The death of a doctor last week in Milwaukee County highlights the never ending debate over the role of government in providing for our health and safety. Dr. Krishna Chintamaneni was driving on I-43 and was killed when the wheel flew off a semitrailer truck.
Here is what we know about the company that owned and operated the truck in recent years:
- The company has performed poorly in roadside inspections of its drivers, federal data show.
- The firm's drivers have been ordered off the road for rules violations more than twice as often as the average trucker.
- The company's driver-inspection rating far exceeds the threshold the federal government considers deficient.
Somewhere there was failure. Somewhere there was some government agency too busy, too over-worked, stretched beyond its resources that was not able to effectively follow up and enforce the regulations.
You know, those troublesome regulations that drive up the cost of doing business.
Right now all levels of government are under assault. With "Americans for Prosperity," Wisconsin legislators and the political right clamoring to embrace Grover Norquist's goal to "..cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub," such incidents are not surprising.
That is not to say that government spending will eliminate all accidental deaths or that there is no limit for such spending. But statistically, the less resources there are for making highways safer, logically, there will be more deaths.
Right now there is no rational debate on what is the proper levels of spending. All we hear is "tax hell," "drive down the cost of government," and "stop the regulations."
We see it everywhere:
- Inadequate staffing and laboratories which lessen the effectiveness of the FDA and don't keep dangerous drugs off the market.
- Toys that are not inspected and violate federal safety standards or are just plain poisonous.
- Bridges collapsing.
- Abuses on children and seniors in the care of others in unregulated or inadequately inspected care facilities.
There are those who say that the private market will take care of these things.
I suppose Dr.Chintamaneni's family can sue the offenders and drive the trucking company into bankruptcy. I am sure that they would rather have him back. We all would.
It looks like the remedies are 'after the fact,' as noted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article: "We will go over that truck with a fine-tooth comb and make sure this driver is cited for any and all violations," Clarke said.
Not much consolation.