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From the Kitchen Table

But We Have Spent So Much Money

by Peg Luksik

It's an oft-repeated lament.

When parents approach school districts or state legislatures with their concerns about the disasters occurring in Common Core classrooms and ask that the program be stopped before even more damage is done to the education and self-esteem of America's little ones, they are told that such a step would be irresponsible because of the huge amounts of money that have already been spent. So our kids will just have to "soldier on".

The apparent success of that argument must have many other industries rethinking their approaches to problems.

Pharmaceutical companies who have been forced to stop production of a new drug that made it all the way to the final testing stage before the discovery of serious negative side effects could claim that they had already invested a great deal of money, so it would be "irresponsible" to stop production at this late date.

And companies that brought drugs into the marketplace, only to be faced with recall either because the drug had not been properly...

tested or unforeseen complications had arisen from its use, could make the same claim and avoid having to pull that product off the shelves.

If this defense could have been used successfully by Merck, for example, when faced with the recall of Vioxx, the company would not have lost its initial investment in the development and dissemination of the drug. It would not now be faced with damage claims and legal costs that are reported to top billion. All Merck would have needed to do was to remind those being harmed by their use of Vioxx that the company had invested a great deal of money in the drug, so the patients in harm's way from its use would just have to "soldier on".

The automobile industry would also find this claim quite helpful. We are constantly hearing about automobile recalls for a myriad of safety issues, some proving to be fatal. There is even a web site, hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to help consumers find all the recalls that may affect their vehicle, their child's safety seat, and their tires. In each case, the auto manufacturer must remove the defective equipment and replace it at no cost to the owner. In some cases, they must also pay damages.

It the auto industry had only known that all they needed to do was to inform their consumers that they had already spent a great deal of money on their products to be absolved of all liability for any defect and all responsibility for correcting the situation, they could have saved themselves a great deal of time and effort and expense. The auto makers could have just pointed to those costs, and told their consumers that they would just have to "soldier on".

Of course, we do not allow such a nonsensical defense from the pharmaceutical, the automobile, or any other, industry. We require that they stop disseminating a product that harms its consumers, and take all necessary steps to correct the situation.

A reasonable person, then, would wonder at the incredible arrogance of an educational establishment that seems to believe that it can justify its continued use of a program that harms our kids by pointing to its costs. And that same person would then demand that this establishment follow the steps of correction that every other industry follows — beginning with the total recall of their failed program.

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