Honda Underreports Deaths & Injuries–Will Receive Light Fine & We Move On

Honda

Ferguson, Immigration, volatile weather, and this being Thanksgiving week can be the only reason why this story didn’t make bigger news.

Christina Rogers of Marketwatch reports:

Honda Motor Co. said it failed to report 1,729 death and injury incidents to U.S. regulators in an 11-year period starting in 2003 as results of an internal audit exposed lapses in its ability to meet federal reporting requirements.

The figure more than doubles the actual number of deaths and injuries involving its vehicles, bringing the total during this period to more than 2,843–far more than the 1,114 it had initially reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the auto maker disclosed in a regulatory filing Monday.

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Auto makers are required under the Tread Act to notify NHTSA of all deaths and injuries involving their vehicles as “early-warning reports.” The agency can fine car companies as much as $35 million for failing to report such incidents in a timely manner.

Honda’s been under the spotlight of late with reports of its Takata air bags allegedly killing or injuring a number of drivers.

This is a major auto company admitting it (mistakenly) underreported the number of deaths and injuries from accidents involving its own cars! Providing accurate statistics would hurt its image and bottom line, and you can’t mess with the bottom line!  Can you imagine the outcry if this had been GM?

The cynic in me says that while Honda will indeed probably end-up paying multiple $35 million fines, the company–and the corporate culture–will move-on, continue to shakedown states desperate for jobs and find inventive ways to prevent unionization at its manufacturing plants.

The culture will not change unless someone in upper management is prosecuted for a crime, like manslaughter. Then, and only then, will the culture change for the better.

In the meantime, with the revolving door or corporate America and Washington, D.C., keeps spinning.

This is why having certain forms of governmental regulation is kind of a good thing once in a while!

pat@wsgw.com

Cliques More Frequent In Larger High Schools

HighSchool

The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson examines a study on why cliques are more prevalent at bigger schools:

In bigger high schools, students are exposed to a greater diversity of students, which might make you think they’d be more likely to form friendships across socioeconomic barriers. Instead, (Daniel) McFarland found that in these schools, students are more anxious about finding meaningful relationships, and they respond by seeking out familiar peers who offer security, support, and protection.

“Larger schools that offer more choice and variety are the most likely to form hierarchies and cliques and self-segregation,” said McFarland, a professor of education at Stanford Graduate School of Education. “In smaller schools, and in smaller classrooms, you force people to interact, and they are less hierarchical, less cliquish, and less self-segregated.”

The study’s author says school size is just one of the factors that could explain why students create cliques. In the end, our immediate environment ultimately decides if students decide to segregate themselves from one another.

pat@wsgw.com

patguitar

Wednesday Indie Music Day–Broncho

A couple of weeks ago on WSGW’s First Day I featured a song by the Oklahoma-based band called, Broncho. “Class Historian” is a dish full of pop, but sprinkled with some late 80′s alt rock sensibility.

I thoroughly enjoyed the song, as did my Sunday sidekick, Michael Percha.

If you’d like to learn more about Broncho and their new album, Just Enough Hip To Be A Woman, visit their website, or Facebook page.

Enjoy! I know you will.

pat@wsgw.com

New Enrolees Like Obamacare

I’ll have more to day about the so-called scandal revolving around MIT economist–and RomneyCare architect–Jonathan Gruber on this Sunday’s “Pat Political Point” on WSGW’s First Day. Oh, I’ll have lots to say, trust me.

For today, I’d like to point-out how 74% of new enrollees say their new health coverage is good-to-excellent. Conversely, the law’s experiencing its lowest overall approval rating ever at 37% support.

Why is there such a discrepancy?

People directly affected by the law are more likely to give it higher marks than those not affected. Certainly, some people were negatively affected by Obamacare. Insurance is all about pooling money and resources together, like in auto or home owners insurance. Not everybody comes-out as a winner, which is why I advocated for a public option. We were still beholden to private insurance companies, and a public option would’ve provided customers with more affordable choices. Obamacare also failed to regulate meaningful price controls to help further save people, and America, more money.

However, the overall goal of getting more people insured–and ending the free loading by millions of Americans who refused to get insurance–is happening. Over 10-million people are now insured, and that’s a success story.

If you recall, the basic premise of Obamacare germinated from conservative think tanks in the 1990′s. Mitt Romney championed this approach because the Individual Mandate forced people to get off their duffs and by insurance. Unlike the liberal approach that calls for single-payer government-run health insurance, conservatives countered with the Individual Mandate: Citizens were responsible for getting insurance.

Then, Obama picked up the RomneyCare mantle, and everything changed.

pat@wsgw.com

And Now…The Rest Of The Story

Solar

Do you remember Solyndra, and how its failure served as a political punching bag for those who hate using government funding to develop a green economy? Remember how the California solar company became the poster child of wasteful governmental spending in renewable energy projects? Remember the constant derision? Remember how Solyndra became a one-word Obama administration scandal like “Benghazi?”

I do.

Yes, Solyndra did fail.

Yet, the rest of the program will actually end up making money.

The U.S. government expects to earn $5 billion to $6 billion from the renewable-energy loan program that funded flops including Solyndra LLC, supporting President Barack Obama’s decision to back low-carbon technologies.

The Department of Energy has disbursed about half of $32.4 billion allocated to spur innovation, and the expected return will be detailed in a report due to be released as soon as tomorrow, according to an official who helped put together the data.

The results contradict the widely held view that the U.S. has wasted taxpayer money funding failures including Solyndra, which closed its doors in 2011 after receiving $528 million in government backing. That adds to Obama’s credibility as he seeks to make climate change a bigger priority after announcing a historic emissions deal with China.

When attempting to develop new technologies, some companies fail. That’s what happened to Solyndra. Overall though, the loan and grant program to develop green energy technology in the country has been a success.

Let’s also recall that similar to the auto industry, private capital was sparse to assist green energy projects. The government was there to fill the void.

There are many criticisms one can legitimately levy at President Obama. This is not one of them.

I will wait for the countless news stories explaining how the loan program has worked wonderfully.

UPDATE : I just ran across this story by Tim Mullaney about that DOE report, and how the government will net $4 billion from the program. Tesla, Ford, SolarCity, and countless other companies have benefited greatly due to government funding. The American people have benefited to with 8,000 jobs created, which is a good thing despite whatever Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn says.

Mullaney sums it all up:

Markets understand this even if Washington can’t. Stimulus-backed stocks handily beat the market early in the recovery. Tesla shares worth $7.53 when it got DOE financing are at $254, for a $32 billion market capitalization. In that light, the $139 million loss on direct rival Fisker looks like policymakers spread prudent risks in search of big rewards. The $5 billion value of rooftop solar-system installer SolarCity SCTY, -0.95%  dwarfs Solyndra’s loss, too.

Better, the technologies these programs financed promise a cleaner, cheaper future. Greens’ dream would be ever-more electric cars, replacing gasoline with juice produced in low-carbon or no-carbon plants using solar, wind, nuclear and natural gas. All those technologies, besides gas, are closer because they got public credit when private markets spat out the bit.

pat@wsgw.com

I’m Alive

Took a weekend trip to Pennsylvania last weekend, and when I returned to WSGW, I had a lot of catch-up work to do. That’s why blogging has been absent for the past week.

I’m back and ready to post again.

Let the world rejoice!