Archive for August, 2006

death and taxes

August 29, 2006

They say that we all face the same eventuality, i.e. death and taxes.  The grim reality is that we cannot escape either, though it seems that there is a more concentrated effort to prolong life than to abolish taxes.  Which is kind of a two edged sword.  We may someday cheat death but in the doing  we are thereby prolonging taxes.  It is a vicious circle.

In the good old days a home buyer took out a 30 year mortgage, made his payments and within the span of his working life paid the house off free and clear then retired.  It was called the American Dream, because after the war (the big one, WWII) all those veterans came home to a bustling economy and the GI bill.  Every working class family moved up in status, becoming homeowners thanks to the federal government.  It was a good partnership, happy taxpayers meant a strong, decisive government.  But something happened along the way, the servant became the master and now a man’s home is not his castle.  The walls have been breached, the dragon is loose.

Here in Florida the economy has been on a swoon as of late, in the span of a year a booming market has fallen and with that comes less construction.  Less construction means less work and so the job market begins to fluctuate.  No work means no money and no money leaves unpaid bills and unpaid taxes.  The working class can’t pay the rising costs of insurance (another favorite subject of mine) and taxes, because homes are assessed at the market price of last year and not the continually lowering price of this year and the years to come.  The vultures come in to capitalize on the unpaid tax bills and pick up some nice bargains along the way.  Miraculously the economy seemingly doesn’t dip all that much.  But Harry Homeowner struggles and may fall, the dream now a hallow one. 

Or by a little bit of luck and a second job, a wife that also must work, Harry makes his 30 years and retires.  Whew!  That was a close call, Harry.  A lot of people in the neighborhood didn’t make it.  But you persevered and beat the odds.  Raised a family, paid your taxes and satisfied your mortgage lender.  You’re now on easy street and nobody can take away what you’ve worked so hard for all your life.  Or can they?

The government has decided that the run down neighborhood you stayed in all this time is now better suited for a shopping center.  They want to change it into commercial instead of residential property.  After all, the tax revenue now is much greater than what it was when you moved in.  Eminent Domain is what they call it and Harry… your castle has been sold at “fair” market value.

But it could have been worse for ol’ Hare.  Imagine he moved into an area that was not only being developed as a residential neighborhood, it was barely being formed as a town.  Back in the late sixties you could hardly give the property away, but Harry saw the potential as a younger man and invested in the future.  Now that he has reached retirement, it appears that his investment has paid off, the area has grown now… well over a hundred thousand people.  Harry saw it coming and now he beams with pride when people talk of his farsightedness, his knack for being in the right place at the right time.  But did I mention that the bustling city of Cape Coral, Florida has now levied a twenty two thousand dollar charge for water and sewer?  Now you are required to hook up to their new system.  (and that doesn’t include the cost off connecting to the controversial project.)  Don’t worry if you can’t pull the funds out of your cookie jar, Harry, the local government will just put a lien on your property.  Your public servant at work.

Hey, it could be worse.  The oldest person in America died yesterday, she was 116.  Imagine all the taxes she paid in HER lifetime!

  

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February

August 27, 2006

Odd month, February.  a month that can’t seem to make up it’s mind.  It is the shortest month of the year but tries to be a competitor by sticking a 29th day in there from time to time just to keep us on our toes.  And what is it about being born on the 29th, anyway?  Does it mean you only turn a year older once every four years or do you have to fudge and celebrate on the 28th of February or the 1st of March.  Can you imagine dating a girl who was born on the 29th of February?  You’d have to remember two dates just to be safe.  But if your gift didn’t make that good of an impression on the 28th I guess you could produce the REAL gift on the 1st.  Like I said, February keeps you on your toes.

February is a cold, brutal month at times, and yet there can be whispers of spring in the air as well.  There is an odd little ritual in American lore called Groundhog Day that actually flips the coin of seasons to announce whether it will be an early spring or six more weeks of winter.  Silly little rodent, hasn’t he ever heard the rhyme, “April showers bring May flowers”?  Could have saved him a lot of embarrassment if he’d have paid attention in grade school.

