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Negotiated discounts on prescription drugs sounds like a good idea. Bypassing the legislative process to legislate by initiative is generally a bad one.

Brad DeLong (channeling Severin Borenstein) provides substantive reasons to vote No on Prop. 80 (electric power re-regulation), but seems willing to go along with Ezra Klein who goes along with the editors of the LA Weekly in supporting Prop. 79 (negotiating prescription drug prices).

I have no problem believing that Prop. 79 is basically a good idea, but I don’t think it’s a good enough idea to justify sidestepping the legislative process. If some expert I know and trust had actually done an analysis of the details of the proposition, I might be talked into voting for it. But this is too much like flying blind for my taste. How about we elect a Democratic governor and then get a decent prescription-drug bill through the legislature, with hearings to make sure someone has thought through the key details?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: