When the politicians aren’t complaining about TOO MUCH regulation (i.e. the free market can decide how much people are willing to spend for safety), they are calling business people they don’t LIKE on the carpet demanding MORE regulation. In this case, neither GM management nor Congress cared to look into this for more than 10 years, and the newly appointed CEO is being grilled about the problems that she has ALREADY pledged to fix! These people would have appointed a new captain on the Titanic while it was sinking, and blamed the new captain for hitting the iceberg!
The ignition switch problem has been in mechanics’ folklore for so long that Car Talk once had a Puzzler based on it. The story was that a woman driver could not start the car, but her husband could, as could the mechanic, using the HUSBAND’S KEYS. Turned out that her key chain had too many trinkets on it and the weight was disabling the ignition switch. Exactly the same problem, but without mentioning the more serious consequences.
In this case, I think GM was picked as the victim because they had to be bailed out by the government. Never mind that for years BEFORE the bailout they had not fixed the problem, and the existence of the problem was NOT what affected their sales (it was not well known enough to the general public). Never mind that the bailout had nothing to do with this or other safety issues. Never mind that the new CEO is in the process of investigating why the issue was never corrected, and of getting it corrected as quickly as possible now. This gives Republicans who normally do not care a gnat’s * about the safety of the public (or else they would support limiting mercury pollution in water, smog, overuse of growth hormones and antibiotics, etc.) to pretend they do, at the expense of a business executive who IS trying to do the right thing. And Democrats who care about these other safety issues as well are giving them cover.