Muscular Dystrophy, Sarepta, and the Evil of the FDA

I recently wrote a review of Sarepta Pharmaceuticals drug eteplirsen for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The gist of it is that the FDA is about to review the drug and vote whether to approve or reject it, on April 26. There is no significant proof that the drug works. Evidence suggests that it is safe though. Just to get the disclosure out of the way for legal reasons, I own no stake in Sarepta and don’t plan on buying any.

Muscular dystrophy is a horrible horrible disease. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody except members of Congress and the Knesset, but since it’s genetic that’s only rhetorical.

People who have it will die by the time they are 25 or so. Their muscles will decay and they will not be able to move, and then eventually they will not be able to breathe and that’s it.

Eteplirsen tries to repair the broken gene that codes for dystrophin, the protein that most of us have that enables us to move. It might work, it might not. It’s hard to tell. But without it, everyone with muscular dystrophy on exon 54 will die. With it, maybe they will, and maybe they won’t.

The meeting takes place on April 26. There will be record attendance at the meeting, I just read. 1,200 people will watch a group of government doctors determine if dying people will be allowed to take eteplirsen. The entire addressable market for this form of the disease is about 1,560 in the US.

The entire question is absolutely insane. If you don’t realize that, you are amoral, or immoral, or both. If these people want to take the damn drug, they should be able to take it at the agreed upon price, even if it were extremely dangerous, which it isn’t.

The thought of self righteous government scientists who do not have muscular dystrophy deciding for a group of people whether or not they can try the drug, just drives me mad. It makes me want to cry for them.

They will probably reject approval. For the greater good of course. Because if they are God forbid allowed to even try a drug that has no proven efficacy, the entire reason d’etre of the FDA will cease to exist.

Newsflash. There is no reason for the FDA to exist. All they do is kill people in the name of safety.

 

Keynesianism Is A Mystical Religion That Believes Paying Taxes To Government Makes You Richer Because The Government Is Wise

I came across this post today at Mises.org by William Anderson, reposted at EPJ, about Tax Day. It’s important to read in its entirety, then I’ll explain how it relates to mystic religion.

—–

April 15 is here and we are required to do the following: tell the government our income and send much of it to Washington.

Austrian-school economists are likely to tell you this is a bad thing and that taxes and government spending lower our living standards. In other words, the more government we are required to finance, the poorer we will be. According to the Austrians, economies grow through capital investments reflecting time preferences of individuals. Furthermore, Austrians actually claim that individual savings lead to economic growth. The more we pay in taxes, the less money we have for capital investment and saving. In other words, the more taxes we pay, the less we have for the building blocks of economic growth.

However, disciples of John Maynard Keynes, like Paul Krugman and others, take a rather different view. For them, wealth is achieved by spending, which creates economic growth. When consumers don’t spend enough, government rescues the economy by upping its spending. Because of this, should government raise taxes, it actually stimulates the economy more than individuals can do through their own spending. We could allow people to spend their money as they see fit. But, it’s better to be on the safe side and tax as much of it as possible, instead.

The Keynesian “Balanced Budget Multiplier” makes it all possible. It is a version of 2 + 2 = 5. The tax-fueled magic is explained as follows:

  • All spending has a “multiplier” effect. Spending increases the incomes of others, who then spend their increased income, and the pattern continues indefinitely.
  • Individual savings, according to Keynesians, are “leakages” from the system, and if not offset by equal “injections” via government spending or increased exports, the “multiplier” then works in reverse, pulling the economy into recession.
  • Government tax increases, however, have two-fold positive net effects. First, government spends new tax revenues, which quickly multiplies and creates new jobs. Second, by reducing individual incomes, people must spend larger percentages of their incomes to uphold their present standard of living. (The famed Keynesian “multiplier” equals 1 over the savings rate, so the less we save, the greater the multiplier.)

The “logic” of the balanced-budget multiplier differs from the logic of taxation and spending in Denmark. There, individuals pay most of their income in taxes, but supposedly receive marvelous government services that are more valuable to them than what they would have purchased on their own had high tax rates not existed.

Instead, the “Balanced-Budget” multiplier creates wealth by destroying savings. Austrians obviously disagree, and the “reality gap” between Austrians and Keynesians is widened. Austrians emphasize savings, capital accumulation, market prices and market interest rates, profits, losses, with entrepreneurs making decisions in an uncertain climate under the umbrella of economic calculation.

Keynesians promise an easy way out. Just give money to the government, which will spend and spend, and the spending multiplies prosperity. Interestingly, modern intellectuals will tell you that Keynesianism is “real world,” while Austrian economics is “pie in the sky.”

On April 15, Keynesians will contribute to growing prosperity by sending more money to Washington. However, Austrians likely will have a different take.

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So, we are supposed to believe, according to Keynesian economics, that being robbed means we are becoming wealthier. That government spending is somehow magical because when politicians spend the same money on their own stuff, such as killing people or giving billions to Israeli or Arab despots, it somehow creates prosperity, whereas when you spend that money on what you actually want, it makes you poorer.

