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Inside Story on Town Hall Riots: Right-Wing Shock Troops Do Corporate America’s Dirty Work

By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet. Posted August 10, 2009.

How the health-care industry, the GOP and one media mogul made common cause with the anti-government fringe.

The recent spate of town hall dustups may look like an overnight sensation, but they’ve been years, even decades, in the making.

Since the days in the late 1970s, when the New Right began its takeover of the Republican Party, it has cultivated a militia of white people armed with a grudge against those who brought forth the social changes of the ’60s.

These malcontents have been promised their day of retribution, a day for which they are more than ready. Few seem to understand that they are merely dupes for a corporate agenda that will only worsen the conditions in which they live.

Why, you may ask, would men of power and fame shake the rough, unmanicured hands of gun enthusiasts, conspiracy theorists, gay-haters, misogynists and racists?

Because somebody’s got to do the dirty work. Magnates don’t like to soil their French cuffs, and it’s hard for a bunch of rich guys to garner sympathy for threats to their bottom lines. It’s the classic inside-outside game that the right wing of the GOP has played for the last two decades.

The Health-Care Industry Executive

Imagine you’re an executive at a pharmaceutical company. Your U.S. operations are your cash cow; they earn you wild net profits because, unlike in other industrialized nations, you do not experience the price controls of a government-administered program in which the government negotiates for the best price on prescription drugs and devices.

Along comes a government plan for health-insurance reform that includes a public, government-financed plan. The public option, they call it. As part of the plan, you will be required to negotiate with the government for the price of medications and devices to be distributed within the plan.

Now that could really screw up your massive profit margins. Private plans might then insist on prices more like those the government is getting.

Instead of increasing your profit by double digits in the worst year the economy has seen since the Great Depression, as did an outfit called The Medicines Co., your shareholders may have to settle for profits more in line with the overall growth of the economy. And wouldn’t that just stink?

Meanwhile, polls show a clear majority of Americans — you know, regular Americans, the kind who don’t want to own an AK-47, or who do accept the president’s citizenship status — favor the public option. In fact, in June, CBS News found that majority to be 72 percent.

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