Friable Thoughts

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

She's got more issues than Time magazine

When I hear that the Senate is "encouraged" by recent negotiations over the asbestos bill, I'm reminded of a child watching his parents trying to work out marital problems. Perhaps they'll try to work on the "little things" first and hope it builds the momentum to solving the bigger issues. But, like mom and dad find out in marriage counseling, it's not the little things that are the problem but the inability to resolve the bigger issues that lead to the big "D" - and I don't mean Dallas.

The same problem exists with the current reform proposal. Defense interests, understandably, want all of this litigation to go away. Plaintiff interests want to squeeze as much money out of the defense interests as possible so they won't agree to go away if the fund runs out of money, no matter how unlikely it may be. That is a big enough issue even if all sides (or enough of them) could agree on the fund size, the payouts, what to do about silica, apportioning the contributions among the insurers and insureds and who qualifies for payment. None of those issues are easy, just "easier".

So, until they can resolve the big issues, fixing the little ones is no more useful than calling Dr. Phil. But, then again, I could be wrong and maybe that's just what the US Senate needs. At least he's not as annoying as Senator Specter or Leahy.

US senators encouraged by Specter asbestos talks


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