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Oregon Measure 42
It's election time, and I would be negligent if I didn't have anything to say about the ballot measures. Let's start with Measure 42:
As an advocate of freedom, including the freedom of contract, I am resolutely opposed to this measure. It is wrong for the government to intrude on a company's pricing policies; they simply have no right to do it.
The voter's pamphlet included five arguments in favor of the measure, four of which were from the author of the measure, Bill Sizemore. Let's start with the other one, from Loren Parks.
The only "argument" in this argument is an Argument from Personal Incredulity:
Strange… I have the opposite intuition. I would be surprised if there wasn't a correlation between credit score and insurance risk, because common factors influence both. A person whose is responsible with money is more likely to be responsible with their property and their health, which implies a lower insurance risk. And I believe this extends to things like automobile accident rates; people who have a greater degree of personal responsibility are more likely to avoid dangerous situations.
The most interesting argument for the measure is the third, with the heading "Credit Scoring is Anti-Free Market". I'll respond to it line-by-line.
Beware anyone who says they are "normally" something good. They're admitting in that same breath that right now, they're something bad.
Who is he addressing? I would argue that "free market conservatives" are mythical creatures, but for Bill claiming he is one. And if he's a free market conservative, I don't want to have anything to do with free market conservatives. They should be more honest, drop the "free market" act, and simply go by "conservatives". A true free market advocate advocates freedom in markets, not "competition". Worship not these false idols and so on and so forth.
This is true. And the best solution is for government to stop requiring us to buy such products. Otherwise, you'll get an object lesson in how one interference with the free market leads to additional interference. Always in the name of the public good, of course!
Bill volunteers another example of how government has already interfered in this market. In addition to requiring people to buy insurance, it also places restrictions on the seller's freedom to set prices. And now he's proposing a third!
A skeptic like me would point out that the anti-competitive moats he's complaining about exist because of the restriction on the insurance companies' abilities to set prices. If they were free to raise the rates of current customers' existing policies, and actually did so, it would restore the customer's incentive to shop around.
Wrong. It's the law that punishes customers for shopping around or switching companies. But Bill Sizemore promises to fix the unintended, undesired consequences of the law with … another law! Which certainly won't have any unintended consequences. Certainly not like that previous law's. Absolutely, guaranteed. We definitely won't need any legal tweaks a few years from now.
Credit scores are honest, meaningful grounds to factor into premiums. Measure 42 should be voted down.