Monday, April 24, 2006

Makes Sense Only To Liberals And Lawyers

A woman who smoked since she was 17 died of cancer. A California jury awarded her heirs 28 billion dollars, since reduced on appeal to 28 million, a reduction of 99.9%. Now if the award was further reduced 99.999999%, to 28 cents, that would be about right.

I don’t mean that. That would be silly. What I really mean is that her heirs shouldn’t get anything, and her estate should have to reimburse the insurance companies and government for all the excess medical costs her smoking caused.

I don’t mean that either. No one should owe anybody anything. The cigarettes she smoked are a legal product, manufactured and sold through properly licensed channels. If fault is to be found, the fault is that of the government that allows tobacco products to be manufactured and sold legally, then happily reaps and squanders the enormous tax revenues thereby created.

If tobacco products were illegal, then the fault would be obvious – the smoker. What, you don’t think that is obvious? The government would not be at fault. They made the manufacture of cigarettes illegal. The manufacturer is at fault only to the extent that they manufactured and sold an illegal product in much demand. Think marijuana, heroin, cocaine, prostitution, etc. They can be arrested, tried, thrown in jail, but no one but a complete nut case or liberal would think they were responsible for the costs of medical treatment, of pain and suffering, and of funding rapacious attorneys’ visions of riches.

Basically, the seller of an illegal product can make enormous profits from its sale, but cannot be held responsible for the damages it causes because the person damaged was part of the illegal activity.

This is indeed an interesting paradox – selling a legal product legally can cause you financial ruin, while selling an illegal product limits your liability to jail and fines. Since you are a crook, and not an idiot, you have made sure most of your assets are squirreled away safe from the long arm of the law. In fact, since your product was illegal, you never paid sales taxes, property taxes, social security, medical insurance, income tax withholding or tax payments, neither for yourself nor any of your employees. While the tobacco company being ruined financially paid all these taxes and more, and its employees’ medical insurance, the illegal providers paid none while creating costs for law enforcement and uninsured medical needs.

Further puzzling thoughts – why aren’t the retailers and wholesalers responsible, along with the tobacco companies? We already know why the government is not responsible -- they make the laws. But it is hard to understand how the government could operate a legal system that allows a government approved activity to be placed in such legal jeopardy.

It truly only makes sense to lawyers and liberals.

“All lawyers are liberals, but not all liberals are lawyers.” Nope, not true. But if you replaced “lawyer” with “trial lawyer,” then probably so.

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