Tobacco Negotiations Concerns

In 1997, within a few days after the tobacco companies offered their $300 billion settlement, I realized what a brilliant move it was for them. I am surprised that no one else has seemed to refer to this aspect in dozens of newspaper articles and TV segments about it. I'm somewhat disappointed.

It represents an absolute guarantee that the government will not pass any law in the next 25 years to hurt their business! And it even assures them of being allowed to prosper during that time, because implicit in the ability to PAY such payments is the consistent profitability to be able to do it!

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As soon as the government accepts such an offer, and passes such laws to waive the culpability of the tobacco companies in all past and future lawsuits, our government will unintentionally become a co-conspirator with them. In order to enable them to pay off the $300 billion (about 17 billion per year, depending on interest rates, if interest is applied), the government will HAVE TO arrange laws to make sure the tobacco companies prosper!

A news talk show guest, Cliff Douglas, made the comment during the Nightline show of 5/28/97, that the "industry is digging its own grave" by suggesting the settlement. Many people seem to believe that. They don't consider the situation described above. In fact, if the tobacco companies ever ran into financial difficulties during the next 25 years, our government would feel itself responsible to help them out! All to make sure they could pay their agreed settlement. The various agencies that will receive funds from this source will quickly become dependent on those funds. Any threat to the continuation of those funds will be unwelcome.

The other subjects described in media articles ARE valid. It's just that this particular one is extremely important in the long run. The consequences require that the settlement offer be refused!

First Developed, 1997,
First Published on the Web: Feb 6, 1998

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago