Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Government Regulations and Plane Crash Survivability

What? Me Worry?

Virtually every expert interviewed since the airplane crash in San Francisco has said the reason there were so few deaths is "government regulation."  Stronger seats, seats which do not burn, materials which do not emit toxic gases when burned, escape devices, all mandated at the instigation of the  Federal Aviation Administration and National Transit Safety Board, meant that a plane load of over 300 people suffered a crash with only 2 deaths (so far) , and some of those may have occurred on the ground when rescue vehicles ran over passengers.

So here we have that nasty monster, "Government Regulation"--which every Republican candidate, every Tea Party Patriot decries-- saving lives and allowing people to walk away from a catastrophe.

No Government Is Good Government!
Of course, seat belts, air  bags and a myriad of other improvements to car safety save lives more quietly, every day, all over the country and these were resisted by the auto industry for years, but that ogre, the intrusive, freedom-killing government, insisted on regulations to make cars safer. Damn that business killing, meddling, intrusive government!

General Motors sent out private investigators to dig up dirt on the author of a muck raking book, Unsafe, At Any Speed, in the 1960's,  in order to discredit him as a homosexual, a Communist--anything--but they could not find a flaw in the crusader who became famous, as much for his blemish free character as for his book, and that was Ralph Nader.

Milton Friedman, the patron saint of the Tea Party and libertarians everywhere, of course has argued that government regulation is always bad--the Food and Drug Administration should not be able to prohibit unsafe drugs from the market, Friedman argues--let those injured by the drugs sue the companies who sell them, i.e., let the marketplace govern and police the bad or unsafe products, but under no circumstances allow the government to police industry in behalf of public safety. For that bit of idiocy, and presumably for other expressions of moronic insight, Professor Friedman was awarded the noble prize in economics.

When boats flounder offshore, the United States Coast Guard flies to the rescue. When hurricanes devastate North and South Carolina or Louisiana, FEMA moves in with relief. 

The government prevents injury and responds to injury, but it is the great Satan in the eyes of the Right.
Down with Government Regulation!

Let us make a list of all the things government does for which we should be happy, of which we ought to be proud.  Put airplane safety at the top, just below Social Security and Medicare.


  1. Hey, just count in Interstate highways. The good that they do our nation, the mere existence of them enable the freedom of movement, create the jobs and of course the ability of us to live the 'Murican Dream. With out the highways of America the Teabaggers would not, could not, in vision their righteousness. Who paid for those roads? WE THE PEOPLE! (those government money sucking US!)

  2. Anon,

    That definitely belongs on the list.
    And it was Eisenhower, a Republican, who pushed it.

    Mad Dog

  3. Oh Mad Dog, you're so misguided-of course the government is Satan-those airlines and car companies were chomping at the bit to institute increased safety measures and would have done so willingly and quite happily without the intrusion of the over reaching, freedom sucking leech we know as the US government...Do you think libertarians and Tea Partiers really believe that BS, I'm not so sure. One would hope that it will be difficult for them to look at the charred remains of that plane and think safety regulations had nothing to do with the high survival rate.

    Related to that, I saw Sully Sullenberger being interviewed and he was saying that not only was increased safety standards responsible for the low death count, but that this was no longer that unique-plane crashes today can be survivable. He cautioned that we should all be paying attention to the before flight safety drills and reading the escape plans outlined on those cards in the seat pockets. That was kind of news to me-I thought, despite the occasional miracle,that for the most part if a crash occurred we'd all be goners. During those safety drills I'm usually staring into space wondering what the in-flight movie will be and if the person next to me will be interesting or smell bad-guess I'll have to mend my ways and become a more pro-active passenger-( I bet you're already quite diligent and focused in this regard...)
    P.S. How about adding the FBI to Anonymous and your list. Those creepy invaders of our privacy who we despise- until our family member has been kidnapped or our banks have been robbed etc.

  4. Maud,

    Wow! When you surface from the depths, you blow an admirable spout out of the blow hole and we are all invigorated.
    I actually do look for the nearest exit.
    One of my pilot friends guessed they were out of gas or the plane would have been enveloped in a greater fireball.

    Mad Dog

  5. Mad Dog,
    Thank you-although I must say it is my most fervent hope that this is the first time in my life I've been compared, favorably or otherwise, to a whale...