It would be a wonderful world for everyone if we could all get past this cult of selfishness. As an aside, we can note with ironic detachment that the first film in the planned trilogy of Atlas Shrugged is struggling to cover its costs. Indeed, so poor is the box office, we may never see the second and third parts made. It seems the Tea Party and Libertarians resist the idea of paying for admission to see their favorite story on the big screen. Ah well, such are the priorities of the Right when asked to pay for anything. Which brings us to the progress of Assembly Bill 299 in Nevada. If you ask the Republicans, this is the worst piece of redistribution since Karl Marx first thought up the idea of communism. First, let’s consider the problem.
When you drive around our great nation, there’s a one in five chance the driver of the vehicle crashing into yours is uninsured. This woeful state of affairs persists despite there being a mandate requiring all drivers to carry a minimum of liability cover. The practical reality is a lack of enthusiasm to enforce the laws. Since most uninsured drivers feel they stand a good chance of avoiding prosecution, they save the money and leave the rest with the risk. Yes, that’s right. Unless you paid for collision cover and, possible uninsured/underinsured cover, you pay for all losses arising from the crash out of your own pocket. So you have what the Brits call Hobson’s Choice. You either pay more in premiums or you pick up the bill for all losses. Either way you pay more. If the law on mandates was actively enforced, we would all pay less – assuming, of course, the insurance companies would pass on their savings to us. But if you ask politicians to fund active enforcement on budgets in deficit, they back away (usually on foot), claiming it’s more important to use the little money available to keep schools open and pay someone to keep the streets clear of rubbish.
So Assembly Bill 299 has been passed by the Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee. This will add 50c to everyone’s insurance policy to create a fund. If any citizen of Nevada is really poor and produces an income tax return to prove it, they can claim a subsidy to buy a new low minimum liability policy. The theory is this will encourage the virtuous poor to use what little money they have to buy insurance. Needless to say, the Republicans oppose this, advising all the poor to abandon their vehicles and take a bus if they have somewhere to go. Obviously none of the Republican lawmakers have ever tried to use the public transport system.
What makes all this interesting is the evidence offered by State Farm which estimates the average policyholder would find their auto insurance quotes reduced by $50 per year. So let’s be straight about this. The Republicans want to defeat a bill making you pay 50c and force the poor on to buses. By doing so, they want to deny every driver in Nevada a potential reduction of $50 per year on their auto insurance quotes.