I'd Feel Much Safer If A Government Bureaucrat Was In Charge

Marc Hodak found this gem in a newspaper article about the new Grand Canyon Skywalk:

The Skywalk's builders have said repeatedly that the deck is extremely
durable. It's essentially a huge steel horseshoe, capable of
withstanding 100 mph (160 kph) winds and holding several hundred
200-pound (90-kilogram) people at a time.

I had no reason to doubt them. But out on the edge, my mind was
racing: I tried to remember if any government regulatory agency had
checked how well this thing was anchored to the cliff.

Hodak observes:

News writers are notoriously wary of private agents and their
self-interests versus "the government," as if its agents were somehow
endowed with a greater degree of expertise or caring for their fellow
man. They often can't fathom that, even regardless of their economic
interests, the owners and operators would be any less concerned about
their guests tumbling down the side of the Grand Canyon than some
bureaucrat with a tape measure and some forms to fill out. It kind of
leaves me breathless.

Maybe they can bring in the government crew that built the Tacoma-Narrows Bridge.


  1. Garble:

    The Tocoma Narrows bridge wasn't a failure of the government. It was an engineering failure. (but the guy you quoted is a fool.)

  2. Max Lybbert:

    Garble, who paid for the Tacoma Narrows bridge? IIRC, it was a government project. Who inspected the Tacoma Narrows bridge? IIRC, it was inspected by a government agency and deemed safe.

    Yes, there was an engineering failure, but those engineers were government employees. What would make government engineers better at assessing risk than private engineers?