Monday, November 10, 2008

No Insurance? No Problem.

Here’s the problem with what I consider a leftward drift in our country: it does away with boundaries. And clearly, life needs boundaries. Without boundaries, there can be no definition. And without definition, well, then what?

You see, somewhere along the way, there have to be requirements. There has to be discipline, and things that must be done, and rules, and winners and losers. Otherwise, there is nothingness.

Part of the problem I have with the whole illegal alien thing is about boundaries and discipline. Look I want everyone in the world who admires freedom and the right to succeed to be able to come here and live the American Dream. I just think they should have the same responsibilities and requirements for that dream that I had to pay: taxes and citizenship.

But we as a society seem to keep slipping closer and closer to this amorphous world of “don’t worry be happy”...take what you want. No charge. No problem.

Didn’t get your homework done? No problem, there are no grades, just stars for various levels of effort. We wouldn’t want anyone to be left out or feel bad because they didn’t achieve at the level of their neighbor.

Don’t want to practice hard to be a champion? No sweat—literally. Everyone gets a trophy for coming out. Heck, we don’t even keep score~!

Don't want to save up money for a down payment on a home or car? Want to drive that car without insurance or financial responsibility for the damage you cause? No problem of the free...especially when it comes to insurance.

Two weeks ago my daughter was involved in a collision while driving to class at Indiana University. The other driver—in addition to making an illegal left turn into traffic—was uninsured. $9000 worth of damage to Alex’s car later…we are left to deal with the loss of a car for three weeks, the hassles of getting it fixed, and oh yeah—our insurance rates going up.

Did I mention that this is the fourth uninsured accident to come upon my family in the past three years? None of them our fault. None of the other motorists insured. State Farm even CANCELLED us after the third of these occurred with my wife.

“But sir, none of them were her fault…”

“Yes, but they were all uninsured motorists, so they went against your claim record…sorry. You have 30 days to find new insurance.”

To date, uninsured motorists have inflicted over $30,000 worth of damage to Hoover family cars.

Which begs the question: why should you have to produce proof of insurance when you plate a car or get your license, if it doesn’t matter at the time of your accident?

The very first one of these that happened to my wife was laughable: a woman with a suspended personal license, driving an old Ford pickup which was not registered, did not have side mirrors, and had a piece of plywood where the back window was supposed to be...suddenly throws the truck into reverse and starts backing up. I’d say she did this without looking, but given that she had no mirrors and a piece of wood where the back window was supposed to be—that would be somewhat redundant, wouldn’t it? So she slams into my wife. The police show up, issue citations to the woman, and then, listen carefully here…LET THE WOMAN DRIVE OFF IN THIS TRUCK. NO LICENSE…NO INSURANCE…NON-REGISTERED VEHICLE…WITH NO MIRRORS AND NO WAY OF LOOKING BACKWARDS OUT OF THE VEHICLE.

Good God…

So, when these times come along and I feel grumpy and cranky and whine about us having no discipline as a society anymore, I just wanted you to know where I was coming from.

Operating a car is not an inalienable right. And neither is you costing me more money because you don’t want to fulfill your obligation and responsibility when it comes to operating a motor vehicle.

I miss discipline. And the trappings of a society that held us accountable when we got outside the boundaries. And you know, I really miss the boundaries too.


Alexandra Hoover said...

All things considered it's a miracle I did not spend the five minutes prior to police arrival ranting and screaming obscenities at this gangsta hoodlum who crashed into my precious little princess. At least THESE cops had some sense...

Ron Newlin said...

Yeah, I got totaled by an uninsured driver last year myself, so I know what you're talking about. But how does all this constitute a "leftward drift”? I remember when it was required in Indiana for cars to undergo an annual inspection, performed by local service stations, but mandated by the State. How does the elimination of this government intrusion into our lives qualify as “leftward’?
I agree that there’s been a tremendous move away from accountability in our society, but I don’t see it in left-right, blue-red, Dem-Rep terms. Indeed, what’s been more damaging to the ideal of discipline than the growth of the federal government, not at the expense of current taxpayers, but at the expense of future taxpayers? We’ve been living on credit cards ever since 1981. Reagan/Bush inherited a trillion dollar debt that represented 32% of our Gross Domestic Product (a quarter of it left over from WWII, 10% of it traceable to The Great Society, and 2/3 of it accumulated under Nixon and Carter), and more than quadrupled it in 12 years – increasing our debt to 66% of our GDP. Clinton – with assists from Newt Gingrich and Bill Gates – “only” increased the debt by a trillion dollars, but reduced it as a percentage of our growing economy. In the past 8 years, we’ve almost doubled the debt again, from $5.6 trillion to $10 trillion; and we’re back to owing 65% of everything we make in a year. I don’t see how the “left” is responsible for the fact that, as a nation, we’ve essentially gone from being a $30,000 household with $10,000 in credit card debt, to being a $130,000 household with $100,000 of credit card debt. I think those fiscal policies are at least as much a part of the problem as the church baseball league giving out trophies to every player on the t-ball team.

Hoov said...

Thanks for respoding Ron. Let me see if I can clarify where I was coming from for you.

First off, I draw a big distinction between "government intrusion" and financial accountability...and I don't mean the latter in the sense of budgets and deficits. Government intrusion in terms of spending? I hate it! And I definitely want less government when it comes to telling me what radio I can listen to!

But government intrusion in terms of safety and rules for financial obligation? This society would run amok without it.

If you consider having to have liability insurance to operate a car "government intrusion", what about speed limits? Is the government intruding when they tell me I can't drive my 'Vette 145 mph on Newburgh Road? How about when they tell me I can't set fire to my neighbor's house, or just take $1500 worth of tools out of his garage? Is that government intrusion? As I view it, these uninsured motorists have stolen over $6000 from me--that's how much more I've paid for my car insurance in the last three years than I was paying when the first hit occurred. And that doesn't include getting cancelled by my carrier of over 20 years (State Farm).

I very much consider it a leftward philosophy that people "deserve" the right of driving a car without having to be financially accountable for any damage they may cause. Just like I think it's left-leaning that we should allow illegal aliens to have a license to operate a vehicle. And just like I think it's left-leaning to allow them to be here at all without paying taxes or being on the grid.

I agree with your argument about the budget deficits; but I don't remember going there in my initial post. For the record, I hold ALL elected officials--right, left or middle--accountable for the spending mess we've created.

As for church baseball: every player on that t-ball team SHOULD get a trophy!; if they win... ;-P

John Ettinger said...

Greg, I don't think there was a break down in the laws but perhaps a breakdown in the enforcement of the laws.

The state of Indiana requires a motorist to have insurance. If you are caught without insurance your license is suspended for 90 days. If it happens twice in a year's time, the suspension goes to a year. Driving with no license or a suspended license also carries penalties. The laws are in place.

The problem is that people will always try to break or bend the rules. That problem has been around for quite a long time.

Another problem is the selective enforcement of rules and laws. Again, this problem is not a new thing.

I agree with Ron that this situation is not a right vs. left, blue vs. red deal. It's a matter of people dodging responsibility and that happens amongst every category of political persuasion you can name.