Imagine if there were three terrorist events in two weeks. First, terrorists poison a state’s water supply. Then, they rig a building to collapse and rig another one hundreds of miles away to explode. Nervous politicians would be blue-pencilling the Bill of Rights by daybreak. The NSA would throw a parade for itself. Edward Snowden would be hung in effigy, if we couldn’t do it in person. Somebody’s ass would get droned in Waziristan. But these were not the acts of terrorists. These involve Job Creators. The only similarity is that people were killed whom they never knew.
It’s been a bad couple of weeks in deregulated America. These two events come hard on the heels of the (with luck) temporary ruination of West Virginia’s water supply. It is not remotely jumping to conclusions to say that all of these episodes are directly caused by reckless neglect. As a nation, we have neglected to rein in the excesses of our corporations. As a nation, we have neglected to fund fully the agencies tasked with worker safety and health, As a nation, we have neglected the rights of workers to organize and to bargain collectively on the issues of their own safety. As a nation, we have neglected to temper the excesses in our economy with the strongest tools we have — the institutions of our self-goverment. As a nation, we have neglected our profound obligation to treat the captains of our industry with the same skepticism — and, when necessary, the same contempt — that we treat our politicians. As a nation, we have neglected the lessons of our own past, which tell us quite clearly that unregulated capitalism kills people, and that it does so with the same lack of regard, and the same cold-eyed calculation, of any other passing sociopath. These events are based in reckless neglect and will continue to be.