So I’m in the middle now of Volume I of Murray Rothbard’s An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought. It’s such a well written book and so fantastically organized, it’s a pleasure to read. Rothbard writes like the Rambam in terms of organization, though Rothbard is more verbose. It is impossible to be more succinct than Maimonides, unless you’re Rashi, but Rambam was clearer than Rashi most of the time. Maybe I’m the first one to make that comparison.

Anyway, Rothbard writes about the history of a town in Germany where a guy named Bockelson decided Jesus wanted everything collectivized and to each according to his need etc. Sound familiar? And that everyone was going to be forcibly converted to his brand of Christianity called something or other. Anabaptism maybe? I don’t care enough to double check.

He ended up getting sieged along with his followers while everyone was starving because the division of labor broke down, as it always does in forced communism. Rothbard writes the following about Bockelson, towards the end, after he had already declared himself king and everyone was starving to death.

It is not surprising that the deluded masses of Munster began to grumble at being forced to live in abject poverty while the king and his courtiers lived in extreme luxury on the proceeds of their confiscated belongings. And so Bockelson had to beam them some propaganda to explain the new system. The explanation was this: it was all right for Bockelson to live in pomp and luxury because he was already completely dead to the world and the flesh. Since he was dead to the world, in a deep sense his luxury didn’t count. In the style of every guru who has ever lived in luxury among his credulous followers, he explained that for him material objects had no value. How such ‘logic’ can ever fool anyone passes understanding.

And then I realized, the Keynesian nonsense ‘logic’ that giving your money to politicians and bureaucrats makes you richer, is the same exact thing. All western society has been indoctrinated into a religion that essentially preaches the government as King Bockelson. Bockelson can live in luxury while the his people starve because Bockelson is beyond the flesh.

And Washington can live in luxury while its subjects are forced to pay the taxes that Washington consumes, because giving Washington money makes the people richer, since Washington is beyond the flesh. Spending makes you richer. Savings makes you poorer. The more money politicians have, the better off everyone is. The richer Bockelson is, the better off his people are.

It’s the same religion. Keynesianism and insane early protestant Christian messianic communism.

Yakov Litzman Calls to Boycott McDonald’s Because Food “Unhealthy”

The bottom of the barrel just keeps getting deeper and stupider. Litzman is the Haredi equivalent of semi-educated hillbilly who is the “Health Minister”. But since he knows nothing about health, he basically goes into hospitals and makes sure they’re Shomer Shabbos.

He says, according to the AP, that, get this:

“There is no need to eat junk food. Not in our country.”

HA! What a zinger! I wonder how much garbage he eats every day. I’ve seen supermarkets in haredi shops full of sugar this and sugar that, sugar topped with sugar and coated with three layers of sugar with different forms of sugar on it. Sugar includes pasta, bread, crackers, actual sugar, pretzels, actual candy, noodles, flour, and anything you say בורא מיני מזונות on.

I smell a law coming on banning McDonald’s. Or passing a special McDonald’s tax so Litzman can give himself a junk food raise.

I used to live next door to Bnei Brak and watch all the dough-boy looking Haredi men and women pale as ghosts whose medical bills I have to pay because they eat nothing but junk.

At least at McDonald’s you can get some actual protein and salads.

Does he have any idea how often my kids are given candy by people they don’t know? In their gans, out of their gans, by real estate salesmen (seriously), how we avoid the government lunches because they’re always, basically, just sugar?

In this country, as well as all western countries, we keep feeding sugar to people until their pancreases explode in diabetes. Then our prescription for them, instead of stop eating sugar (which includes everything you say mezonos on) is to keep eating sugar but to shoot yourself up with insulin so you can keep eating it. And this is already after your pancreas has stopped working because you’ve been on a high sugar diet your whole life while all the doctors tell you to stay away from actual food, like meat and animal fat and even high fat fruits like avocados and coconuts.

Basically, this country tells people to avoid any food that will actually fill you up and stop you from eating garbage, and instead just keep eating the garbage. And when your body parts die because you’ve eaten too much garbage, to shoot yourself up with drugs so you can keep eating garbage.

And he’s telling me to boycott McDonald’s because it’s garbage.

If he wanted to rid the country of junk food, he’d have to clear nearly every single shelf of every single supermarket, and just keep the fruits vegetables and meat aisles.

The name “McDonald’s” is such a cheap shot. It’s embarrassing that creatures like Litzman exist.

Deep Praxeological Thoughts by Rafi Farber

I’m not exactly Jack Handey, but I’ll give this a try. It’s ironic, because I used to be a humor writer and now I’m taking a humor icon and turning it somber and serious. Life happens.

In hard sciences nobody has the audacity to try to change the laws of nature. They are what they are, and scientists attempt to use the laws of nature to navigate towards specific goals. The more they find out about the laws of nature, the more they can use them to construct outcomes. This is the long form description of “technology”.