Washington and Lincoln were born in February.  We used to set both birthdays aside as worthy of note, but now we wrap them up into one holiday and call it Presidents Day.  It is a little confusing to me, though.  Are we honoring presidents born in February or all the presidents ever born?  And what if the president was kinda crummy, shouldn’t he be delegated to a birthday month of less honor than that of Honest Abe and Lonesome George?  Maybe just make it a national holiday in Texas or something like that?  Yep, February keeps you on your toes.

Another distinction for the month of February is the birth of Charles Darwin.  You remember him, the author of “The Origin of the Species” and other fairy tales.  He’s the guy who said if you cut the toes off of a million mice eventually they will all be born without toes.  Funny thing about theories, they sometimes get projected as fact without proof.  I guess if something gets a political following and sticks around long enough people begin to believe it.

So I know what your thinking… why are we talking about February at the end of August?  It has been a rather hot month here in sunny Florida, perhaps just the thought of a frigid, icy month back in Iowa can temper the heat here, if only psychologically.  Hurricane season will be long gone by then, tourists and winter residents will be jammin’ the highways, malls and restaurants.  All those pesky little holidays will have passed (yes, even Valentines Day, sigh).  We’ll be well into 2007 by then and closing in on the first decade of the new millenium, which isn’t all that new anymore if you think in used car terms.  Just about time to trade it in.  Thinking ahead to all the unique possibilities helps to pass the time away and… it keeps you on your toes.

the rock and roll conspiracy

August 26, 2006

Lets pretend that the fictionalized account you are about to read never really happened…

What would you do if you were a pivotal figure in government, say… the president and there was social unrest amongst the masses?  Not only that, but it seemed the media was also turning against your policies, views and perhaps even your moral integrity.  What if the war the country was involved in (the one in which you said you had a secret plan for victory during your political campaign) suddenly became a “quagmire”, “a stalemate”, or “unpopular” with the populace?  And support against your political career began to grow? And the people started coming together;  happily, apolitically, bipartisan… against you?

The Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 was held at the zenith of what has been called the Summer of Love.  It involved some of the biggest names in entertainment history almost exclusively made up of anti-war enthusiasts.  Behind the scenes organizing the event were members of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.  It was the first of its kind and involved over 200,000 people.  So successful was it that there were no crimes of violence reported, no drug overdoses, no arrests.  In fact the chief of police was quoted as saying that he had encountered more problems in PTA meetings.  As support grew for the participants before, during and after the festival by the young, socially conscious people opposed to the status quo;  government officials took notice. 

Here were rock stars with millions of adoring fans speaking out against the war, against the political machine, against the authority of government.  Rock and roll was mobilizing it’s listeners all over the world to take charge by peaceful, benevolent means.  There was a movement to make a change in society so that future generations would not learn war anymore.  The Devil’s music had a cause after all, much to the chagrin of the powers that be who tried to discredit it.

Shortly after Monterey, Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash in Wisconsin just shy of his 27th birthday.  He was one of the performers at Monterey and headed for a blossoming career before his untimely death.

Brian Jones, one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones and a key figure behind Monterey, died on July 3rd, 1969.  He was 27 years old.

Jimi Hendrix, who made his American debut at Monterey, died on Sept. 18th, 1970.  He was 27 years old.

Janis Joplin, who was catapulted to super star status because of Monterey, died shortly thereafter on Oct. 4th, 1970.  She was also 27.

Were all these tragic deaths just an amazing coincidence or were they somehow tied to some Monterey Pop Festival vendetta by political opponents?

LMW 28IF is probably the most famous license plate in history.  (Linda McCartney Weeps.  28 years old IF he had lived.)  Were the rumors surrounding Paul McCartney’s death just a hoax designed to stimulate the public with free publicity?  Or was it an attempt to outwit the authorities and bring out into the open an attempt on his life that now would be thwarted because of media scrutiny?  Paul was 27 at the time, and also on the board that helped organize the Monterey Pop Festival.

