Democrats & Liberals Archives

Free-Market Cave-in

Yesterday we were told that the 6 miners trapped for a couple of weeks in the Utah coal-mine cave-in may never be found. This unfortunate news comes after 3 of the rescuers died in their efforts to rescue the trapped miners. Nine people died and many more are suffering to maintain conservative principles expressed by 3 phrases: ownership society, free markets and self reliance.

President George W. Bush wants the United Staates to be an "ownership society." I'm sure he realizes that not everyone can be an owner. But he wants everyone to think in terms of becoming an owner. Something like this:

To be someone important, I can't spend my time merely working for a living. I must own a business and become one of the elite. To do this I need to be a tough competitor. I can't allow any of my competitors to beat me and make me a failure. No, I must do whatever it takes in order to win, even if I hurt other people in the process. This means I must work hard to become a billionaire, or at least a multi-millionaire. The more famous you are and the more money you have, the more influence you have.

One wonders whether the owner of the mine where the cave-in occurred has excessive influence.

Conservatives rave about free markets. Don't depend on government, they say, depend on free markets. Don't reduce the wonders of the free market with regulation. Allow owners to fight it out in the marketplace. The owner of the caved-in mine most likely has been thinking as follows:

The country needs coal. I'll acquire a coal mine and collect lots of money. To make money you need to keep expenses down. One thing I can do is pay workers as little as possible. I'll have to be tough in union negotiations. Another thing I can do is avoid all those safety inspectors. The more money I put into safety the less is available as profit. In general, regulation hurts the free market.

The major principle supporting conservative ideas is the necessity for self-reliance by all citizens. With reference to the cave-in, Republican politicians say:

Take care of yourself because nobody else will do it. Exercise your free will. No one is forcing you to become a miner. You join a mining company knowing full well that it is dangerous and may be even fatal. You take a chance because you know you can make good money with which to take care of your family. If you are trapped in a cave-in it's up to you to find a way out. Should you die, this will be a tragedy that could not have been prevented.

Conservative principles have led to the Utah-mine tragedy, just as they have led to the Hurricane Katrina tragedy. Ownership, free markets and self-reliance are all good. But they must be modified occasionally. Ownership cannot get anywhere without people to do the work. Free markets must be regulated for the interest of the average person. Self-reliance must yield to working as a community for the common good.

There was a free-market cave-in in Utah. To save the free market we need liberal ideas: An opportunity society open to all, regulation of the market to make it more safe and more fair, and the building of community to introduce harmony.

Posted by Paul Siegel at August 20, 2007 5:14 PM
Comment #230020

Paul, this has to be the most disgusting article I’ve seen written on the left side of the blog, to blame a cave-in that occurred because of earthquakes on Republican policies is a reach even for you, and to suggest that the owner didn’t provide a safe working environment because he was trying to ‘get over’ on the workers that I am sure he is mourning makes me want to vomit.

Where are any actual fact to back up your assertions?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2007 6:02 PM
Comment #230022

I to think this post of yours is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read.

Posted by: KAP at August 20, 2007 6:09 PM
Comment #230024

Rhinehold, do some research before you make accusations. The issues here and the data to support them are too numerous for me to go into. Two things: the mine owner was a major contributor to the republican party, and he has spent a great deal of time fighting improvements to mine safety. The list of this man’s misdeeds are numerous. The guy from the federal gov’t (can’t remember his name right now) who was appointed by bush on the sly because the republican congress would not confirm him had the worst mining record in recent years and he was in charge of inspections and monitoring of mines. He also fought needed mine safety updates. Try googling these two guys and see what comes up. Sorry I can’t recall names right now but both have had their faces all over the screen for the last two weeks. It shouldn’t be hard for you to find their names or maybe someone else here can help me out.

Posted by: Carolina at August 20, 2007 6:12 PM
Comment #230026


You NEVER hear of mining accidents is socialist places like China or Russia. (China accounts about 80% of the world’s total although it produces only 35% of the world’s coal)

There are never any industrial accidents in non-free market countries.

And of course, nobody paid any attention to the mine disaster in Utah. No effort was spent trying to rescue the trapped miners.

Be serious. Industrial accidents are much more common in places where the free market is less established and where ownership and private property are less protected.

In Communist and socialist countries w/o private property, they often did not even both to count the fatalities. Hundreds of miners would die in E. Europe or the Soviet Union and nobody would even read about it.

We take such accidents very seriously. Serious work related accidents in the U.S. are becomming less common all the time.

What you could say is that this is a good arguement for nuclear power. Nobody has ever died in an American nuclear power accident. Coal kills people every year.

Posted by: Jack at August 20, 2007 6:21 PM
Comment #230028


How did anything you suggest cause the earthquakes that buried these miners? They’re republicans, so that makes them bad people? The violations listed on the mine were considered minor and had nothing to do with the deaths of these miners as Paul has suggested.

Are you going to actually support this joke of an article, Carolina? Rail against the owner for fighting safety if you want, but unless you can show that the lack of those things he fought against had ANYTHING to do with these cave-ins, caused because of earthquakes, you are ‘profiteering’ off of the deaths of these miners and it is a most disgusting practice.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2007 6:29 PM
Comment #230029

Work place safety should be a major concern for everyone. But to put the blame on one party or the other is pure bunk. Natural disasters are not caused by dems or reps, which Katrina and the Utah Mine cave in were. We all as workers have the right to refuse to do anything that is dangerous and may cause bobily harm. No one could have predicted the mine cave in in Utah, but hurricanes and their tracks can be within reason and if you choose to stay in that path that’s your own problem.

Posted by: KAP at August 20, 2007 6:38 PM
Comment #230030

Again Reinhold do some research. There was no earthquake that was propaganda put out there by the mine owner. Seismologists (excuse my spelling if that isn’t spelled correctly) in the area have said there was no earthquake the quaking of the earth was caused by the mine collaspe. The suspected cause of the mine collapse is a dangerous practice of collapsing the walls as the miners exit in an attempt to get every last piece of coal from the mine. Of course the owner denies this is what they were doing. But this practice has started to increase as the need for more coal and the desire for more profits has incresed. Jack maybe serious work accidents are becoming less common in every area (I don’t know) but not in mining. Mining accidents are on the rise and have been for the last few years. Jack, are you suggesting that because other countries have a worse record for mine accidents that we shouldn’t be doing everything we can safety wise to protect miners instead of trying to find ways to cut costs and bring in more profits such as opposing new safety regulations.

Posted by: carolina at August 20, 2007 6:47 PM
Comment #230031

You all need to pay a little more attention to the reports released…just as Carolina has said. This owner has a terrible safety record,(1), and it appears to be confirmed that he was in fact doing a highly dangerous form of mining (2), and (3),there is NO information to support the earthquake theory.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 20, 2007 6:49 PM
Comment #230032

The Free-Market,should be thrown down a mine shaft.

Posted by: the libertine at August 20, 2007 6:54 PM
Comment #230034

According to CNN it was a mountain bump where tons of rock pushing down caused a wall to explode. But I still don’t see where that was the fault of either a Democrat or Republican.

Posted by: KAP at August 20, 2007 7:02 PM
Comment #230035

And we all would live in a communist America.

Posted by: KAP at August 20, 2007 7:07 PM
Comment #230038

Follow the yellow brick road ….. er, uh, I mean the greenbacks:

” The Crandall Canyon mine was nearing the end of its life and mine owners were trying to extract the last deposits by cutting out the coal pillars that were holding up the massive amount of rock above the main tunnels.”

