This has to rank as one of the stupidest remarks I’ve ever heard:
Mike Gilles, a former president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, said that he built safe rooms in all his custom homes, and that even many builders who build speculatively now make them standard. But asked whether the government should require safe rooms in homes, he said, “Most homebuilders would be against that because we think the market ought to drive what people are putting in the houses, not the government.”
But, as is pointed out here, does that include electrical and plumbing codes, circuit breakers, grounded outlets, and all the other safety codes the government mandates? I wonder what “the market” would say about these things if left to its own devices? I think we all know the answer to that.
The free market (in most cases) is an excellent tool for increasing efficiency. But as a method for identifying and promoting safety, it is notoriously horrific. Take your pick – worker safety, automobile safety, child safety, public safety, disaster preparedness – and “the market” has fought any and all initiatives tooth and nail. So no, the market ought not to “drive what people are putting in their houses.” That is better determined by organizations for which safety is more important than profit. What the market “ought to drive” is the efficient application of the safety codes and regulations these organizations determine.
The government should define the framework for public safety and policy; the market should implement it. That is the partnership that has historically proven to be the most efficient enactment of policies that serve the best interest of the public.