It’s what physicists do, it’s what chemists do, it’s what (some) ecologists and psychologists do, but it’s not what most economists do. Notice that the more macro you get, the more politics interferes. There are almost no political physicists. Not to say there aren’t physicists who have political opinions, but almost none of them allow politics to infect their scientific thinking. There are no politics as to where a rocket will go when fueled with x at y trajectory. Same with chemistry, one level macro above physics. Biology you start having political biologists somewhat when it comes to the “gender pay gap” and whatever other nonsense explained by “biology”, but there’s not so much. Biology is macro-chemistry.

When you get to ecology/psychology, which are both macro-biology, you start getting political. Climatologists and other soothsayers are surveyed by the government about what laws should be passed for carbon footprints and whatnot. Psychologists often advocate government interference for a bunch of stuff. Those reading this who believe in global climate warming change should know that my carbon footprint is astronomically small for my economic position (which is not high, but I live quite beneath my means), so don’t give me any crap please. I’d bet it’s smaller than most climate global change warming activists.

By the time you get to economics, which is macro-psychology and macro-ecology, almost everything is political. Economists do not respect the immutable laws of economics. They attempt to change them. Supply and demand no longer apply when they can be changed by politics. Minimum wage doesn’t unemploy those whose labor is not worth minimum wage. Increasing the quantity of money does not decrease purchasing power. Supply and demand doesn’t apply all the time. Free markets don’t always work, like gravity always works. Etc. But supply and demand actually do, always, work, which means minimum wage causes unemployment, the end. But this is ignored by most “economists”.

The humbling thing about economics is that its laws cannot ever be changed. And people desperately want to change lives by force. It is the drive for power. Someone figures out the laws of motion and can create a rocket. By the time you get to economics, you are dealing with free will of human beings, which has a divine quality to it. If the laws of physics and biology are immutable, so are the laws of economics. Everything is one system.

And that is the difficulty of being a real economist. You cannot use your knowledge to tinker with the system, without betraying the knowledge you have learned. Once you try to tinker through politics, you start playing God with human lives without their consent. With biology you can tinker with human lives, but only with their consent. With economics, suddenly it’s OK to tinker with the entire human population with impunity? No. It is not.

This is why economics, real economics, is the most important subject in the world to learn, understand. The smartest people in the world think they can interfere with good results. They are all, 100%, absolutely wrong. Only the Austrian School understands this.

 

 

Shelli Yechimovich Caught Between The State and a Hard Place

I love it when the State goes after its own. I see on my homepage, which is MSN in Hebrew because I’m too lazy to change it, that Bozhi Herzog (I forget the menuval’s real name) head of the Labor Party, is being investigated for receiving “illegal donations” to his campaign for head of the labor party back in 2013.

Shelli Yechimovich, the other menuvelet who was running against him, had this gem to say about the affair:

חברת הכנסת שלי יחימוביץ’ (המחנה הציוני) התייחסה היום (שבת) לראשונה לבדיקה המשטרתית נגד יו”ר מפלגתה ויו”ר האופוזיציה יצחק הרצוג, ואמרה כי היא “סומכת, כמו תמיד, על המשטרה, הפרקליטות ועל כל מוסדות השלטון ומייחלת שהמפלגה שלנו לא תשלם מחיר כבד מדי

Knesset Member Shelli Yechimovich commented this morning on the police investigation against the chairman of her party and the head of the opposition Yitzchak (ah, that’s it) Herzog, and said that she “relies, as always, on the police, the prosecution, and all the institutions of state and hopes that her party will not pay to heavy a price.”

Whenever the state goes after itself, politicians have to still praise the state so as not to incite rebellion against it. She relies on the police, the prosecution and all the institutions of state because those are the weapons she is always fighting to control with her political aspirations. She is caught between the State and a hard place. It’s the same reason politicians always profusely thank the “first responders” in any disaster situation because the first responders are always police and firemen, services monopolized by the state.

I, for one, do not rely on the police, the prosecution, or any institution of state to do anything except what is in their best interest. I say the same thing about all private businesses as well, which always only do what is in their best interest. However, the difference between a private business and the state is that people voluntarily pay private business for their services, whatever they are, which means it is always in the best interest of businesses to comply with the wishes of their customers and clients. The State, however, doesn’t have to comply with the wishes of anyone because they get their money at the barrel of a gun.

If a private business screws you over, they will lose business. If the state screws you over, there ain’t nothin’ you can do about it, except go to the state itself to complain and scream at the wall. Or in the best case scenario, to the “Judges” of the “Supreme Court” who are wonderful and fair. And are paid by the State.

Also interesting to note, the crimes that state officials get punished for, almost always, are crimes against the State, which in this case would be accepting money not according to state laws. This isn’t actually a real crime, since accepting money is perfectly fine. They are never charged with actual crimes against people, even though they commit these every second of their lives. They only get in trouble for breaking the artificial laws the state makes up for itself.