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, another board member for Monterey, suffered a mild nervous breakdown around 1969 that nearly ended his career, was also just 27 years old at the time.  Still a coincidence?

The thing about conspiracy theories beyond the what if…? mentality is the thought process that goes into them in the first place.  There is a labyrinth of different leads, evidence and thoughts as to what happened and why to those sixties icons that were introduced into an irony that no one could have foretold.  The 27 club.

Jim Morrison, though not a part of Monterey, died on the second anniversary of Brian Jones death, (talk about an amazing coincidence)  July 3rd, 1971.  He was 27.   His long time girlfriend, Pamela Courson (who found Morrison dead in his bathtub) died a few years later of a heroin overdose, she also was 27.

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, died of a self inflicted gunshot wound in 1994 and was, you guessed it,  only 27 years old.

Yes, the government has kept an eye on rock stars, from Elvis and John Lennon to Bono and Dave Matthews.  Has there been an effort to silence them as a national security risk?  As long as we have the freedom of speech, the freedom to inquire, the freedom to speculate and the freedom of expression whether on paper, media or the Internet… what is the harm in asking?  If the answer is in the ridiculous venue, are we afraid of the ridiculous?  I don’t think so.  Or if somewhere out there is the remote point of possibility to that of which we inquire… are we afraid of that admission?

“Have you seen your brother, baby, standing in the shadows?”  the Rolling Stones.

you, me and the Man upstairs (grandfathering Pluto)

August 25, 2006

I enjoy watching the laundry cycling in the washer.  Ever since I was a kid I have imagined all sorts of drama unfolding (a little unintentional laundry joke there) as each bit of fabric is whirled, pulled and sucked into an abyss of detergent water and soiled garments.  No doubt you have pondered as I have why we end up with 27 socks at the end of our sentence in laundromat hell, or what item that we have never worn (or even knew we owned) turned our underwear pink.  Odd things like that make having clean clothing an adventure in our modern society and yet we aren’t too much different from the forgotten pilgrims of the past scrubbing broadcloth against the rocks.  They, too, must have agonized at the futility in the collection of lint.

You have to wonder if the Man upstairs looks down upon us like we are in a giant washing machine.  Adding bleach, borax or fabric softner, balancing the load or trying to compensate for human stains, is He casually thumbing through an outdated magazine as we go through another cycle of delicate rinse?   Set into motion as we are, back and forth… agitated… spinning in circles, in the grand scheme of things will we ever come clean?

There are much grander things in the universe to consider than whether Pluto fits the planetary description mold.  After some 70 years of record should Pluto be demoted to a chunk of ice status?  Hasn’t it acquired galactic squatters rights or at the very least an honorable mention?  I mean, we call them the Great Lakes but really aren’t they oceans by every definition of the word?  Couldn’t tomatoes be classified as fruit?  Is Greenland really all that green?  Should Paris Hilton be called an actress?  Before we get hung out to dry by irate Plutotians I think it is time we face the real issue here.  We are shrinking as a species.

We keep trying to improve, wringing out the old… but the truth is we are not masters of the universal side by side appliances.  We dirty things, we meddle, we confuse… but like our ancestors scrubbing away at a nearby stream it isn’t the cleaning that preoccupies  our lives but the tarnishing of our very souls. 

I say let Pluto be a planet if for no other reason than to mark a progression of understanding.  Way out there in the fringes of our solar system, Pluto acts as a sentry for the other multi-faceted, unique little orbs revolving around our sun.  Our sun… lighting the way, warming us and providing a center point for 9 predominate planets that have held us in awe and inspired generations.  We should not step back for political, scientific or social correctness.  Pluto, the furthest, smallest and coldest planet known to man… with an asterisk. 

