Friable Thoughts

Monday, May 16, 2005

Arlen Specter, Fire Your Editorial Writers

It's not a big surprise that Arlen Specter would push for his bill in the New York Times editorial pages but this effort is kind of lame. First, why spend all your effort attacking Dick Armey when the main opposition is from the trial lawyers and the labor unions? Could it be that Mr. Armey has influence with the waivering conservative senators?

Second, if many of the major contributors to the fund are against the fund to start with, forcing them to pay into the fund would be a tax or, even worse, an unconstitutional taking. Specter implies that all the insurers and manufacturers have agreed to pay into the fund which is disproven by his own point that Mr. Armey is getting funding from an insurer opposed to the fund.

Finally, he makes very little hay on the (in)ability of the current tort system to handles asbestos claims. Where is the harping that only 10% of cases are legitimate or that less than half the money currently spent on litigation goes to the plaintiffs themselves?

There are valid reasons for asbestos litigation reform. There are good arguments for Specter's bill but, unfortunately, they're not laid out in Specter's editorial.

Paying for Asbestos


  • We are never going to get out of this mess until we have national insurance so sick people can call a doctor instead of a lawyer. Take a look at my new book, Asbestos and Fire (Rutgers University Press, 2005).

    By Blogger rpm24, at 6:27 PM  

  • Heh. Looks like all the comments are going to be self-trumpeting rather than talking about your post.

    Maybe... maybe Specter didn't need to lay out the merits of the bill. Maybe the editorial page isn't a good forum for that. Maybe the best possible use of an editorial (we mean op-ed, right? not editorial?) soapbox is to toss a grenade, a messy smear that will go off and fragment and stick for a little while, so that everyone's talking about how awful Armey is, according to this one article I read in the papah.

    If, as you suggest, personal politics matter to the passage of the bill- not that I would suspect that of ever happening- then I wonder if Specter didn't do exactly what he wanted to do. If all he was after was spreading his view of the merits, he could call a press conference, put up a website or make a speech, or get some untrustworthy to deny it on t.v.

    Oh, and you know you've been a lawyer too much and a blogger to little when you type "waivering." It's waiver, a noun, and waver, a verb, and when someone teeters or can't decide or flip-flops or is weakly held, they're wavering.

    And if every blogger was held to their every mistake, they'd not be able to hold down their day jobs.

    By Blogger Eh Nonymous, at 7:16 AM  

  • By Blogger Editor Choice, at 12:27 AM  

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