“In March, the mine experienced a major “bump” - a shift in the mountain that can cause the roofs or pillars to fail, the floor to heave up, or coal to explode from the tunnel walls.”

“MSHA coal administrator Kevin Stricklin told The Charleston Gazette last week that operators were “trying to pick up all the coal they could” when the company proposed removing pillars from the main tunnels.
“He said a roof control inspection that started on May 22 was part of MSHA’s review of the company’s proposal. Inspectors found some problems, Stricklin said, but they were corrected and the plan was approved.”

“The President has recess appointed Richard E. Stickler, of West Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of Mine Safety at the Department of Labor.”

How’s them fer some sources?

Posted by: KansasDem at August 20, 2007 7:33 PM
Comment #230039

The U.S has bad mine safty records.Stop supporting the mine owners,Jack.I would think that someone who works at a risky job,like yours,would support your fellow workingmen.

Posted by: the libertine at August 20, 2007 7:37 PM
Comment #230040

This guy has been dirty for a long time, and even the first time he went to a microphone, he spoke first of the value of the mining industry, and NOT the value of human life sacrificed to bring it out. No telling how many lives lost he has to bear, but at the very least, now it is 9.

The “retreat mining” that they were doing has been deemed perilous by mining experts. It’s all about greed !!!

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 20, 2007 7:53 PM
Comment #230041

KAP,we have almost no freedoms now.We are headed by Facists,who care very little about us.

Posted by: the libertine at August 20, 2007 7:54 PM
Comment #230043

REDICULOUS STATEMENT. But I will concede that ALL those in D.C. care very little about the people they are supposed to represent, and that includes both parties.

Posted by: KAP at August 20, 2007 8:25 PM
Comment #230044


Our mine safety record is bad compared to what?

Of course we do not want to be compared to benighted places like China, but an average of 13 miners die the EACH DAY. Those mines are state owned. I lived in E. Europe, where the mines were state controlled. Mine accident were as common as stormy weather. Digging deep into the earth is an inherently dangerous operation. Firms take safeguards. Maybe they do not take enough. But clearly it is not a free market problem, since the worst conditions are in the least free market places.

Critics of the market economy often point to its failings. It has many. But when you compare it to the government controlled alternatives, you see that it is the better choice.

If Paul had written an article decrying mine safety, it would have been valid. Trying to make it out as an inherent problem of a market economy is just silly.

Posted by: Jack at August 20, 2007 8:50 PM
Comment #230046

The market economy needs to be reformed,end of story Jack.

Posted by: the libertine at August 20, 2007 9:59 PM
Comment #230047


The market economy always needs to be reformed and it is always in the process of reforming. It is imperfect. It is just better than the alternatives.

Posted by: Jack at August 20, 2007 10:07 PM
Comment #230048

Jack said:

You NEVER hear of mining accidents is socialist places like China or Russia. (China accounts about 80% of the world’s total although it produces only 35% of the world’s coal)

Yes indeed: Have you all missed the fact that over 180 miners were trapped in a Chinese mine and are now possibly dead?

Surely workers are safer in China and other communist countries…

Regulation is the wrong direction to go if you want to improve safety in coal mines. First of all, they set a limit on what needs to be done in order to be seen as a safe business. Sure in the absence of regulation, some mines may be more dangerous than they are now, but I can assure you that most would be safer. What boss in their right mind would create a dangerous working environment for his employees when they could work at a safer mine? What power plant would by “blood-coal”, if you want to call it that? What consumer would buy “blood energy”? Regulations set a complacent standard above which it becomes unnecessary to reach. Do you think that the government encourages news reports concerning mines that reach its standards yet are unsafe? That would make the government sound ineffective! No, but if there were no regulations, legitimate independent third-party miner/consumer groups would be established (based purely on demand) to rate the safety and efficiency of the coal production. The government severely discourages the creation of these sorts of groups currently because that would make the government seem inefficient. However, it is much easier for a coal mine owner to turn a profit when he simply has to meet a set of government-provided standards than when he has to compete with the independently evaluated safety situations in other mines.

Regulation simply creates a corrupt system. When government has the power and desire to regulate the economy, corrupt politicians and corrupt businessmen win, not the honest ones. Corrupt, dishonest businessmen think they face “unfair competition” with their big competitor. They don’t possess the ingenuity, ability, or will to truly compete with their better rival, so they turn to the corrupt politician, who for the price of a free meal in Georgetown or a free trip to Hawaii or Cancun may change his mind on regulatory legislation.

If the government has no power to regulate the economy, their is no corruption, and there is no unfair advantage given to a lazy businessman. The businessman has to compete for both employees and consumers. He has to provide a safer work environment, higher pay, and a better set of health/retirement benefits than his competitor in order to turn a profit. He has to provide a quality, low-cost, and “clear-conscience” product to consumers in order to turn a profit. How is a profit-driven business going to turn that profit if it has unsafe conditions, high prices, and no benefits? When the government regulates its industry and allows it to be complacent and have no fear of competitors.

May I remind you that “fair-trade” coffee is “free-trade” coffee! You vote with your money, and there is no other way to have a fair or free market.

Posted by: Ryan at August 20, 2007 10:14 PM
Comment #230050


I was being sarcastic.

Posted by: Jack at August 20, 2007 10:22 PM
Comment #230051

There’s nothing wrong with arguing that regulations governing the safety of mines should be increased—but what in the world does that have to with “an ownership society” or self-reliance?

The left’s answer seem to be that if we didn’t have jobs in the first place, then we wouldn’t have any problems with workplace safety. Throttle industries, demolish the economy, and keep people out of work. There’s a solution for you.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 20, 2007 10:28 PM
Comment #230056

Let me paint for you all a scenario to describe the benefits of a free market system:

Let is return to the hypothetical man who invented the first vacuum cleaner. Of course we could use any example of a consumed product, but this will suffice for the scenario. Prior to its invention, households spent X number of hours a year cleaning their house with a broom and dust pan. By spending Y about of dollars, they buy a vacuum cleaner from the then only producer of vacuum cleaners, knowing that it will save them Z hours per year cleaning their house, so they now are free during the (X-Z) hours they saved using their vacuum to do other things, like take care of their children, work more hours and make more money, go to the movies, or anything else they decide warrants their time.

Now, the inventor surely was ingenious in coming up with the mechanics and design of this novel machine, but he surely didn’t create the best possible vacuum cleaner in the most cost-efficient, environmentally-safe, etc., way. Someone else may have the ingenuity to design a more energy-efficient vacuum, with lower costs in production, safer factory conditions, etc. He comes along and produces a vacuum that is better and cheaper than the earlier one, and the consumers choose his vacuum over the earlier one because it will save them more money at the outset, will save them more money in their energy bill, and may even save them more time cleaning, so they can do even more with their time.

Now, the second producer may even charge just 1, or 5, or 10, or 100 dollars less than the first. Is either of them more just than the other? No. The producer can charge whatever price he likes as long as others are willing to pay that price, or else he will go out of business. If he goes too low, he will sell many vacuums but get little profit off each one. If he goes too high, he will sell fewer vacuums, but make more off of each. Perhaps he will go with the latter in order to use his profits to research better ways to produce better vacuums, or to pay his workers more, create a safer work environment, or give them more health/retirement benefits, so that they don’t work for his competitor (because remember, employers compete amongst themselves for workers. It isn’t just the laborers competing against one another). If he doesn’t and he becomes complacent in his large market share, the first producer or someone else will create an even better vacuum at a lower cost and take away that market share.