No worse for the wear, it all comes out in the wash and welcome to the fold. 

surfin’ U. S. A. (an internet sing-a-long)

August 20, 2006

If everybody had a PC

across the U.S.A.,

then everybody’d be surfin’

through the night and day.

you’d see them carryin’ laptops,

cell phones and blackberrys, too.

a bushy bushy blonde google

surfin’ U.S.A.

You’d catch them surfin’ at bus stops

while they stand in line,

coffee houses and book stores

at Hollywood and Vine.

All over Manhattan

down Key Largo way.

All the geeks have gone surfin’

surfin’ U.S.A.

We’ll all be jammin’ that route

and be crashin’ real soon,

we text message each other

“have you seen what is new?”

we’ll all be goin’ to the tech show 

new models on display.

what better way to be surfin’

surfin’ U.S.A. 

movie theatres and restrooms

restaurants and classrooms,

at the mall and libraries

in the church’s pews.

All over the highway

channel 26 news.

yeah, everybody’s gone surfin’

surfin’ U.S.A.

we’ve gone internet surfin’

surfin’ U.S.A.

a quarters worth of free advice

August 14, 2006

I hate best of lists.  They always come out wrong.  I watch programs that supposedly have the 100 best songs, best recipes, best albums, best automobiles and the like but I am continually disappointed.  Who are these people polling anyway?  Case in point, AFI’s 100 funniest films.

I have the utmost respect for the American Film Institute, I just don’t think they have a sense of humor.  I don’t know the ground rules as to how certain movies got a thumbs up while others received a thumbs down or perhaps no thumb at all but as I look over their list of the top 100 funniest films I can only say one thing… I beg to differ.

Now when I think funny I think not is it funny once or twice…  but everytime I see it?  I know this must sound weird but I laugh at the same parts every time I see “What About Bob?” and I have seen it literally dozens of times.  “What About Bob?” has got to be comedic genius at it’s finest.  And the ironic thing is, the first time I saw it I really didn’t soak it all in.  It was after the third or forth time when I finally got the humor and I have howled every since.

“Back to the Future” was another movie that I enjoyed the first time out, but after I saw it again I realized it was an immediate classic.  Not only did I see it repeatedly and laugh everytime, but it contains some of the best movie quotes in my family’s lexicon.  One sentence from that movie placed at the appropriate time can change the spirit of the of the moment, or reinforce it.

“Parenthood” didn’t make the list either, and while it had some bittersweet moments there are still some very funny parts that would put it on my list of funniest films.  I loved Jim Carrey in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”(even if I watch it in the summertime) but it too was ignored.  And no “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”?  What about those Martin and Lewis films, especially “Partners” or “Hollywood or Bust”? 

Now in all fairness most of the films selected were funny and ones that I’d have put in my list, if I were to create such a thing.  “Groundhog Day”, “Blazing Saddles”, “Ghostbusters” and “Young Frankenstein” always make me stop channel surfing and watch no matter what part I come in on.  I loved “Tootsie” and “Big” and “Airplane!”  I’m a big fan of all Hope and Crosby films, as well as Abbott and Costello.  The  3 Stooges should be placed in a time capsule and opened 100 years from now.   And if I were stuck on a desert island with only 25 films for my collection you can be sure that “The Jerk” would be among my choices.  Cary Grant had great timing, as did Jimmy Stewart.  Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and Kevin Costner are great at being funny either with a word or an expression.

I guess what irks me is the fact that sometimes the world doesn’t laugh with me and that is still okay.  I sense my sense of humor may appear to be nonsense to others and I generally accept that as well.  But when my favorites don’t make the mainstream of what the experts call the “best”, the “top of the list” or the “finest” I begin to wonder if I am normal…  and maybe that is okay, too.  We are, afterall, different and should be celebrating our differences.  And to quote Steve Martin from the movie “Roxanne” (which also didn’t make the list)…

“Laugh, and the world laughs with you.  Sneeze and it’s goodbye Seattle!”

