FLORIDA

Here are Florida’s big utility companies asking their regulator for permission to gut energy-conservation goals:

Florida’s big public utilities spend very little on energy conservation. On Monday, they will ask state regulators for permission to spend even less . . .

Given their gerrymandered control of the state (which actually has more registered Democrats), the Republican-backed utilities may well get their way.  Never mind that half of Florida will be under water if we don’t arrest climate change; or that energy efficiency enriches us all.

And here is how Republicans stripped Florida’s insurance commissioner of the power to negotiate with health insurers for lower rates.

Meanwhile . . .

HEALTH CARE

Guru:  “America’s decline is because it is being dominated by financial engineers (like the ones who run who run VRX) and hedge fund managers (like William Ackman) who are interested in short term personal profits over long-term innovation.  We’ll see if they succeed in killing and milking AGN.  We all will be worse if they do.  Here’s the story.

☞ Its essence: a drug company called Valeant that grows by buying others, is trying to buy Allergan, a drug company that grows by developing new drugs.  It’s plan is to boost short-term earnings by slashing chopping two-thirds out of R&D.

Guru goes on to say: “The CEO of VRX is an ex McKinsey consultant who buys out companies in the pharma space in order to cut R&D and milk the earnings.  He is very driven by ROE calculations.  It has worked.  His shareholders have benefited tremendously by a rise in stock.  Is this what made America great?  No.  America was the place for innovation, not financial engineering.  The great family-owned drug companies:  Pfizer, Merck, and, in Switzerland, Roche, Ciba, and Sandoz, were all started by chemists 150 years ago or so.  Chemists.  Not financial engineers.  These companies have continued to expand into novel chemistry and biology over the last 150 years, looking for new therapies.  They did not succeed by cutting R&D.  They were very interested in ‘shareholder value’ — they were private companies — the chemists were the shareholders!  Karen Ho (Princeton anthropologist who first worked on Wall Street) wrote a book that traced the current focus on financial ‘shareholder value’ as the only basis for corporate behavior to the Reagan administration.  Her book Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street might be worth citing on your website.”

 

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