What happens when the government regulates? Maybe the government decides that every American has the right to a vacuum (remember the vacuum is just a hypothetical product). The government sets a price, above and below which it is illegal to sell a vacuum in America. This discourages the desire among vacuum producers to create a better vacuum, as there is no real way to increase market share if there is no way to charge a lower price than a competitor. There is no way to charge a higher price, yet sell a better product and still increase market share, in order to pay workers more to compete for the best workers in the vacuum producing industry.

What if the government decides that vacuum factories must meet XYZ safety regulations? Suddenly, it isn’t the drive to have the safest factories in order to get the best, most motivated workers to work for you. The drive is simply to pass the standards. The standards make it appear unnecessary for both employers and potential employees to have a safer working environment. If you tell a worker that your factory is government-certified for safety but also a bit safer than the competitor who is also government certified, he may not believe you. The certification simply makes it seem as if there is no reason or incentive to go any higher.

Finally, let me point at the great conditions for employees on Google’s campus. They work in probably one of the most beautifully maintained work facilities in the country. They receive very high pay. They get great health and retirement benefits. They get free gourmet-cooked meals everyday at work. Why, you ask, are they treated so well? Because they know that they are competing with Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Intel, IBM, etc., for the minds of the best and the brightest in America and around the world. It is not because they feel a sense of duty to the world or because it is their employees’ right. It is because they want to be the best tech company in the world, and in order to achieve that, they need the best employees in the world, and in order to achieve that, they have to provide a better package than their competitor.

The free market surely does create an economy based on outperforming your competitor, charging the lowest prices, and winning the highest profit. But it also creates the most powerful incentive to provide the best product, create the best working environment for employees, and charge the best price possible: PROFIT.

Posted by: Ryan at August 20, 2007 10:52 PM
Comment #230058

Jack, I know you were being sarcastic. I was just providing recent evidence to back you up.

Posted by: Ryan at August 20, 2007 10:53 PM
Comment #230066

Sorry everyone… but I just vomitted after reading that article… quite possibly the worst post I have read on this site… and that’s coming from me who has put more than one bad articles out there…

Paul… c’mon, man! What the eff, dude? So when Billary becomes prez and a traffic accident happens in North Dakota, are you saying it will be fair game to blame her? I mean, the road that the accident will have happened on was built back in the Truman administration, a Democrat, so obviously Clinton will be to blame… right?

This is bunk… pure and simple bunk… I am thinking you should show the families of this accident some respect and set aside your obvious hatred for anything conservative for two seconds and think about these things rationally before spewing this nonsense for everyone to read…

I think I need to go vomit again, so if you all will excuse me…

(this was written by a devout Libertarian who shares your scorn for the Bush administration… but this goes WAY too far, man…)

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at August 20, 2007 11:22 PM
Comment #230067

And one more thing… You present those little blurbs as quotes… what is your source?

And yes… Republicanism definitely led to Hurricane Katrina… if Clinton were still in office that darned hurricane would never have happened! And even if it did (not likely), those levies that Democratic state and city governments had the most control over would definitely not have broken!

This is enough to make me a Republican… eewww! Can we all pretend I didn’t say that?!?! Please?!?!?!

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at August 20, 2007 11:27 PM
Comment #230068

This article shows exactly what is wrong with our polical system. People will come up with any stupid idea to try to further their cause. You just keep slinging mud and hope something sticks. This is the worst article I have read since reading these blogs. It is simply irresponsible and mean-spirited.

Posted by: Chef Phil at August 20, 2007 11:44 PM
Comment #230069

Jack is right, compared to Eastern European and Chinese mine safety, the U.S. is state of the art. This is despite the Republicans and the mine owners. The miners union and the Democratic party have fought long and hard to make the mines safer. The owners and their Republican party resisted every safety law.

The mine safety inspector that was interviewed on TV said that the conditions the miners had been working in the Utah mine were the worst he had seen in many years.

Posted by: jlw at August 20, 2007 11:55 PM
Comment #230070

Yeah Paul, the big bad free market is responsible for the mine caving in. What a crock.
Reckon your solution to the problem is government ownership and micro control of everything. Well it won’t work buddy. Remember communism? If failed because the government can’t efficiently own and control everything.
If it weren’t for the free market ya want to do away with there wouldn’t be any competition for your business and then you’d really be at the mercy of those that control the market place.
There is a delicate balance between regulation and complete control. The government aint learned this balance yet and over regulates every chance it gets. And over regulation leads to bigger and bigger government. Something I’ve heard y’all crying about the Republicans wanting. Looks to me like y’all want it too.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 20, 2007 11:58 PM
Comment #230071

And another thing… (Someone please take this bottle of tequila away from me) Y’all got capitalism all wrong…

Let’s assume for a split second that Paul is correct and that capitalism is to blame… I’ll wait here while we all make that ridiculous assumtption… okay… wasn’t that fun? Now, let’s get back to reality…

Any true 21st century capitalist will tell you that short term gain getting in the way of long term profits is not a formula for success. In this instance, the short term gain of not addressing the safety concerns of this mine is clearly not worth the long term costs of everything that this ill-managed company will have to bear. There will be the payoffs to the families in the inevitable (and rightly so) wrongful death lawsuits. There will be the costs of the repairs to the mine in question. There will be the public relations costs. There will be the costs of all this lost time when the mine could have been in operation. And I am sure there will be other long term costs that I am overlooking. My point is this… capitalism… true capitalism… recognizes these long term costs as ultimately unprofitable and further recognizes that the short term costs of providing a safer work environment for workers would have ended up paying dividends in the long run. Look at just about any OSHA data out there and you will see that companies with the lowest work-related accident rates are by-in-large (did I use that term correctly?) the most profitable… and this is no accident.

All you pinko-commies reading this post (if you’ve made it this far) listen… don’t blame the American system of capitalism for this company’s gross mis-management of a safety program. This company will likely suffer greatly from this tragedy (nt as much as the workers’ families, not even close… but you get the point) and will bleed money for the forseeable future… even all y’all decrying the virtues of profit can surely see that it is not in the companiy’s long term success plan to do so…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at August 21, 2007 12:08 AM
Comment #230072

Wow, pretty incredible how fast the righties came out in defense of righties on this issue. Carolina presents some facts as known currently, and what do the righties do? Ignore them to a point. Change the subject, QUICK, to China, or jobs but, don’t let the facts stand alone on their own merit.

Here are a couple facts that are irrefutable. Many mining company owners WILL NOT partake in exit mining (collapsing pillars to extract the last dollar’s profit) citing how very dangerous this action is. Don’t know if they are righties or lefties, but, they acknowledge the reality and forego the profits from such a dangerous practice.

Second fact, the owner in question had CYA in mind from the very gitgo, by referring to seismic events as the cause, but, he did not elaborate the fact that seismic event can show up as a result of a mine collapse as a well as tectonic shifts.

Third fact, he is a Republican supporter and lobbyist of sorts and has contributed substantially to Republicans while preserving his more dangerous practice of exit mining which other mining companies refuse to practice on safety grounds.

What these facts mean, has yet to be determined. Carolina presents some other verifiable facts. But, all the facts are not yet in, by a long shot. I would recommend to the writer of this article to dispense with the hyperbole about Republicans and stick to the facts, and perhaps directions for further inquiry which the known facts point toward.

