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corporate dominance | government oregon elections 2006

Help-please!

Say folks, I know that there are a lot of folks out here who are smarter than I am, so please help me to understand:
Measure 42 (Oregon) is supposed to prevent insurance companies from using credit reports to determine risk factors for driver's insurance. Quite naturally, it is opposed by the very rich and very tricky Insurance Alliance, who is burying us all with very expensive ads declaring that the measure is backed by non other than the lovely Bill Sizemore, along with his wealthy butt buddy, Loren Parks.

Now, I usually vote against anything that those two bastards are in favor of, as a matter of principle, but something smells very bad here, and I believe that it may be those two red herrings. I cannot think of any reason whatsoever for them to be in favor of such a measure, I mean, why would they even care? Couple that with the fact that the anti 42 ads are so well financed, and feature as their only reason to oppose, the fact that Sizemore &co are for it.

Could they actually have put Sizemore and Parks up to such a plan, in order to defeat it? So far, I have heard of no one who is actually FOR the measure except the demented duo.
Not the Answer You're Looking for, but... 29.Sep.2006 22:00

yarrow

In another state, my insurance company makes the pitch that policy holders with "good credit records" are "found" to be good drivers/good risks. (What is the basis for this "finding"?) It goes on to make the offer to "see if you qualify for a reduced premium, as much as $xxxx!" "Just authorize us to get your credit card record."

I'm reluctant to grant an apparently one time authorization for the insurance company to get regular credit reports (and what else?) on me from the credit bureaus. I haven't been able to get a clear commitment from any representative of the insurance company as to just what are the exact boundaries of this "authorization."

Even if it only leads to getting "offers" for merchandise through junk mail, based on the insurance selling some aspect of my credit buying pattern, that's closer than I want to get to being a "consumer"--a warm body in the feed lot of capitalism-- instead of a person, if there's anything I can do about it.

My take on this 30.Sep.2006 00:14

mh

Great question!

There's quite a discussion going on about this over on BlueOregon which is one of the wonky political blogs for local Democrats. Here's the link for the article:  http://www.blueoregon.com/2006/09/yes_on_42_for_t.html
(If the whole address for the exact link isn't displayed, you'll have to click on "Posts" on the top left of the BO homepage because the article isn't on the front page anymore - it's called "Yes on 42. For the Working Poor.")

Anyway, that discussion was quite interesting and you can read it to get some different points of view. I won't reiterate it all here.

But first off, I read awhile back (and the wonks on BO confirm) that Sizemore has bad credit because of his legal problems and judgements against him. Someone over there had the details:

"In the civil case against Sizemore in 2002, the charges he faced were forgery on statements of sponsorship, forgery on initiative petitions, and filing false tax returns and campaign finance reports. The ruling was that he should pay approximately $2.52 million dollars. How much of it has he paid? Not a cent."

So Bill's now got bad credit and was, I guess, stunned by the insurance rates he got socked with because of it. Hence, initiative 42.

I myself, have less than perfect credit, but a virtually spotless driving record. I have been - excuse my French, but nothing else will do here - fucked royally by the legal and legislatively mandated extortionists in the insurance industry. My credit rating - or the fact that I hadn't had continuous insurance in the last 6 months (because I had no running vehicle) were always the reasons given.

But Sizemore? EEEWWWWW, the guys a scumbag. Everyone I know - who knew who Sizemore was - is skeptical of this initiative because of who's pushing it. Everyone's looking for the obscure bit of wording that would lead to the unintended consequences his initiatives are famous for. As far as I have read and can see, no one's found any yet.

The one argument that the anti-42 caucus pounds is that "those with good credit will be subsidizing those with bad" because if they can't charge the poor folk more like they have been doing, someone else will have to pay it instead.

I call "Bullshit!" on that insurance-industry sponsored propaganda for several reasons. See the discussion over on BO for details. [I refer you there because the whole long thread is kind of amazing to me - the corporate dems vs. the populist dems. Quite a few of the posters over there (usually a highly analytical and politically nerdy crowd) just automatically dismissed the whole measure out-of-hand without even reading it because it was sponsored by Sizemore. Scary how some "progressive" Dems are as partisan, driven by ideology and toe the party line as much as the Repugs. There's also some really choice "let them eat cake" type comments from some other "progressives" over there - or maybe they were Repug trolls - hard to tell!]

Anyway, here's my take on this. Sizemore's a puke, and this is surely a very self-serving move on his part and any help it gives to those of us in similiar straights is secondary to Bill. But so what? I'm not gonna cut off my nose to spite my face - as my mom used to say - just because I don't like Sizemore.

Your credit rating is based on factors and devised to assess your ability to repay a loan. Period. Even if the insurance industry can find stats that back up their claim that those with bad credit are worse risks than those with good, (and they can't) it wouldn't necessarily mean that they're worse risks BECAUSE of their bad credit - correlation does not equal causation, after all.

Ask yourself this... Why would insurance companies be the ones funding the opposition to this measure? Because they're concerned that some of their customers will have to pay more? I doubt it.

According to that argument, the net effect to insurance companies would be zilch - because some customers will be paying more to OFFSET those with bad credit who will allegedly be paying less (yeah, right). So if the effect on their bottom line is no different, WHY DO THEY CARE so much?? Why would a profit driven corporation - who's legal mandate is to maximize profit for its shareholders - invest money (and with the "No to 42" media blitz that's going on right now, it must be a lot) to fight this?

That's my two bits worth anyway. I'm gonna vote Yes on 42.

Thanks 30.Sep.2006 08:36

Juan Segin

Hatter, you always come up with the answer. I was pretty certain that there could be NO reason to vote with the insurance folks.
The wonder still is whether or not some enterprising folks in the industry saw this one coming, and talked Park and Sizemore into fronting it, knowing that many voters automatically vote against them, without reading. Trouble is, not enough is getting out to the sheep about it, and there seems to be no Pro 42 movement at all at all. I think we are going to get another shoved down our throats, without even having to rig the election.

YES on 42! 30.Sep.2006 19:03

mh

You got that right JS, there is no pro-42 movement that I've seen.

Which brings up something else I wanted to mention about this. I got the same "NO on 42" letter the writer of the article on BlueOregon got - the one from the "Browne Family Farm" {with the fine print at the bottom saying: "Paid for by Oregonians Against Insurance Rate Increases").

No biggie, right? Except I NEVER get stuff like this in the mail unless it's the occassional mass mailing postcard from my local pol running in an upcoming election.

So where did these guys get my address? I'm a bleeding heart liberal - and going against 42 isn't particularly liberal (tho I guess a few of those over on BO think so!) IMO. And why did they think I (with my lousy credit and trouble with insurance companies) would be on their side on this issue? This is really puzzling me.

The only thing I can think of is this: I'm a registered Democrat, [before anyone says anything - I never got around to changing it - OK? ;) ] so could they be sending these out to registered dems purely on the basis that they assume I'd be against it simply because Sizemore sponsored it?

If that IS the case, you can see quite clearly that those lobbying to stop this initiative are indeed playing off Sizemore's - uh - unpopularity. Which, though effective, is underhanded I think. I ain't toeing no party line to vote against my own interests.