I don’t understand why the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives didn’t wait a few weeks to change the name of the Committee on Education and Labor to the Committee on Education and the Workforce [which they actually did--no joke]. After all, wouldn’t it have been a fitting tribute to the 147 members of the ‘workforce’ who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire [above] exactly 100 years ago today?
I guess the idea that members of the ‘workforce’ actually form part of a social sector called ‘labor’ is anathema to the Tea Party-inspired team, along with anything called ‘regulation’. Just two weeks ago we in New York saw a good example of what our world would look like if all those nasty, government-run regulatory bodies just went away once and for all. Something like this:
That’s the scene of a casino-bound tour bus that jackknifed into a signpost and was cut in two on March 11, killing 14. The investigation continues, but some witnesses said the driver was falling asleep. One survivor described the scene this way: ‘People were decapitated. You couldn’t make a horror film that was nearly this bad’.
After the deadly incident, New York State inspectors set out to spot check the vehicles that ply the highways around our city, many of them very cheap, seat-of-the-pants operations that suggest what life is like in China where the rules are basically whatever the powerful cliques say they are that day.
The Transportation Department’s inspectors stopped 14 buses in their random review, and took every one of them out of service for safety violations. Our Tea Party friends would undoubtedly prefer to ride in buses not subjected to this sort of intrusive, Big Government, Obama-inspired Nazi-Fascism. As long as they’re well equipped with Glock sidearms and an assault rifle or two, why would bus riders need any old damn gubmint snoopers around?
It’s been 100 years since those 147 sweatshop seamstresses perished because they couldn’t escape the flames. That crystallized for many the idea that workplaces (where the ‘workforce’ works) might need some rules governing safety and health. Those rules might even need someone empowered to enforce them, and that would be the job of, um, say, like, the government?
But now that the government is the big enemy of Virtue (along with teachers and civil servants), we can look forward to a time when buses will go careening off the road any old time of day, and no one will be able to do jack shit about it. What a wonderful, constitutionally-pure time that will be!