I'd like to join TigerHawk in thanking the giant corporations that make my life so good.
The pharmaceutical companies deliver extraordinary value to their customers, yet there is apparently great political advantage in bashing them. It is not obvious why this is so. Yes, we all wish the pharmaceutical industry would do certain things differently (I, for one, could easily go the rest of my life without hearing about "a strong, lasting erection" during prime time), but that is true of all industries. If I had to venture a guess, I would say that people resent paying money for drugs, no matter how much value they confer, because they feel they have no choice in the expenditure. Their doctor tells them that they need a prescription and they do not know enough to challenge the doctor's judgment. They have not budgeted for the expense because people do a bad job of planning even for known unknowns, so they also resent spending the money. The drug is not perceived as having value (even if it alleviates pain, calms the nerves, stems multiple sclerosis, thins the blood, lowers cholesterol, or ensures a strong, lasting erection), it is the thing that suddenly prevents you from paying for some less necessary thing. Never mind that the drug saved your life, or made your life worth living. ...
The bashing of the pharmaceutical companies matches the popular dislike of the integrated oil companies. Me, I have nothing but admiration for big oil companies. I find it amazing that we can drill a hole somewhere in West Africa or the Arctic Sea or the jungles of Indonesia, pump out petroleum, ship it across the ocean, refine it into gasoline, and deliver it to my corner gas station, and pay everybody in between an adequate profit, for even $5 per gallon, much less the $2 or so that prevails at the pump as I write this. If you give the oil industry even a moment's thought, the complexity of its operations and the courage of at least some of its employees is simply astonishing. Yet politicians, who have a nose for the popular, love to bash oil companies, especially when prices are rising. Again, I think it is because people do not plan for volatility in gasoline prices, so when they have to pay more at the pump they do not acknowledge to themselves that gasoline remains such an extraordinary value that they will not do even the simplest things to use less of it.
Big oil, big pharma, and Wal-Mart. It is apparently in our nature to attack the businesses that have done the most for our standard of living.
I'm also thankful for Microsoft and Google, E*Trade and Citibank, the aerospace and defense industry, the car companies, and probably many others if I took time to think about it. Of course I don't have to send them love letters... the beauty of capitalism is that I can thank them merely by buying their products. It's win-win.