To imply that Republicans don’t care if people are harmed is a gross oversimplification leading to a false conclusions. There is no easier or faster way for Republicans to foster unionization and regulation than to promote legislation that causes harm for the last marginal dollar of profit.

There is a complex bureaucracy at work in how this mine owner was permitted to perform exit mining legally, and the history of that bureaucracy may implicate as many Democrats in Congress as Republicans. There aren’t enough facts, inquiries, and oversight review to draw any conclusions yet along political party lines regarding this specific incident.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 21, 2007 12:08 AM
Comment #230073


again, you are the voice of reason.

quite possibly this man should be severely penalized, and if these facts do indeed lead to the alleged conclusion, then he can rot for all i care… but this is by no means a mark against a properly regulated free-market economy, nor conservative ideals.

paul, you should be ashamed. this post is akin to many an absurdly offensive post i’ve witnessed from the red column on this site. are you vying for “most conspiratorial”?… cuz this post might have put the blues in the lead.

Posted by: diogenes at August 21, 2007 12:35 AM
Comment #230084

I am no great capital punishment fan. I have seen little evidence that it deters murder much. Most murderers either do not expext to get caught or are too flipped out for deterance to matter. We can argue that later. However ,if we are going to have it we should also apply it to employers that cause deaths by blantly and knowingly disregarding the safety of their workers.Right now they are given fines.In extremely rare cases manslaughter. They take a business risk.Sometimes they are even protected from civil suits by workers compensation laws.
I do not know about your state but in CA murder for profit is a “special circumstance” that calls for the death penality.What is the moral difference between killing for a fee and getting your workers killed to increase profits?Deterence would work in that case.

Posted by: BillS at August 21, 2007 1:55 AM
Comment #230087

Yep, what we need is the same cost saving regulations and oversight that occured in Boston’s big dig?

Posted by: scottyp at August 21, 2007 2:29 AM
Comment #230088

Obviously,the CEO’s of Morrison-Knudson and Keiwit industries are murders as well when the USBR monitored Teton Dam in Idaho let go in the mid 70’s.

Posted by: Scottyp at August 21, 2007 2:38 AM
Comment #230093


Neither I nor any other “rightie” is defending what happened at the mine. What is inappropriate is the indictment of the free market and private property, which produces the safest conditions for workers. Where governments own or control industries things are really bad.

Let me give an analogy for this argument. Did you know that Hitler was an animal lover and a vegetarian? This is true, BTW. What if someone used these facts as an argument against animal lovers and vegetarians? It would be invalid, right?

Paul’s argument is like that. A bad thing happened. It happened in a free market society. Therefore, the free market is to blame. It is just a false syllogism and we need not talk about the contingencies. You need not eat the whole egg to know it is rotten.

Posted by: Jack at August 21, 2007 7:47 AM
Comment #230097

Jack, you did indeed as a ‘rightie’ rush to defend what happened in Utah by referring readers to how much worse it is in China. It doesn’t matter what mining conditions are like in China, Great Britain or coming soon, the Antarctic.

I agree with the rest of your last comment. There is no logical or rational basis to indict private enterprise on the basis of one mine owner’s operation. Having said that, this Utah mine incident does indeed raise the question of what due diligence should employers exercise on behalf of their employees when mining for the last possible dollar’s profit jeopardizes the safety of their employees? That is every bit a legitimate and rational question to ask in light of this incident.

And America has a long and proud tradition of leading the rest of the world by example regarding the due diligence safety considerations employers must bear in exploiting the need of fellow citizens to work and earn a paycheck dating back to the turn of the last century and the anti-child labor laws, which benefited American productivity and technology by leaps and bounds by opening the door to mandatory education for all children, including those working on the family farm or family business.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 21, 2007 10:00 AM
Comment #230098

I’d hoped that Paul would have chimed in by now.

Yeah, OK, I guess Paul was pretty rough on the free market philosophy. I doubt any of us would want to see the USA go the same direction that Hugo Chavez is taking Venezuela in.

But I certainly would say that Bush and Republicans in general have an abysmal record of placing corporations ahead of worker safety. (Please refer to my Comment #230038 in this thread) And once again, follow the money:

Why was this mining plan “OK’ed” after trouble had been reported in March? Why did Bush “recess appoint” Richard E. Stickler to the position of Assistant Secretary of Mine Safety at the Department of Labor after Congress found him to be too “industry friendly” not just once but TWICE!

One more point that the press is being too PC to mention much is that three of the six trapped miners are “Mexican citizens”. There’s been absolutely no mention of their immigration status and I’ll assume that they were here legally, but is this one of the “jobs Americans won’t do”? If so, why? And before someone jumps on me for being insensitive, many here can attest to the fact that I’m far left on immigration policy.

Hopefully there will be extensive investigations and hearings into this disaster. It seems like the community where this happened is outraged enough that many facts may come to light. We’ll have to wait and see but I get the distinct feeling that at least part of the problem is akin to having put the fox in charge of guarding the hen house.

RE: corporate self-regulation ………. cough, cough, gag …….. I may have to vomit myself. History my friends, history! The founders of our civilization fought to end what amounted to “serfdom” under the rule of the British! We fought a civil war to end the enslavement of African’s that were kidnapped and dragged halfway around the world to a strange and cruel land! The railroads connecting our great country were built largely on the backs of Chinese immigrants who were treated as little more than slaves!

All of the above and more due to greed, plain and simple! Now the corporations are exploiting the labor of Mexican immigrants, many of whom are undocumented. Yeah, self-regulation is something we can really depend on. IMO we must find a way of taking corporate money out of the political process altogether.

Posted by: KansasDem at August 21, 2007 10:02 AM
Comment #230099

While Paul’s initial post is as over the top as they come, his basic ideas, that our free-market society is prone to abuses by the greedy and powerful and that the basic Republican mindset is to turn a bit of a blind eye to such abuses, are sound. The miners died because of the company’s greed, simple as that, and just because it’s no longer the 1980s doesn’t mean that “greed is good” isn’t the underlying mantra of the Right anymore. This administration is especially prone to it. Everything, from Cheney’s little energy task force to Dubya’s fox-to-guard-the-henhouse appointments to Iraq itself shows that BushCo is firmly in the right hip pocket of Big Business.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no socialist. Socialism and Communism are great ideas if you want to go start some neo-hippie farm somewhere, and they worked great for Jesus and his followers, but the moment you have enough people where you aren’t on a first name basis with everyone involved, socialism falls apart. Free markets really are the best way to go for everyone, consumers and workers and owners alike. Competition creates better products for consumers, drives wages higher for skilled workers, and rewards competitive owners with better profits. Monopolies, whether private or government, create shoddy, overpriced products and lead to stagnant or falling wages for workers. They do tend to line the pockets of the owners quite nicely, which is why they do still crop up from time to time.

Let me give you a highly irrelivant example. Anyone here play Madden videogames? Notice that the quality of the games are not as good as they used to be? That’s because Electronic Arts, the company that produces Madden, signed a deal with the NFL in 2005 so that they have exclusive rights to use the teams, players, and stadiums of the NFL in their games. They did this because they were facing some stiff competition from 2K Games, who were undercutting EA by putting their games out at $20 at launch, but with similar quality. Ever since, because they have no competition, the quality of the Madden games have fallen off.

