Republicans, as far as I know, have always been and always will be all business, all the time. They are huge supporters of capitalism and, more importantly, unfettered capitalism. They do not believe that capitalism should be restrained by silly government regulations (to them, all regulations are silly). The rest of us understand that unfettered capitalism leads to massive abuse of workers, of customers and of other businesses. The rest of us understand that without appropriate controls capitalism is not about competition but instead it is about crushing your opponents. Capitalism is about making money and that’s it. Yesterday we saw another example of unfettered capitalism – Massey Energy. Massey Energy appears to have wanted to do just about anything in order to make money. Cut corners? Okay, as long as we can make money. Risk miner safety? Okay, as long as we can make money. This is an example of why we need a government big enough to stand up to folks like Massey Energy.
From WSJ (WSJ link may require a subscription):
Massey Energy Co. could have prevented the West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 workers last year and the company failed to disclose some hazards in reports it provided to government inspectors, federal safety officials said Wednesday.
Patricia Smith, the U.S. Labor Department’s top lawyer, said not recording hazards where required was a potential criminal violation of the Mine Act and “we have notified the U.S. attorney of that.”
The Justice Department’s probe of the accident is continuing, it said recently. Its investigation has so far resulted in a criminal indictment against the former head of safety at the Upper Big Branch mine for allegedly attempting to destroy evidence. He has pleaded not guilty.
The April 2010 explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, W.Va., was the worst U.S. coal-mining disaster in 40 years. It resulted in several wrongful-death lawsuits against Massey and led to the resignation of the company’s chief executive and the sale of Massey to Alpha Natural Resources Inc. of Abingdon, Va.
At a briefing Wednesday in Beaver, W.Va., Kevin Stricklin, coal administrator for mine safety and health at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said, “We found there to be two sets of books” kept by Massey. (more…)
I think businesses too often ignore or hide dangers like this as a business decision. They weigh the benefits vs. the chances of bad things happening. I’m sure they also factor in how much they’d have to pay to victims vs. what their current benefits would be. Sometimes its to keep up with competitors doing the same things, and sometimes its just plain old greed.
There are too many examples to ignore, yet Republicans choose to ignore them anyway.