I repeat: How much are human lives worth?
If one examines the shenanigans perpetrated by the coal mining companies, I would have to guess, according to them, the answer would be “not much”.
WASHINGTON — Coal mine operators have paid just 7% of the fines they have received for major health and safety violations in the past three years, a USA TODAY analysis of federal records shows.
The low payment rate is eroding the government’s ability to pressure mining companies to improve safety, particularly at coal mines with repeated serious violations, officials and advocates say.
Unpaid fines mean coal companies “may keep on doing (unsafe) things because it hasn’t really hit their pocketbook,” said Tony Oppegard, a former mine-safety prosecutor in Kentucky.
This quote is from a USA Today article titled “Mines carry backlog of $90M in Violations” If you haven’t read anything about it, you may want to read it. It’s the same story we hear repeatedly coming from business.
A spokesperson for the mine owners said unpaid fines do not mean mines are less safe, because violations must be corrected whether or not a fine is appealed.
However, a spokesperson for the Mine Safety and Health Administration replied to lawmakers the unpaid fines can protect repeat offenders. “Mines have the ability to continue that pattern unabated,” Main said.
According to the latest figures I could find, the human body is currently worth approximately $4.50.
When we total the monetary value of the elements in our bodies and the value of the average person’s skin, we arrive at a net worth of $4.50!
This value is, however, subject to change, due to stock market fluctuations. Since the studies leading to this conclusion were conducted by the U.S. and by Japan respectively, it might be wise to consult the New York Stock Exchange and the Nikkei Index before deciding when to sell!
Our skin, is by far our most valuable possession.Basing the skin’s value on the selling price of cowhide, which is approximately $.25 per square foot, the value of an average person’s skin is about $3.50.
Now I realize some of you may wish to comment that on the black market some of our organs are really quite pricey but that’s a different blog.
My point is, it is my opinion, for those of you who are shouting to the skies that we need less government, we already HAVE less government. Actually, Uncle Sam has been relegated to some old toothless fogey. It seems more and more that we have lawmakers who peek out of the pockets of big business every once in a while to shake hands and, after wasting months putting on Broadway worthy shows arguing across the aisle, they pass a bill just to make their constituents happy…or unhappy as the case may be. However, they are puppets controlled by the big corporations who line their war chests with millions+ dollars. This is especially true most recently when the Supreme Court stepped in to allow them (the corporations) to spend as much as they wished.
In a stunning reversal of the nation’s federal campaign finance laws, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday that free-speech rights permit groups like corporations and labor unions to directly spend on political campaigns, prompting the White House to pledge “forceful” action to undercut the decision.
No one wants too much government. I don’t want too much government. What I do want is a government with the ability to carry out all the laws we already have on the books, and, to make the anti-government Tea partiers happy, I want government lawmakers to review the laws that have already been passed in those 1,000-2,000 page laws and actually discover what is said in them. I want Uncle Sam to get a new set of dentures that will allow him to put some bite into our regulations. Ever since deregulation, our standards of living, health, and safety have gone down hill fast because there are fewer and fewer controls to keep business from doing whatever it wishes.
Now whether or not we should even be using coal anymore is another blog. That’s not the point. The point I am trying to make is I think the mine owners should have their feet held to the fire and be held accountable for the latest mining accident.
It is time Americans put more than a $4.50 value on human bodies. Perhaps that is the figure they use when calculating the risks they take with their miners’ lives. Isn’t it about time big corporations are forced to consider the cost of the spirit contained within those bodies? That amount must be priceless. At least their families and friends surely think so as they mourn.
Namaste. Attic Annie
PS A commenter sent me the following link about the value of a life. It makes me feel much more valuable than $4.50! However, leave it to the government to decrease my value in order to bypass EPA regulations. I’m either a bargain, or I’m cheap! AA