Suffice it to say that funny always is and never changes… it is in the hearing that induces the laughter and there is nothing wrong with my ears.  I believe humor resonates in our hearts and is always ready to tickle our reflexes.  Some just need more prodding.

the suave shower stall singer

August 12, 2006

People say I take a long shower but I don’t think that is true.  I just like to make sure that I am clean so I wash, after all… that is why I am there in the first place.  Of course, I sing in the shower and that may be why it seems longer to others. 

Perhaps if I took requests the time would go by faster but as it is I have a mental (I don’t mean that in a derogatory way) list that seems to play out in my head at random.  Like every song I have ever heard somehow rotates through my conscientiousness at blazing speed and begs me to do my warbling best to wail at the top of my lungs.  (Well, maybe not quite THAT loud, but I have to be heard above the raging torrents of water that swirl about me so… it is up there).  Like just the other day I was singing “24 Hours From Tulsa” and I know no earthly reason why.

You would think that because of the environment I was surrounded by I’d be gushing  “Splish splash I was taking a bath…” or  “Rubber ducky, you’re the one…” but no, I might bellow out some power ballad like Journey’s, “Faithfully” or even Black Oak Arkansas’,  “Lord have mercy on my soul…”  My song selections are a merry cartwheel of rock star rarities that would make any Time Life or K-Tel producer green with envy.  There is only one logical explanation that I can think of for why I am compelled to take center stage American Idol style (I am not endorsing that program, ugh!) in the shower stall and bless the world with my vocal prowess.  I feel good.

But there again, I am naked.  I don’t know if Freud would approve of my blatant disregard for modesty or declare I have some complex needing expression or maybe I was just deprived as a youngster and need to place my talents on exhibition (SINGING talents, you perverts) but the acoustics in the shower stall beckon and then I lose all inhibitions.  In a nut shell… I feel good.

It is like the dawn of a new day no matter what time it is.  Set the temperature just right, lather up and rinse… all those anxieties and cares of the day just go right down the drain.  I feel like a new man and burst into song like Fred Astaire.  How can that be bad? 

I never sing in public, though.  I know I have a grand singing voice and should have been discovered long ago, but because of constantly being told not to quit my day job my confidence level needs a little bolstering.  I have quietly come to the conclusion that all the negativity surrounding my efforts is just so much envy, jealousy and  contempt that I carry on just for spite.  But never in public.  Oh, I might sing a bit at work, whistle a merry tune mowing the lawn or while driving with the top down on the Mitsubishi and listening to Bob Dylan.  (Listening to him continually gives credence to my claim)  But nothing seems to alleviate my self conscience state like isolation.  If they could place a shower stall at Madison Square Garden I know I could give a performance that folks would never forget.  (SINGING, you perverts)

I’m lean, I’m clean, I’m a singing machine.  And the reason is…  ( to put it in the words of the immortal James Brown)  I feel good.  Pass the microphone, er… soap. 

the 23rd blog

August 8, 2006

I enjoy life in the 21st century, I really do.  I look back in our history and while some pretty cool activities have been noted I can’t imagine living at any other space and time then right now.  I don’t believe in living in the past, it is over and done with… we cannot change it.  With that being said, here are some periods in history that I think would have been interesting to have witnessed.

1)  The first reaction to the words,  “Not tonight,  I have a headache.”

2)  The first time someone said, “Trust me.”  and then learn the outcome.

3)  The first song that had the phrase, “do do do” or “la la la” or “do se do” or “aiy yi yi yi” and know why the writer couldn’t fit in real words instead.

4)  To have been around when the first slang word was used and seen the people’s reaction to it.  For that matter to learn what made the first cuss word a cuss word and seen people’s reaction to it.

5)  It would have been neat to have been around when John met Paul, then George, then Ringo.

6)  It would have also been very cool to have been in a vehicle next to Elvis when he was toolin’ along in a delivery truck singing his heart out long before he was discovered.

