Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reasonable Laws -- Reasonable Enforcement

How many mine safety regulations need to be violated before something gets done? In other words, how many laws do we need in order to prevent the recent tragedy befalling miners who lost their lives in West Virginia?

Would it be reasonable to assume that if ten safety violations occurred, corrective action should be taken to protect mine workers? If not ten, then how about 50? If not 50, then how about 500? If not 500, then how about 1,400? Yes, according to published reports, there were over 1,400 regulations violated and still the miners were allowed to work. How many workers had to die before the safety regulations were taken seriously?

The mine industry is not the only industry guilty of violating regulations and laws -- bankers, lawyers, stock investors, state governors, sports heroes, even national politicians -- routinely break laws and regulations for personal profit and gain. Each evening on the nightly news we hear about someone else breaking a law or regulation. Sometimes it's someone doing something that's not considered illegal but still puts people in harm's way. When that happens, the government rushes forward to pass legislation to protect us from this new threat. How high would this mountain of laws, regulations, and ordinances be if we stacked up all of the legislation that governs our behavior? But, of course, it doesn't stop there. Every day there are new laws, new regulations to enforce. Every legislative body seems to have only a two-item agenda: get re-elected and pass laws.

It is my opinion we have plenty of laws and more than enough regulations in our society. We may even have too many. It seems to me we also have laws and regulations that are under-enforced and laws that are over-enforced. It would be my opinion that all we really need are reasonable laws with reasonable enforcement. For example, if the laws say a mine must be in total compliance with all safety requirements and upon inspection that mine isn't -- well -- then it's pretty much a no-brainer: MINE CLOSED. Sorry for the inconvenience. It will reopen when all safety requirements have been met.

And what about those hamburger laws and regulations? From the time a young calf is born until the time that calf's meat is served to you as hamburger, there are upwards of 72,000 laws and regulations that must be enforced. Even now, the United States government is asking for more regulatory laws over the banking system, which would only add to the pile of rules and laws already affecting our quality of life!

4 comments :

Richard D. said...

Speaking of enforcement of current laws, our system of fining those companies that violate our laws and regulations is ineffective. The limits on the fines were set many years ago and are too small. The companies just add the cost of the fine to the coal or what ever it is that makes them a profit. In those industries, like mining, the inspectors should be able to shut down an activity that violates safety laws/regulations. This authority would "fine" the company through lost production, "the bottom line". While some say that this would alow an inspector with a grudge to punish or single out a company, but when looking out for the welbeing of the miners includes the ability to earn a wage thus by shutting down an operation for even an hour hurts the worker just as it tells the company to fix a problem.

Anonymous said...

I could get on my sopbox about this all day. But sufice it to say, I think our government is totally out of control. It amazes me that our founders created a constitution of only a few pages. But every year our government sees fit to create 1000s or new laws. Does it not seem odd that we got along just fine last year before we had the new "necessary" laws created this year? And what about the year before, and the year before that? The bottom line is every set of lawmakers whats to have power over the rest of us. And that seems to be the only reason they are in office. I think it's time we scrapped all the federal laws, and started over with nothing but the constitution. Maybe that's all we need anyway. But we sure don't need all the laws on the books today. In fact, I would guess there aren't two people in the country that are even aware of 90% of all the laws we have.

1. Scrap all federal laws except for the basic constitution.
2. Limit government elected terms to one term for life of 6 years for all offices except president. Elect a VP every 3 years who assumes the office for the following 3 years, and then go home to work in his regular job.
3. Eliminate all elected official's pensions.
4. Let elected officials live with the same laws everyone else does.
5. Task the federal government to provide the military, and regulate interstate traffic systems including highways and communication, and nothing else. Education, healthcare, welfare, etc. is none of their business. It's the business of state and local government, and just the people.
6. Eliminate all federal taxes except for a simple flat income tax regardless if you make a dollar a year or billions a year. And eliminate all business taxes. Imagine the cost of products if companies had no taxes. And then imagine how competitive the US would be with other countries if our products were significantly cheaper than theirs.

Do the above steps 1-6, and our taxes would be almost nothing, and our economy would be the best in the world. And the US would be back the way it was meant to be.

Anonymous said...

Yeah,
Let's get rid of all those stupid laws, especially those stupid environmental rules and regulations. Like one of our President's said, "The business of America is business." So let's get off the back of business with all these controls on banking and financial dealings. Let them make a decent profit and the rest of us will be better off, too. The folks in charge didn't get there by being dummies, so we can trust them to do what's best for the country.
I you agree with anything I've said here, you must have been in a coma for the past 20 years.

Anonymous said...

The problem with government is that it’s made up of too many power hungry people. Good people don’t want to run for office, because as soon as they do, some news person (and I use that term loosely), thinks it’s their duty to make up as much dirt about them as they can, and generally destroy their reputation and their family. The result is, the only people who run for office are those who just want power and fame. That leaves out most of the good people. Case in point. Barak Obama and all of his communist friends.

Yes. There is corruption in business. But you don’t have to buy their products. At least that was true until now. Obama is now going to force you to buy insurance. But in government, when there is corruption, the citizen is forced to comply with whatever, some law says. So, it’s much more important that we have good people in government.

We now have government officials who try not to let the constitution get in their way. When it does, they just assume whatever power they want, and ignore it. Unless someone stops them, they just get by with it.

Then we have judges who have lifetime jobs and who believe they are smarter and better then the rest of us. So they interpret the law however, they see fit, rather than try to determine what the intent of the law was. And then they use their power (which we gave them) to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Take for example the first amendment. It plainly states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”. Everyone wants to reference the first part of this quote “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. They say this means religion should not be referred to in any public situation. They call that separation of church and state. That includes, no praying in public schools, no manger scenes in courthouses at Christmas. In fact some want to cancel Christmas, and replace it with some winter holiday. So why don’t they quote the next phrase “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”? It seems to me what the constitution means is that the government cannot force me to worship any specific god. But it also cannot stop me from worshiping any god I want to. You need both of those to have “freedom”. That means, it can’t make me pray in school. But it also can’t stop me from praying in school, if I want to. If you don’t think our founding fathers had any religion, tell me why there are religious symbols on almost every government building, and why all of our currency has “in God we trust” on it, and why sessions of congress are opened with prayer. Isn’t it just a little hypocritical that those who open their sessions with a prayer, won’t let you pray in school?

Then there’s the abortion issue. The justice branch does not make laws. It just interprets them. Somehow they decided that it was ok to kill unborn babies. Would someone please show me which law in our constitution they interpreted to rule that way? As a result, we have murdered more people in the name of justice than Hitler. And don’t tell me it’s because we don’t want to be accused of taking rights away from women. What about the rights of the unborn child?