So captialism can be a good thing, but it is prone to abuses. This is where government oversight comes in. Despite what Jack and Ron Brown may think, capitalism is not some perfect, self-correcting system. If left alone, abuses can happen, most easily from management and ownership. This is simply because it is easier to NOT compete, and insteatd to tilt the playing field in your favor by monopolizing or by greasing the wheels in government. That is why the abuses are so much worse in socialist societies. Mine accidents are worse in China, not because capitalism creates saver environments than socialism, but because in socialism there is no government oversight because the mine is RUN by the government.

That is Paul’s point. With this administration, there is no oversight because this administration IS Big Business, from top to bottom.


Posted by: leatherankh at August 21, 2007 10:06 AM
Comment #230109

Kansas Dem said: “Hopefully there will be extensive investigations and hearings into this disaster.”

One of the salutary benefits of a divided partisan government is that such investigations and hearings are quite likely. And will likely be lost again if a Democrat is elected in 2008. Something to ponder if one has the courage.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 21, 2007 10:33 AM
Comment #230110

Ownership society, isn’t that another name for communism. Everybody owns everything, but nobody owns anything.
Hey some are more equal then others… (sorry George Orwell)

Posted by: KT at August 21, 2007 10:41 AM
Comment #230111

leatherankh, capitalism seeks monopolism and oligopolism (OPEC). Which is why pure and unfettered capitalism does not exist under democratic government auspices ANYWHERE in the world today. To study the competition for monopolism in an unregulated environment, one has to study the activities of mobs like the Mafia or the Russian counterpart, or OPEC. The books and movies in the Godfather series are an excellent example of unregulated capitalism.

That said, regulated capitalism, under enforced rule of law, assented to by the people of a nation, has proven to be the most productive and inventive form of economic-political systems capable of sustaining itself without revolution or civil war as a consequence.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 21, 2007 10:45 AM
Comment #230124

Free markets must be regulated for the interest of the average person. Self-reliance must yield to working as a community for the common good.
Posted by Paul Siegel at August 20, 2007 05:14 PM
Paul, that is quite a mouthful. Since the founding of the U.S. and even as a colony it was self-reliance that made us great and uncommon among the world’s nations. Your clap-trap is not even worthy of the most liberal university professor of economics. Shameful. From what commune are you writing this drivel?

Posted by: Jim at August 21, 2007 11:57 AM
Comment #230136

I wonder why conservative commenters are so angry? Did I hit a nerve?

I am not against free markets. I am not against capitalism. I never said such things. This is what conservatives read into my post.

I am for regulation. Regulation faultered in this case. Conservatives are against regulation. This is one case which shows why regulation is needed. This is what I tried to show.

I don’t think I “went over the top.” But to those who do think so, I apologize.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at August 21, 2007 1:54 PM
Comment #230139

It wasn’t very many years ago that many cities in the west were incredibly polluted. Kennecut Copper used to have a huge open pit mine on the other side of the Great Salt Lake from SLC, and the pollution was unbelievable. If the national government hadn’t gotten involved, the free market would still have us doing the same thing forever. Now people are dying to get the last bits of coal from underneath a mountain, and blaming their deaths on an earthquake that never happened.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 21, 2007 2:36 PM
Comment #230140

David wrote:

“Jack, you did indeed as a ‘rightie’ rush to defend what happened in Utah by referring readers to how much worse it is in China. It doesn’t matter what mining conditions are like in China, Great Britain or coming soon, the Antarctic.”

Jack, the other “righties” and I did not jump in to defend the events in Utah. We jumped in to defend free-market capitalism. Only a morbid sadist would defend those events. Instead, we defended capitalism against Paul’s indictment of it. Paul’s correlation between the events in Utah and free-market capitalism is patently false, and we pointed that out.

Paul wrote:
“I am not against free markets … I am for regulation.” — Is this not a contradiction in terms? You are for a mixed economy, not for a free-market economy. Once again, let me stress that government regulation of industry simply creates an ol’ boys club in Washington where business leaders join forces with political leaders to “reshape American policy” for whomever they wish this week. Will it be corn growers? Automakers? Small-business owners? Software engineers? Wal-mart? Who knows? Probably whoever contributes the most to campaigns or buys the most meals and trips for politicians. Or whoever moves their factories to “our district.”

Government regulation leads to complacency, mediocrity, and rewards to the average at the expense of the successful.

Paul also wrote:
“Free markets must be regulated for the interest of the average person. Self-reliance must yield to working as a community for the common good.”

So you want to punish the successful for being successful? You want to punish the smart for being smart? You want to punish the hard-working for being hard-working?

You want reward the mediocre for being mediocre? You want to reward the lazy for being lazy? You want to reward the dumb for being dumb?

This is what regulation does. Any level of it. Whether it is assistance to the most successful company or assistance to the least successful company, it is unfair, unjust, and unwanted.

What we need to return to in this country is the ideal of getting what you pay for, not more or less.

Posted by: Ryan Eckberg at August 21, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #230151

I wonder why conservative commenters are so angry? Did I hit a nerve? Posted by: Paul Siegel at August 21, 2007 01:54 PM

Duh, after reading all the posts preceeding yours did you not understand why not only conservatives are upset, but many independents and liberals as well. All of us love America and most of us understand what makes our country beloved and unique. Self-reliance is at the core of our being. When you attack the core belief you will most certainly strike more than a nerve.

Posted by: Jim at August 21, 2007 3:48 PM
Comment #230153

Paul, I forgot to add my comment regarding those fanciful conversations with yourself in your original post…you know, the ones in italics. I learned a very long time ago that he who decries the liar the loudest doth indeed protest his own faults. You characterize these conversations as coming from a conservative. What a hateful and idiotic proposition. Have you no knowledge of history? Greed and hatred come from every political ideology. I won’t allow myself to believe that a fellow American would seriously write such stuff and prefer to believe you wrote this in a moment of frustration or perhaps you were just having a bad day.

Posted by: Jim at August 21, 2007 4:01 PM
Comment #230168

Ryan said: “Government regulation leads to complacency, mediocrity, and rewards to the average at the expense of the successful.”

Since the military is entirely government run, I guess this is your excuse for what has transpired in Iraq? Not exactly a defensible position by any means. This country’s immensely successful middle class was born out of the FDR and WWII period, the Civil Rights movement, and regulation of industries for everything from child labor and exploitation to one of the most respected and trusted banking system in the world.

One cannot argue mediocrity of the largest and most successful middle class on the face of the earth developed hand in glove by regulated enterprise and regulated capital markets. You want free enterprise, see Chinese toy manufacturers exporting lead based paints and lethal small ingestible magnets on our children’s toys. That is unfettered and unregulated free enterprise.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 21, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #230172


And how often in the future will we be buying from those Chinese producers who created terrible products? Little to none would be my guess. Sure, the free market does allow for cheaters who try to make a quick dollar (or yuan) and then scram, but in the long-run, those people will not be successful. It is up to the consumer to make smart choices about the items they buy. Perhaps they should demand that their distributors do heavier testing of the products they import. Perhaps they are willing to pay an extra amount in order to ensure their safety or that of their family.

Sure, the free market isn’t perfect, but those Chinese producers did not make faulty products because of want of regulation. They likely would have done the same thing if regulations were in place. They knew that their scheme would be uncovered and they had no intention of sustaining a long-run profitable enterprise. Regulation would not have kept them from make this one-time cheating move.

