October 9, 2006
The Fallacy of Campaign Finance Reform
featuring John Samples
Series 1: Q and A With Steve Milloy
Continued from page 2...
My brother-in-law lawyer says that complaints about huge financial awards for frivolous claims like the McDonalds hot coffee case are overblown. He points out that a judge reduced dramatically that award, and there are actually very few other cases like that. I pointed out to him the silicone breast implant cases, and the cell phone (brain cancer) cases. What other precedent-setting legal outrages come to mind, besides the tobacco and gun cases?
Courtrooms are filled with junk science fueled litigation. A partial list includes:
Mr. Milloy, I enjoy your website and column and am glad that there is someone out there drawing attention to questionable scientific work. Are there any environmental/health regulations or laws enacted that you see as positive? Reading your columns, one could get the impression that no law or regulation will ever meet your standards. I know this is likely not the case, so I wanted to give you an opportunity to talk about some things that you see as "non-junk science based" legislation and regulation in the public health/environmental arena.
This is too broad a question to be answered in a few paragraphs. Whether specific laws and regulations are positive depends on many facts and value judgments. Generally speaking, laws should not be enacted and regulations should not be implemented based on unsubstantiated claims.
I am often asked, "Hasn't the federal Clean Air Act produced dramatically cleaner air over the last 30 years?" The answer is "Yes, but at what cost?"
When the Clean Air Act was enacted in 1970, air pollution in the U.S. was more of an aesthetic than a public health problem. That is even more the case today. Few people realize this after 30 years of non-stop junk science-fueled alarmism from environmental activists.
Under the Clean Air Act, Americans have spent about $500 billion, and surrendered many freedoms under an onerous command-and-control system. Impending future expenditures will dwarf those costs.
Could similar (or better) results have been achieved or be achieved at less cost to our pocketbooks and liberty? We'll need to eliminate junk science from the debate to find out.
Mr. Milloy: Recently I read, somewhere, that one benefit of sparse (large-lot) suburban development is that the trees and shrubbery create a carbon sink out-weighing the CO2 generated by the humans on the lot, while the more congested small-lot smart-growth condo's do not. What's your opinion on this?
This is a global warming question for which I will mostly refer you to my earlier response on the topic. We may plant trees from now until the end of time. But we will never know whether we've had any effect on the carbon cycle, much less any impact on global climate. Nonetheless, urban green spaces can provide a refreshing break from heat-trapping urban concrete and asphalt.
Can you comment on the effects electronic radiation cell phone towers have on seniors? Thank you.
Many studies have looked at microwave radiation emanating into the local environment from cell phone towers, including two recent major studies by the Canadian and UK governments. All conclude that the towers sited according to regulations are perfectly safe. These results are consistent with more than 50 years of study on the potential health effects of microwave radiation.
For more detailed information, check out the web site of Radiology professor John Moulder of the Medical College of Wisconsin: