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Saturday, May 18, 2013 11:19 am

We don't need no steenking regulations!

The press is filled with pension talk, but other recent news reminds us that cutting a too-generous COL adjustment is not the worst way that governments can screw workers.

Turns out that the plant manufacturing highly explosive anhydrous ammonia which blew up in west Texas, killing 14 and injuring more than 200, was equipped with no alarms, no firewall and no systems to automatically shut down operations in an emergency. The plant was built, legally, across the street from two schools and a nursing home (Houston has no zoning laws) and the company carried only $1 million in liability insurance. Two further facts, not unrelated: Texas employers don't have to contribute to workers' compensation coverage; Texas not only does not have a state fire code but bans local communities from adopting their own; and no other states come close to Texas in workplace fatalities and property damage resulting from explosions.

The explosion is a reminder that reducing the burden of regulation on business, as the corporate lobby and its ventriloquist dummies in the Republican Party demand, means increasing the burden of property loss, risk of injury and illness on everyone else.

Thanks to Steve Benen.

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