In the future, Chinese firms will learn from the current export-quality crisis and make sure that they maintain their brandnames’ standings by maintaining quality in their manufacturing processes. In addition, this crisis, if we lived in a true free-market economy, would create the demand for a “Consumer Reports”-type organization that could monitor the quality and safety of imports, just as it could for domestic manufactures. However, since our government feels the need to get involved in everything, it will probably take over this responsibility, too, and provide an inefficient means of checking consumer-product quality.

Posted by: Ryan at August 21, 2007 6:04 PM
Comment #230178


My problem with the post is that it is the typical liberal bait and switch - false, but accurate.

Paul takes a tragic event. Completely out of the blue he blames the free market (which is why I had to give the comparisions to non-private such as China). Then others say, sure enough, it is not the market in this case, but the market is bad.

Say something that is not supported by the facts and when someone points out the error, move to the real argument. It is the typical false, but accurate as we saw in RaTHergate.

If the argument that was mines in market economies are safer than those in countries with less respect for private property, but they could be even safer, I would have to say it was an truthful, if convoluted, argument. But to imply the market economy is at fault just is not supported by the data.

Posted by: Jack at August 21, 2007 6:40 PM
Comment #230179


“Regulation would not have kept them from make this one-time cheating move.”


Have you ever been to China?
I would guess not.

Regulation wouldn’t have allowed these toys to enter the country in the first place.
Smart cheaters make their money and move on to the next scam before the mark even knows they have been cheated. The guy in China that committed suicide did so because he lost face, not because he feared the consequences of his actions.

Do you feel it is OK for the less attentive among us to have their asses handed to them?

While I am a believer that humans are basically good, an unregulated free market would lead to anarchy, and this “never give a sucker an even break” attitude is one of the reasons America is in the state it’s in.

Posted by: Rocky at August 21, 2007 6:43 PM
Comment #230181

Rocky, Sorry I’ve never had the time nor money to visit China. Does that mean I know less than you do about the country? Perhaps the government should subsidize trips for every American to every country in the world so that we can all be omniscient!

Posted by: Ryan at August 21, 2007 6:52 PM
Comment #230183


I was there to work, and I have been there 5 times over a period of two years, and no offence, but yes, that does mean you know less about the Chinese than I.
Read all you like, but it doesn’t begin to compare to being there, seeing and talking to the people, observing the culture, and having a beer or two with a common Chinese guy after work.

I know that Jack has traveled and I know, that for the most part, he usually knows what he is talking about.

Take the time to learn a bit of the culture of a country before you start talking in absolutes about it.

Posted by: Rocky at August 21, 2007 7:06 PM
Comment #230184

“regulated capitalism, under enforced rule of law, assented to by the people of a nation, has proven to be the most productive and inventive form of economic-political systems capable of sustaining itself”


Those few words pretty much say it all for me. I fail to see how anyone can argue with that ……….. period!

But ………. chuckle, chuckle ……… your later reference to the MIC is simply priceless. Eisenhower, while not perfect, should possibly go down in history as America’s foremost philosopher.

You sir are wise beyond your years! Personal preference is not nearly as important as the moderation required for an “acceptable” outcome for ALL!

Maybe you should run for political office, eh?

Posted by: KansasDem at August 21, 2007 7:14 PM
Comment #230189

Even this somewhat devout Libertarian would agree that a minimal amount of government regulation is necessary… a necessary evil, if you will… but ultimately the market decides which morons go out of business and which intelligent business owners stay. David is correct above… as is Jack… they are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at August 21, 2007 8:28 PM
Comment #230198

Sure, as Doug says, in some instances a degree of regulation of the market is beneficial. In the event of a market failure, the effects of energy consumption on global warming, some government regulation and goal-setting is helpful to avert a major disaster, but often this regulation leads down the wrong road. Continuing with the example of global warming, the government, with perhaps good intentions, is taking the completely wrong route to avert major climate change: corn-ethanol subsidies and gas-mileage mandates. These measures are incredibly inefficient and questionably effective at bringing about their desired consequence.

Concerning the issue of Chinese imports, I offer this blog from the Cato Institute (gasp…) today: Solution Already in Place for Chinese Product Safety Problems . The market provides a just punishment to irresponsible businesses for their actions, as well as incentives for improvement in production.

Posted by: Ryan at August 21, 2007 10:30 PM
Comment #230202


“for the most part”? I am wounded by the equivocation.

Posted by: Jack at August 21, 2007 10:53 PM
Comment #230205

The post is nonsense. Radicalized crap comes from radicals of all stripes.

Why deal with facts when insane propaganda can be put forward as ‘wisdom’ and ‘insight’.

We don’t know why the roof collapsed. We do know that this kind of coal mining is the most dangerous in the world because they are going in and digging out the coal pillars that support the mine as they gradually abandon the mine forever.

Miners who do this KNOW they are doing the kind of work that puts their lives at the edge.

Lets face up to it folks. The democrat congress has now tied the lowest ratings in history that a congress has ever had. The democrats have failed.

No more “warming the chair”, that time is over. I think in part, the hatred and nonsense, and rapid, dishonest partisan crap flowing from the left is why this congress has been rejected so quickly. Putting a corrupt individual like Harry Reid in charge of the senate did no good to the “illusion” that democrats would clean up Washington. Has Harry Reid mad any good land deals today?

The democrats promised us they would be uniters, bipartisan, fiscally responsible, greatly reduce pork, fix things that needed fixing.

What have we seen? More Pork spending than the Republicans were doing. More spending overall than the Republicans were doing. The pork is flowing, so much for fiscal responsibility.

Even worse, the constant seeking to smear the administration in lieu of getting anything of substance accomplished.

No fix for Social Security. No fix for Medicare. The southern boarder is not secure. No national health care plan. No end to pork. No balanced budget. NO EFFORT to really accomplish anything of such substance. The public sees the democrat congress as failures. And they are.

I told you we would get here. That the end result of electing democrats over Republicans would be a failure to control spending and a failure to fix our broken social safety net.

And notice how the left here, is afraid to confront their own and to create posts on these issues and push them to accomplish something. Total buy in, total brain washing. Nothing of value or substance is discussed, but smearing and propaganda. The hpyer-radicalized view smear mongering as the ultimate goal of politics….and our real problems go unresolved.

People are people. Whether they are the brown shirt Nazi’s under Hitler or the radical left wing of the democrat party. Same games, same radicalization, same cranked up hate.

So America has rejected this democrat congress by rewarding it with historic rejection.

Posted by: Stephenl at August 21, 2007 11:23 PM
Comment #230210

This is the most ridiculous, offensive and retarded thing I have ever read on here and possibly anywhere. Everything that is wrong has been stated so I will leave this article and not return. But if I ever read a worse post I will lead off by saying “this is worse that that post by Paul Siegal”.

Posted by: andy at August 21, 2007 11:43 PM
Comment #230211

My observation is that Republicans like to point out how much worse other countries are while reducing the regulatory strength that ensures that things are better.

Free-Marketers would like to believe that the market by itself would prevent such abuses. Look at history, though, our history, and you’ll see that this was what happened in our past, when we didn’t have such regulations, or they weren’t as well enforced.

The market has no will of its own, The market is a metonym for the collective behavior of millions. That collective behavior, though, can be strongly influenced by a few, whether they be executives, regulators, or investors. It’s a label we slap on something so inordinately complex that nobody understands it entirely.

