Friday, November 15, 2002

GOP vs Trial Lawyers

The Democratic Party these days is not much more than a collection of special interests -- unions, feminist organizations, the NAACP, gays and lesbians, and, most of all, trial lawyers.

Politics in this country is down to them against all the rest of us.

PEOPLE who say, "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the two political parties," or "It doesn't matter who wins," are in for a big surprise watching the 108th Congress tackle tort reform. Right out of the box, there's terrorism insurance. Presidential advisor Lawrence Lindsey says Congress' failure to provide coverage is delaying more than $10 billion in construction projects and holding us on the verge of a double-dip recession. New York City is being particularly hard hit because of the risks of covering high-rise and "trophy" buildings.

The problem is the usual one: Trial lawyers insist on punitive damages.

The Bush administration is willing to commit the federal Treasury to coverage because private firms can't be expected to pay the damages if al Qaeda sets off a nuke in Lower Manhattan. But the trial lawyers and their representatives in Congress (a k a "The Democrats") aren't satisfied. They want to be able to blame someone - insurance companies, the government, anyone with money - if terrorists strike. That will enable them to blow the combination at Fort Knox.