The Post Gets it (Mostly) Right on Asbestos

By February 23, 2006General

If we keep agreeing with the Post, we might as well just merge our blogs. But they got it right today — for at least the second time — on asbestos. Here’s an excerpt from today’s Post editorial on the current state of play:

Anyone who thinks the tort system can handle asbestos claims should consider some numbers from the Rand Corp. think tank. Of the $70 billion paid out in settlements for asbestos-related injuries since the 1970s, about $41 billion went to lawyers; only $29 billion went to sick people. A system of compensation that burns up more than half the dollars it consumes in administrative costs is utterly broken. The grotesque legal fees have contributed to the bankruptcy of 77 U.S. companies so far, costing thousands of workers their jobs.

Their words, not ours. This fight was never over whether asbestos was harmful or not. It’s about whether the money — put up by defendant companies, not the US Government — goes to the sick or the lawyers. If you think trial lawyers and healthy people should get the lion’s share of the asbestos money, then don’t bother doing anything. But if you think sick people ought to recover before the trial lawyers and the healthy people, then click here and let your Senators know, and urge them to keep the process moving forward.

And, we should note that while the Post is right on the substance here, they’re dead wrong in their gratuitous shot at Sen. Majority leader Frist. This thing would not have made it this far without the commitment and hard work of Sen. Frist and Sen. Specter.