7)  I would have loved to have met Einstein and theorized with his relatives.

8)  I would have enjoyed a conversation with Groucho Marx, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe or Humphrey Bogart but I probably would have felt more comfortable with Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart or Jacqueline Obradors.  (You’ll have to look that one up)

9)  It would have been fun to have eaten the first dish of ice cream without all the strings that go with it.

10)  They say that Sinatra was bigger than the Beatles, I would have liked to have been around then and later just to see if it were true.

11)  I would have enjoyed being with Lewis and Clark as they discovered the West.

12)  I would have enjoyed being with the Native Amercians before they discovered Lewis and Clark.

13)  I would have loved to have been on the other end of Alexander Graham Bell’s first phone call.  It would have been hysterical to have shared a party line now as a grown adult.  I would have enjoyed being able to make a call at a pay phone and been able to talk all day for a nickel. 

14)  I wonder if when the first joke was told somebody said, “I don’t get it.”

15)  I wonder if when the first “I love you” was spoken the person really meant it.

16)  And if when someone said “I’m sorry” were they really?

17)  To have known the first really extraordinary individual and seen if they had a big ego or if they just took it in stride.

18)  To have heard the first prayer by an atheist.

19)  I would have liked to have been nearby when the first A-bomb went off so I could have said, “What was that?” 

20)  I wish I could have warned Abraham, Martin, John and Bobby.

21)  Not that I wish I were rich or anything, but it would have been interesting to have been one of the original investors with AT&T, GM, McDonald Douglas or some equally influential corporation.

22)  It would be bizzare to know all the trends in fashion design history just to be able to say, “Oh, we’re bringing THAT back again?”

23)  Last but not least,  I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall and witnessed the first time my Mom met my Dad.

Now I know everybody has their own blasts from the past and as soon as I end this I’ll no doubt think of a dozen more.  Still, I enjoy the 21st century if for no other reason than to look back and be grateful for the things we had, the things we have now and those we hope for in the future.   

  

Catch 22

August 3, 2006

“The telephone is ringing… they tell me that it’s Chairman Mao.  The telephone is ringing… they say that it’s Chairman Mao.  I don’t care who it is… I just don’t wanna talk to them now.  I got the a…eyaaa-political blues.”   Little Feat.  written by Lowell George.

It is becoming more and more difficult to be apolitical… you know, not affiliated with any agenda or thought process in the realm of government.  But by now you have probably guessed that it doesn’t mean you can’t have an OPINION on certain things, even though you have no clout, influence or favor with the powers that be.  The thing is, if you do voice an objection people will undoubtably say something profound like, “Hey man, if you don’t vote… don’t squawk.”  Which seems like good advice, like don’t fart in the bathtub if you can’t take the bubbles or something equally droll as that.

I read on the internet something interesting (which may mean you have to question it’s authenticity)  (my business partner is suspicious of anything that isn’t on FOX NEWS) about the number one billion.

A billion seconds ago it was 1959

A billion minutes ago it was about the time of Christ.

A billion hours ago nobody walked upright upon the Earth.

So the next time politicians talk about billions of dollars like it is just so much confetti you get an idea what it represents in simple terms.

There was a movie out sometime ago with Alan Arkin entitled “Catch 22”.  ( a real classic, you should see it)  (yes, it is in color, sheesh!)  The story went that during WWII pilots were given so many flight missions (bombing raids) and then sent back to the States.  Except the brass kept increasing the number of missions each pilot had to fly, thereby upping the odds that they would get shot down.  The only way to get out of flight duty was insanity, but the catch 22 was that if you tried to get out of flying so many missions on account of insanity it meant that you weren’t really nuts because you grasped the gravity of the whole premise of too many missions and the ratio of success.

So I guess there is a lesson here.  If you don’t want to be a part of the system, you shouldn’t criticize it.  Sort of like…  if you don’t want to repair the road you shouldn’t  complain about the bumps.