What keeps it from being utter chaos is that underneath it all, people are pretty similar in their needs and their wants, and how these things manifest. However, an element of complexity is added when you factor in differences in philosophy, in knowledge, in wealth, and in power.

The market is only proactive when proactive people lead the change, and that is not always the case. The market is only knowledgeable when people listen to those who are really knowledgeable. The market is only moral when people are guided by good conscience, and when leaders in business exercise it themselves.

The market is like an island, as described by Harrison Ford’s character in Six Days, Seven Nights: If you don’t bring whatever thing you want out of the market there, you won’t find it there. People can’t expect to have the market act with any virtue, if the people who are its constituents don’t do so either.

The market can’t replace our judgment, our laws, our sense of justice, or our morality. Instead, it relies on us for that, for in the end, it has none of those things without us. The market represents our interactions, for which we retain responsibility. The market might encourage certain behavior, from one’s point of view, but in truth, the market will tolerate whatever behavior one is willing to pay the price to pursue.

Which means, at the end of the day, the market is no substitute for the rule of law. Regulations are seen as some as an impediment to the free market, to which I would say, you bet your ass it is. The market itself, being nothing more than a cross-section of the economic decisions of a society, can’t afford to be too free anymore than society itself can afford to sink into anarchy.

Market-friendly policies work to the extent that they take advantage of and and enhance positive and responsible behaviors. To have them work, though, takes a mix of experience, judgment, and study about the shape of things within society. All too often, though, people reflexively settle on it, as if the market is itself sentient, and filled with superhuman wisdom about matters.

No, I think understanding how the market works requires that you understand a little about information theory. This guy at IBM, I forget his name, essentially laid out that the value of a message is in the trouble it saves people on the other end, to work things out. In a market environment, people talk and share ideas, and change strategies based on that. The important part is that one does not necessarily have to replicate the entirety of difficult research and thinking to benefit from it. What people see that works, people can adopt themselves.

What those on the right fail to see sometimes, though, is that this is not necessarily a one step process; people can and will be wrong, and that wrongness can range. The market can spread stupidity to those who accept it’s gifts uncritically. It can take some time to discover this.

Here’s another important point: sometimes people forget past problems, or convince themselves that a paradigm shift or change of context has eliminated the issue. And often, they’re wrong. We can let minor mistakes go in this manner, but some mistakes are more problematic for another reason. That would be that the structure and complexity of communication has enabled financial markets many orders of complexity larger than what formerly existed.

It becomes important to note the nexuses of problematic behavior that can end up causing much larger scale repercussions. In analyzing market behavior, we must realize the importance of the imperfect flow of information, and the reasons why that flow doesn’t always perform ideal.

If we look at the market as a network of relationships based on communication, then questions of conflict of interest, of witholding important information, of cooking the books and hiding problems become much more critical.

Good regulation does two things: it ensures that behavior within the business world submits to the rule of law, and that businesses don’t get a pass for doing on a large scale what we would not permit an individual to do on a smaller scale. Secondly, it keeps people out of each other’s way and simplifies the process.

I could fill many posts on what I think that means, and probably will. At the end of the day, though (literally in this case, I’m about to go to bed!) I believe that neither the market, nor the government, nor any other institution can be run as an infallible guide to behavior. Complacency and mindless love and rationalization of the status quo will not, in my view, bring us greater happiness and prosperity.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 21, 2007 11:52 PM
Comment #230213

So Stephenl, in your world it’s all a matter of risk? Why were three of these miners Mexican immigrants? Was this one of the jobs we Americans just won’t do?

The rest of your comments truly are “drivel” and absolutely right wing drivel to boot. We Dems inherited a butt load of trouble left over from a truly “do nothing” congress.

Please, wipe your partisan feet on the doormat and come back in! When you do please explain why Republicans left us with such a mess. Why is Medicare in a mess? Why couldn’t you guys “fix” Social Security with a majority in both the Senate and the House?

I suggest before you criticize Paul’s article that you take a good, long look in the mirror ….. and maybe even read the previous comments.

Posted by: KansasDem at August 22, 2007 12:05 AM
Comment #230216

KansasDem, Thank you for creating straw-man positions and straw man arguments for me. It must be easier for you to “defeat” your “opponents” when you can invent positions for them. Like the invented crap in the original thread.

The original thread is utter nonsense. Making up bogus quotes for someone and assigning the blame on the collapse in the mine to free markets and this supposed mind meld in that post. What utter nonsense. If you read such a post aimed at your favorite candidate you would shred it for the trash that it is.

The kind of mining they were doing is the most dangerous in the world. They are going in and digging out the pillars that hold up the roof. It’s done, it’s dangerous, it’s high risk. I never said I blamed it all on that. I’m just clearly saying that instead of bogus propaganda about free markets and some fake mind meld…there were probably very real reasons that roof came down. Seismic activity, the dangerous nature of the mining being done, human error? etc. You have to wait for an investigation to get the truth. Most likely, it will not be the “free market” that is to blame.

I suppose in your world Big Mamma government eliminates all risk, no one is at risk at all because you create a mama government that can magically make the risk of living on planet earth go away. So what’s you point about risk if you do not think Big Mamma government can eliminate all risk in life? You don’t think mining is risky?

Your red-herring “Republicans failed so it’s ok for us to fail now” doesn’t wash with me.

It’s not ok for democrats in congress to refuse to fix social security. And if you on the left would tell your boys that and mean it, they would fix it.

Why not start here? Start a thread about What democrats should do about social security. Talk about it. Put it out there. Discuss why they are failing and what they need to do to not fail i the future. Let them know you will no longer cover for their failure. Let them know you expect them to work on Social security and to fix it.

start a movement to get away from radical propaganda and attack mode they have been in for a years and on to fixing our broken social safety nets.

Posted by: Stephen at August 22, 2007 12:22 AM
Comment #230222

stephen, it makes no sense for Democrats to proffer a Soc. Sec. fix which Bush will veto. That is just common sense. Best by far to wait for Jan 2009 when a Democrat President is in office. Republicans waited for 13 years before getting around to even discussing it and putting forth a proposal. Surely, you can understand Democrats desiring to wait 2 years so they can make their work count with successful enactment. Yes?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 22, 2007 2:31 AM
Comment #230224

Ryan said: “Sure, the free market does allow for cheaters who try to make a quick dollar (or yuan) and then scram, but in the long-run, those people will not be successful.”

WRONG! And the proof is our 1 trillion dollar a year underground economy right here in the United States. If the U.S. can’t control an illegal economy where free market capitalism without regulation dominates, how in the hell do you think China can control theirs which is going to be 4 times larger than ours? Fact based reality and empirical data demonstrate that in the long run, these people do succeed to the tune of 1 trillion a year, right here in the land of law and order and regulation.

China is not nearly so regulated nor capable of enforcing law and order for 1.2 Billion people.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 22, 2007 2:44 AM
Comment #230229

David, Imagined vetos are not a good enough reason to accept the failure of the democrat party to do what they need to do.

We need a fix for social security. George Bush wants a fix for social security. The democrats made it clear they would not allow Bush to fix social security…now they are making it clear they will not fix social security.

And you are making it clear you will cover up for the failure of the democrat congress to work, to do what they were elected to do.

But the majority of Americans disagree with you and have rated this one of the worst congress’s in history because of their failures.

Excuses are not enough. The promise to end massive spending is broken, the promise to cut pork, broken. The promise to fix things like social security that they would not allow the republicans to fix….broken. the promise to do better on the southern boarder….broken.

