Libertarians and others who are for little regulation for Free Markets didn’t have a good week. My last post looked at Martin Shkreli who increased the price of a drug about 5000% because he could and hey, it’s all about the money. The last few days we have been hearing about how Volkswagen didn’t play by the rules:
The trigger to the company’s market woes was last Friday’s revelation from the U.S.’s Environmental Protection Agency that VW rigged nearly half a million cars to defeat U.S. smog tests.
The company then admitted that it intentionally installed software programmed to switch engines to a cleaner mode during official emissions testing. The software then switches off again, enabling cars to drive more powerfully on the road while emitting as much as 40 times the legal pollution limit.
Today Stewart Parnell was convicted of being even worse:
Expert evidence at trial showed that tainted food led to a salmonella outbreak in 2009 with more than 700 reported cases of salmonella poisoning in 46 states. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on epidemiological projections, that number translates to more than 22,000 total cases including nine deaths. The court found that the evidence presented at trial linked Stewart and Michael Parnell’s conduct, and specifically PCA’s contaminated peanut products, to the victims’ illnesses. The court also found that steps taken by the CDC to link reported illnesses to the specific strain of salmonella found in PCA products established that Stewart and Michael Parnell’s conduct was the proximate cause of the victims’ illnesses.
The government presented evidence at trial to establish that Stewart Parnell and Michael Parnell – with former PCA operations manager Samuel Lightsey, 50, and Daniel Kilgore, 46, both of Blakely – participated in several schemes by which they defrauded PCA customers and jeopardized the quality and purity of their peanut products. Specifically, the government presented evidence that the defendants misled customers about the presence of salmonella in their products. For example, the Parnells, Lightsey and Kilgore fabricated certificates of analysis (COAs) accompanying various shipments of peanut products. COAs are documents that summarize laboratory results, including test results concerning the presence or absence of pathogens in food. According to the evidence, on several occasions, the Parnells, Lightsey and Kilgore participated in a scheme to fabricate COAs that stated that the food at issue was free of pathogens when in fact there had been no testing of the food or tests had revealed the presence of pathogens.
All three of these cases show people who are willing to let people die so that they can make more money. Unfortunately, they are far from the only ones which is why we need government regulations.