But I keep thinking there needs to be an accountability somewhere.  That we need further scrutiny from an unbiased party, with no affliliation to anything but the truth and well being of our society.  I’m not a conspiracy theorist or anything like that.  I just think we’ve gone too far astray for any one person or government to figure out what is wrong and rein us all back in from the brink of disaster, you know?

So the catch 22 is this… like those pilots in the movie, you know that all is not good with your mission quota in life but your complaints fall on deaf ears because you can’t really be dissatisfied since you obviously have no plausible solution other wise you wouldn’t be complaining in the first place. 

So just continue to fly and keep your fingers crossed as you face the inevitable…  and pack your own ‘chute (you might fly over a neutral, apolitical refuge).

21 gun salute

August 1, 2006

Okay, I know it has been awhile since I have been here, and my dashboard proves it.  So without further ado lets talk about one of my favorite subjects: insurance.

You know, insurance is a good thing when you need it and everything goes as planned… under your insurance plan, that is.  But lately I’ve been feeling a bit blue about the whole idea behind insurance coverage, the company pay-outs, the stock holders and the federal government. 

We are required by law to carry certain insurances when we drive, do business or employ individuals.  Usually a good idea because you are not always in control of the situation and need the assurance that if something goes wrong… you’re covered.  And if something happens (through no fault of your own) either to you or the person/company at fault or not at fault, you are covered.  Of course coverages vary, for complete details, visit your lawyer. 

Say for instance (through no fault of your own) a hurricane blasts through and causes damage to your home.  Though the experience is not a pleasant one you think to yourself,  “Thank God I renewed that policy!”  But whoa! wait a minute.  You find out that (through no fault of your own) your insurance company cannot cover you either for the full sum of your damages or not at all.  They claim to the government (your servant) that they were not prepared to cover “catastrophic” conditions such as these and want to be let off the hook.  The sympathetic government agrees.  Where does that leave you?  Holding the blue tarp.

Of course you wonder, “Where did all those payments and all those millions (accumulated by thousands of policy holders like yourself) that were supposed to be for my protection go?”  Aren’t they supposed to be set up for things like interest payments to the company issuing the coverage while the lions share of funds are set aside for my protection?”  Well guess what?  Insurance is big business reaping profits for stock holders and investors so when the well runs dry… you lose.  And as costs go up (75% increase in Florida) coverages go down, and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to collect.

So you are no doubt wondering… why a 21 gun salute?  Isn’t that saved for presidents, dignitaries and the like?  Well, for years there have been repeated attempts to provide government subsidized insurance programs and yet we are no closer to fixing the problem.  Meanwhile there are people allowed to drive that have no license, insurance, jobs or skills and cause millions of dollars worth of damage annually that the average consumer must pay for.  There has to be a better way because no matter what we do, how much money is put into it or how many times the government allows it, the current insurance industry is rife with dissatisfied consumers who don’t sleep better at night because they have insurance.  Which is a shame, peace of mind shouldn’t just be a slogan.

Case in point.  A few years ago a person I know was driving a car, stopped at a stop sign and was hit by a teenage driver who careened out of control and side swiped the car.  He was attempting to turn onto the street she had travelled down before reaching the intersection.  The other driver had no insurance.  Hey, no problem… the car’s owner had “un-insured motorist” coverage, right?  Only partially.  The insurance paid for damages (the car she was driving wasn’t hers but a friend’s who was in the passenger seat.  Both people in the car were fully sober and not at fault ) but HER (the driver’s) insurance carrier increased the payments of HER policy (though no claim was made on that policy) deeming her a risk because of the accident that was not her fault.  Great system, huh?

So in my mind private insurance carriers do not have their customers best interests at heart.  It is all about the profit and the government allows it.  A nationwide carrier funded by the federal government would not be subject to the individual profit and loss columns of the private sector.  We spend billions on other things that are not directly related to the public’s interest.  But not insurance.

Three cheers for the red, white and blue cross.