The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Bush tries to burn asbestos victims

Jan 10, 2005

President Bush's rantings now include a drive to keep corporations from suffering under lawsuits. He wants to limit the dollar amount that juries can award victims, and also set up ways to block victims from filing at all. The president calls these "junk" lawsuits, and one of his targets is – he says – asbestos.

While Bush gives a nod to the workers who have been injured (and killed, though he never mentions those), he mostly speaks of limiting the damages done to the asbestos-industry corporations. As if the corporations were the innocent victims of workers with vile intent! Instead of the other way around.

Asbestos companies, like the tobacco companies, knew for years that microscopic amounts of asbestos caused lung damage leading to cancer and death. They hid the knowledge from workers until the human casualty toll was overwhelmingly high and in public view. Then, when faced with the day of reckoning in court, the companies simply evaded their responsibilities by using the bankruptcy escape hatch. In this way, they preserved their blood-soaked profits and escaped paying what they truly owed to hundreds of thousands of workers.

George Bush says he wants to limit lawsuits in the court system. Well, there are two simple steps to take. Force companies to provide up-to-date exposure controls so that there are no more victims. And confiscate all the money that was made and is being made by asbestos polluters, and use it to pay the damages.