America still awaits a fix for medicare, national health care, etc.

The massive failure of this democrat congress can no longer be blamed on Bush or Repulicans.

The idea that they would have done wonderful things, but just didn’t because they knew that Republicans would defeat them is bogus. Which is why the massive majority of America feels this democrat congress is especially lousy.

And I admit, as a partisan, I get a special little glow in being able to say that, and to know that you know, I’m right!

But as an American, a tax payer, one who will need some of those social services some day, I’m disgusted at both parties. Particularly the one in power now, that is failing us now, the democrats.

There’s a reason why this board doesn’t talk about Social Security. A reason why this board doesn’t talk about Medicare. A reason why this board doesn’t talk about a balanced budget. They don’t want to highlight the important needs we have that democrats are REFUSING to address.

Posted by: Stephen at August 22, 2007 5:13 AM
Comment #230234

The Republican in the Senate are on the way to becoming one of the most obstructive in American history. We can’t get much of any past them, a fact you likely both ignore and celebrate.

The reason why people think this current Congress is doing a lousy job is that a number of them have failed to stand with some spine in the face of Bush’s agenda for this war, among other things.

Or, put another way, people still dislike Bushes agenda, and they’re wondering why we’re not more effectively getting in their way. The problem is not as you would supposed, that people are not in favor of Democratic policies. In fact, as David Gregory showed Karl Rove on Meet the Press this weekend, the Democrats have leads on dozens of issues.

The Democrats problem is one of unfulfilled potential, not overstretched mandates.

As for social security, I’d say this:

First, people do not take lightly any change in the system.

Second, Bush’s latest change to Medicare was badly flawed.

Third, with the instability of the markets, as of late, nobody sees putting their money in the market as a secure use of that money.

Fourth, Bush himself admitted that the accounts will not solve the problem of solvency, in which case it can be fairly said that Bush’s solution is not a solution at all.

Fifth, Bush will not likely allow an alternative. Bush rarely does, his stubborn insistence on getting things his way making him extraordinarily difficult to develop real compromises with.

It’s a trait that Republicans in Congress and the Senate share. Pumped up by rhetoric, desperate and scared, these people and you believe, or are trying to convince people that the trouble is that the Democrats have overstepped their bounds.

Truth is, no. If anything the Democrats currently in Congress are disappointments for not being bolder, more forceful. Their behavior is a lagging indicator, not a leading indicator of where the party is. People want a government that’s more liberal, not less, and in no small part due to decades of Republican solutions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 22, 2007 8:27 AM
Comment #230236

“There’s a reason why this board doesn’t talk about Social Security. A reason why this board doesn’t talk about Medicare. A reason why this board doesn’t talk about a balanced budget. They don’t want to highlight the important needs we have that democrats are REFUSING to address.”


Can you say, “eight months”?

Why didn’t the Republicans fix all this stuff during the four years that they had control of the Presidency, the House, and the Senate? Why did they push through MORE Medicare spending without a plan to pay for it? Which direction did they push the National debt in?

After eight months it should all be fixed, huh? I’ll admit I’m disappointed …….. that Bush isn’t undergoing impeachment proceedings.

Posted by: KansasDem at August 22, 2007 8:51 AM
Comment #230250


What you could say is that this is a good arguement for nuclear power. Nobody has ever died in an American nuclear power accident. Coal kills people every year.

On the other side, Tchernobyl’s nuclear power still kill russians every year.

There is no safe energy. By its own definition.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at August 22, 2007 12:48 PM
Comment #230262

Russian nuclear power != US nuclear power or even French nuclear power with new plants being built recently (The US hasn’t built one for decades)

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 22, 2007 1:27 PM
Comment #230304


Unfortunately, you did choose to insinuate a lot regarding conservative principles and the deaths of those miners from the cave-in. I agree with David, Diogenes and other on the left when I say one incident does not indict conservative principles and you stepped over the line with your post.

Posted by: chris2x at August 22, 2007 4:32 PM
Comment #230310

You all can thank unions standing up to owners for most worker safety in this country. In most unionized industries it is the unions who create professional and safe standards for the workers. The work environment, however, is up to the owner.

I wonder if this was a unionized mine and if so, what role did they play in this tragedy.

Posted by: chris2x at August 22, 2007 4:53 PM
Comment #230377


Russian nuclear power != US nuclear power or even French nuclear power with new plants being built recently (The US hasn’t built one for decades)

Do you really think that not being designed and/or built by russians is enough to provide a perfectly safe nuclear power plants over 5 or more decades?
Are every nuclear power plants design error proof except the russian ones?

You just said it. Most nuclear power plants running in the world are several decades old. Their maintenance cost are not cheap, but far cheaper than the risk if none was done.
Still, you can bet that they were reduced as much as possible to make more profit.

This year, several french workers in charge of maintenance of the Chinon’s nuclear power plant commit suicide due to, according to the letters they wrote, overstreched maintenance schedule generating too much stress to make a fatal error.

The world is consuming more energy than ever. Way more than 50 years ago. But our energy sources remains pratically speaking the same than 50 years. And you want to bet that only russian nuclear workers could make error at the design table or under stress?

Be serious. Our nuclear plants *will* have more and more incidents. We *will* have another catastrophic nuclear plant. The questions are when and where, that’s all.

And I’m not even an anti-nuclear that much. I think it’s a great energy source. I just think nuclear power is not the cheap energy that some want you to believe. Today, nuclear energy price don’t include the full production cost, far from it, that all.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at August 23, 2007 4:57 AM
Comment #230392
Are every nuclear power plants design error proof except the russian ones?

Depends on their design, but the ones in the US yes. They are built as ‘failsafe’, meaning the rods will scram the reactor by natural means if anything goes wrong.

As for the stress of the workers, I agree completely. That is why when I left the Navy I did not pursue a civilian career at a nuclear power plant. The stress is OVERWHELMING to say the least.

I also agree that we are years behind on power sources, we need to develop new ones, preferablly much more safe and clean than what we have now. But to do that we need energy, we can’t just turn everything off and design it in the dark. So until that day arrives, which dirty energy source should we be using?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 23, 2007 11:21 AM
Comment #230639

Paul Siegel- I believe we can tell who on this page
are independent, or self employed or maybe just plane uneducated as
to the outrageous, criminal behaviour most business’s purportrated against people working for
them in years past. Laws are still being enacted as
we speak, an one of the first things Bush did when
he took office, was to remove most fines that the
EPA had against companies. I would also suggest
all States make all independent, self employed, be
covered by most of the same rules as that affect
the larger Companies. That would include paying
taxes, if they aren’t already.
Paul, you owe no one an apology for being right.

Posted by: -DAVID- at August 25, 2007 5:31 AM
Comment #230640

Paul- I have also noticed that no one has mentioned
the fact that this mine owner was a contributor to
many republican Senators an congressmen, including
Kathryn Harris. Not that the act was a contributing
factor to the collapse of the mine, mind you!

Posted by: -DAVID- at August 25, 2007 5:49 AM
Comment #230670

Which is probably why no one mentioned it, -David- since it is completely irrelevant.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 25, 2007 4:51 PM
Comment #230685

You are trying to say politicians are being given
campaign funds to make new laws an safety regulations by the mine owners! Good one Rhinehold??

Posted by: -DAVID- at August 25, 2007 8:24 PM
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