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Friday, May 10, 2013

We Don't Need No Regulation

According to an article in today's Times, even in the wake of a massive explosion in West, Texas, that killed at least 14 people, injured hundreds more, and caused millions of dollars in damage, the residents of the Lone Star State still declare a general aversion to government regulation.  The article adopted a somewhat condescending tone: "Serves those hillbillies right!"  But in fairness, the argument that better regulation would have prevented the explosion is specious at best.  No one knows what would have happened, and even the best governmental oversight still allows accidents to happen.  And if Texans prefer their regulations like they prefer their academic achievement (i.e., non-existent), I suppose that's their choice.

"Texas has also had the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities — more than 400 annually — for much of the past decade. Fires and explosions at Texas’ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012. Compared with Illinois, which has the nation’s second-largest number of high-risk sites, more than 950, but tighter fire and safety rules, Texas had more than three times the number of accidents, four times the number of injuries and deaths, and 300 times the property damage costs."
You catch that last part: Three-HUNDRED times the property damage costs?  Who do you suppose pays for that?  Even if the federal government itself doesn't use taxpayer dollars to cover any of those costs (which seems unlikely to me), then the general public still ends up shelling out for these non-regulated Texan properties in the form of higher insurance rates.  Somehow seems to contradict the image of rugged self-reliance that Texans hold so dear.

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