As we noted yesterday, Treasury Secretary Paulson was up in New York City speaking to the Economic Club of NY about capital markets. Along the way, he made some great points about tort costs, a huge drag on our competitiveness.
Well, today, WaPo columnist Steve Pearlstein has a gloomy piece entitled, “Paulson May Find Sensible Doesn’t Sell” applauding Paulson but ultimately concluding that in the end, his sensible ways just won’t sell in Washington. (By the way, it was Pearlstein’s headline writers — not us — who titled the piece, “Paulson Says Business is Over-Regulated”.) Unfortunately, the article is a window into Pearlstein’s gloomy and cynical soul. Along the way, he takes a shot at us, kind of a stray bullet we took while we were watching the video of parade balloons being made.
Pearlstein says that although Paulson calls for legal reform, he and we (the NAM, by name) aren’t really speaking the same lingo because, as he says, the NAM’s “real interest isn’t in reforming the tort system but in castrating it.” Ouch! Ick! Ewwww!
For the record, we say what we mean and we mean what we say. We flush 2% of our gross domestic product down the rat hole on tort costs in this country today. That’s larger than any of the countries on this list spend on their entire GDP. Pretty depressing. We agree with Paulson and said so yesterday. We will support just about any initiative that drives that number down.
So, Steve, for the record, we’re pro-reform, anti-castration.
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