Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Note on Government Vocabulary

In today's Washington Post:

GlaxoSmithKline Plc agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve U.S. criminal and civil investigations into whether the U.K. company marketed drugs for unapproved uses and other matters, its biggest legal settlement.

Use of the terms "resolve" and "investigations into" (or, in the headline, "settlement") legitimizes things like this by treating them as if they were tort cases with real victims who will see some of that money as restitution for damages.

They're not. They're just cases of bureaucrats and regulators playing at extortion and bribe-seeking. In essence:

Nice company you got there -- be a shame if anything happened to it.

That is all.

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