Thursday, April 28, 2011

Insurance Companies to Alabama Tornado Victims: SCREW YOU

I sit here this morning left speechless by the scope of destruction left by numerous and massive tornadoes across Alabama and Georgia last night. Watching those scenes naturally triggered thoughts of the long post-Katrina recovery. I'm sure other survivors of that disaster also immediately felt empathy for what the unfortunate folks across the Deep South are about to go through. Once they are able to get past the first waves of shock and grief, the tornado victims will suffer the injustice of having their insurance companies turn their backs on them. For years they paid for a service and a sense of protection that they will not receive.

Like a good con artist, State Farm, Farmers, USAA Insurance, and other insurance companies collected decades' worth of premiums from Gulf Coast residents, and then just 3 months ago, started dropping their windstorm and hail coverage. The timing of those companies' collective decision is eerily prescient in this January 2011 story from Daphne, AL, in which a customer is told her wind and hailstorm coverage would be dropped in March 2011 - a little over a month before many Alabama residents would need that coverage. News

God help the tornado victims and grant them the strength and resolve to obtain the compensation they are justly owed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Concept of the Day: DOUBLE STANDARD

Hey kids! Today's concept is: DOUBLE STANDARD. As in, "The Republicans seem to espouse a double standard when judging private sector and government sector finances."

The piece What's Good Enough for GE is Good Enough for the United States argues the point that S&P's downgrading of the U.S.'s credit rating was widely met with snorts and chuckling. Why?
Still, it’s true that federal debt held by the public has reached 60 percent of GDP, while tax revenues remain around 20 percent of GDP. 60 percent of GDP is a lot! And double, nearly triple, tax revenue! What would we call a company with outstanding debt double or even triple its revenues, and expected to keep the highest bond rating?

We would call it General Electric. As recently as 2007, GE had an S&P rating of AAA with outstanding debt at over three time revenues...

Even Transocean, which operated the Deepwater Horizon rig for BP, managed an A- rating prior to the spill, with a debt-revenue ratio similar to what the federal government has now. [J.W. Mason, New Deal 2.0]

We all know the conservative mantra, spouted ad nauseum from our Gret Stet of Looziana to the congressional halls of the Beltway: "Government should be run like a business!" As it turns out, the government is already run like a business. So thank you, Republicans. Your work here is done. You can all step down from your lives of public service now and go home.