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Friday, September 30, 2011

Maddow and Olbermann Are Wrong About Senator Rand Paul

Recently on MSNBC Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann each did segments on Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and the new gas pipeline "safety" bill that the Senator recently held up in congress. Both of these characters claim that Senator Rand Paul doesn't care about gas pipeline safety and held up the bill purely on philosophical grounds with the "notion" that government regulations are bad. In fact Olbermann went so far as to give Rand Paul a nomination for "Worst Person in the World".

Here are the video segments:


Olbermann (follows the segment on Dick Morris):

Rachel Maddow claims that all the bill essentially does is require new safety devices to be installed, upgrades to be performed sooner and increase government inspections.

The biggest irony I found in these pieces were that both mentioned the following, although I will quote Keith Olbermann on this one:

"This legislation is supported by...the owners of the industry the new legislation would affect."
 In fact, the way both of these two put it, the industry was practically BEGGING for this legislation to get passed in order to get started on implementing all of these new regulatory safety measures.

I guess the questions everyone is failing to ask...

Why do the gas companies need to have regulations passed in order to install new safety devices and make needed upgrades?

Why might industry want the government to perform more safety inspections? Don't the gas companies do their own safety inspections?

Isn't the idea that the government regulators are supposed to be a back-up for when industry fails to adequately protect itself? Or are the gas companies trying to save money by having this type of legislation passed to shift the burden of costly safety inspections onto the government, aka the taxpayer?

Isn't this then also a direct subsidy for gas companies? Do Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann support government subsidies for gas companies?

Don't gas companies have a stake in this? In other words, are gas companies responsible for the damages that their equipment causes, or are their federal regulations that help shield them from full indemnity?

Apparently nobody is asking these questions. If the press did their job and asked these questions, I could draw tighter conclusions.

So what is the conclusion?

It seems to me that the gas industry supports the legislation for one or both of the following reasons:

1) Current regulations are not only inadequate, but are actively PREVENTING gas companies from enacting the safety measures in the new legislation. Often times regulations are so specific that they don't allow for newer safer technology to be implemented until a regulatory bill goes through Washington D.C. Of course this requires expensive lobbyists. This can severely hamper innovation within the industry being regulated and it is very common. This is one reason why I oppose federal regulations, they just aren't agile enough to allow industries to innovate and provide the greatest possible safety measures. They are, however, a great way for big corporations to increase their monopoly powers and ensure that their technology is entrenched into the system.

So if this is actually true, then what happens in 10 years when new safety devices exist which cannot be implemented due to the current legislation being passed? Does the government really need to keep up rules and regulations for every industry and constantly adapt to the new technology coming out? Is science and engineering really a strong suit of Washington D.C.? I certainly don't think so.

2) The gas industry wants the legislation passed because it is a subsidy from the taxpayers in the form of costly pipeline inspections.

Maybe Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann need to consider the reasons why Senator Rand Paul is against the "notion" of government regulations before they put together these type of hit pieces.

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