business model of a drug company is what is wrong with our discourse, not what is right with it.

  4. Left in Wisconsin

    Whatever its recorded R&D spending, however, Pfizer has long since lost the capability to generate its own drug products. Since 2001 the company has launched only four internally developed products, the last one in 2005. In 2010 sales of these four products totaled $3.7 billion, but, in part because of expiration of patents on two of the drugs, by 2014 these revenues had slumped to $1.3 billion.

    That paragraph says it all.

  5. allan

    Carefully right-sizing the work force is why CEOs are paid the big bucks:

    In 2008, Pfizer bought Wyeth. Pfizer is a behemoth of a pharma company that has spent the last 10 years gobbling up companies, extracting their pipelines and spitting out the people who, you know, actually did the discovery. After Pfizer bought Wyeth, it laid off all of the Wyeth research staff. Yep, all of them.

    And they’re H1-B abusers.

  6. Larry Y

    I’ll try a few one-line zingers and summaries.

    Pfizer is a taker, not a maker.

    Instead of creating value, it’s looting it. For share holders, of course.

    It’s a financial firm that does a lot of marketing, that happens to be in the pharma business.

  7. Chauncey Gardiner

    Dunno… Can a business model or system based on financial engineering itself be corrupt… or is it always and everywhere individuals, albeit often operating in a network? Is Ireland far enough away?

    As the writers state, the issues at Pfizer since the mid-1980s are not a new phenomenon. According to wikipedia, one former Pfizer CEO from 2001-2006 received not only tens of millions in compensation while he was CEO, the value of his retirement package and deferred compensation exceeded $275 million. Oh, and for those neoliberals who still believe in the sanctity of these rigged financial markets, the same wikipedia article noted that the market value of Pfizer stock declined $140 billion dollars during that CEO’s tenure. (Must have been all those burdensome regulations, no?)

    Perhaps it’s because we are in the post-Thanksgiving period, but when I read this account about what has occurred at Pfizer and their position, I was reminded of Tom Wolfe’s observation in Bonfire of the Vanities about the “Masters of the Universe” taking the last white plump meat off the bones of American capitalism. Ironically, they have larded many Americans, corporations and our public institutions up with debt to do so. Just digital electronic accounting entries, after all…

  8. NeqNeq

    Based upon the numbers in the second paragraph, Pfizer’s avg effective tax rate was 19%. (unless my back-of-envelope math is borked…very possible)

    Does anyone know what AstraZeneca’s effective rate was? Does anyone know what Chinese pharmaceutical’s pay? The “lower taxes to stay competitive” line might still be plausible if pharma companies in other parts of the world pay way less. Especially considering that 62‰ of Pfizer revenue comes from “overseas”.

    Thats not to say that pharma profit doesn’t leave a bad taste in the mouth, but that seems like a separate issue. The one upside to all this is IF most pharma companies leave the US, then there will be less incentive for congress to protect the profits (think about difference in incentive to bail out GM vs KIA). Maybe the US would start negotiating/capping prescription drug costs.

  9. JTMcPhee

    But, my people, let us never forget that all this looting is, thanks to how the systemically have reconstituted the System, ” perfectly and completely and totally ‘legal…'” Or at least “good faith extensions of existing law bwahahahahaha…”

    And since there’s no “remedy” for all of this, WHATCHAGONNADOABOUTIT, hung???

  10. Quantum Future

    I agree with Washune and the other comme tator.on simplifying. Government is a protection racket. We all know we do need one.

    It’s only real job for which we pay is for a security guard, to prevent you from being robbed by ‘enemies’ (insert robbers) both foreign and domestic.

    The end of these kinds of cycles is usually a dictator.

    If we had to focus on one issue at a time it must start with lobbying. If we consider one concept it should be justice. You take on the security guard and tell him your fired. You do that by spending money and time or you get to live in Mexico part two. Do it now and stop just frigging pontificating about it. Donit and share here and other blogs so people can join in. Authors need to help encourage this and tone down the ego a little (I know its what makes.some.of you good in a way).

    You can bury them with paperwork on lawsuits, expand exposing them, intelligence can also have a role in this they swore an oath to our constitution and Republic. Push back on the ground with anybody by being honest and firm calling people out. Pick your battles. When I said the Pledge of Allegience I meant it. I have and will keep paying the price. Yves knows all about it in abundance.

    Unequal application of the law and the security guard robbing its owners by lobbying guarantees inequality, violence and a lot of death.

    Take care of one another. God bless or my regards to people of all nations depending on your beliefs.

  11. jfleni

    Let the Irish phase in the mammoth reduction in taxes: pirates like Pfizer get the Irish rate of 12 percent, but only after a three year period.

    Otherwise, they pay Ireland their previous rate, with exceptions only for smaller European countries. Won’t happen, but a great way to stick it to the Pfizer-pirates of this world!

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