Friday, June 6, 2008

Letting Business Do Its Own Thing

If there is a singular concept that characterizes the Republican approach to government, it appears to be that civilian business is capable of regulating its own behavior and, in fact, will do so better than its governmental counterpart. Implicit in that assumption is that such business will be conducted in the public's best interest. As such governmental watchdogs have been called off during the last eight years allowing business a free rein over such affairs as drug monitoring, testing and marketing, money lending, pollution control, mining safety, etc. The fall out from this approach has been nearly disastrous in any number of industries. The cavalier attitude toward how business conducts its affairs appears to have carried over into nuclear weapons as well. It has been reported that four high-tech electrical nose cone fuses for Minuteman nuclear warheads were sent to Taiwan in place of helicopter batteries. The mistake was discovered in March — a year and a half after the mistaken shipment.

There is a line which should not be crossed via over-regulation. Government should not be in the "Big Brother" business of controlling the fine details of conducting a business, but there are vital activities and concerns in which the general public has a legitimate interest in ensuring they are done properly. Of course, nuclear weapon security is one of these areas. The public also needs and deserves protection from the dangers caused by unscrupulous and avaricious business practices that place health and life secondary to profit making. Blurring the distinction between regulation and over-regulation serves only the purse strings of those who benefit financially and, from the example given above, can place our people in mortal danger.

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