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ODE: Quite Possibly Suffering From A Dissociative Disorder

Why am I blogging about student journalism from 2100 miles away at 3:30am local time? Because I start a night job at 3:30am Wednesday and the only way I’m going to be prepared is staying up all night and sleeping tomorrow afternoon. Stay in school kids, because you might need a job moving boxes one day.

In any case, what I find most interesting is that the Ol Dirty’s editorial board has decided to endorse Measure 38 while the columnists all say they’ll “Play it SAIF“. Now, I live in Texas so it’s not like this will affect me one way or the other, but I find it pretty hilarious. I’ve included money lines from each columnist’s bit below the cut.

Chuck Slothower:

It may be Oregon’s most corrupt, poorly run state institution. But it would be a shame if Oregon voters let an insurance company tell them how to run their public policy.

You see there, Chuck, the Oregon voters will decide for themselves how to run public policy, that’s why there’s a vote. SAIF isn’t accountable to voters at all, so it’s not like they currently have a choice in the matter.

Travis Willse:

But these questions and others, coupled with the benefits of better private competition, prescribe the state’s eventual withdrawal from the insurance market. However, the measure’s provisions aren’t sufficiently specific to convince me that its passage wouldn’t do more harm than good during the upcoming years. Vote a (reserved) no on Measure 38.

My first question is just how one votes a “reserved no” on anything. Voting is a binary (trinary if you count not voting at all) there, Trav, so it’s not like you can vote “no, but….” I can understand being wary of unintended consequences, but I’ve yet to see a compelling case for government monopoly over private-sector monopoly or oligopoly.

Jennifer McBride:

SAIF may not be perfect, but it’s good for Oregon. Over the past 14 years, workers’ compensation rates have not gone up, while prices in other states, such as Washington and California, have. A loss of competitiveness resulting from increasing rates will drive away jobs from Oregon and worsen our state woes.

If rates haven’t gone up, but costs clearly have, where does the money come from? That’s right, taxes! You see, Jen, in the real world the government has to get its money by squeezing the taxpayers for more, remember Measure 28 from last year? So if SAIF goes, then taxes could go down. That’s not likely, but at least they won’t have to go up further to subsidize the increasing costs of workers comp (as much of it is medical in nature, we can all agree that the cost of payouts is going up; there’s virtually no debate on the current direction of healthcare costs).

Ailee Slater:

Companies such as Measure 38’s biggest supporter, Liberty Northwest, have internal problems similar to those of SAIF; yet the difference is that these problems will never be solved by for-profit private insurers.

I can see Miss Slater hasn’t yet completed the eight hours of Econ required for the J-school. The thing about a private insurer is that they have incentives to fix exactly the same problems that plague SAIF, as those sorts of problems cause waste and loss of profit. Unlike government, private insurers are accountable to the bottom line. There’s no reason to expect that SAIF would be reformed, because the folks running SAIF don’t care about inefficiencies, they can always just get a bigger check next biennium. The thing about high-risk employers is an interesting point, I guess, but supposing they do have to pay a higher rate, the tax trade-off mentioned above makes the net effect nebulous at best. Further, “aboloshing inefficient state-run agency leads to unemployment” isn’t exactly a likely headline just from, you know, a basic understanding of macroeconomics.

So, because the ODE columnists are such fools, I’d vote yes on 38. Maybe that’s a silly way to determine how to vote, but santaria is frowned upon these days and I’m fresh out of midgets to toss.

  1. Timothy says:

    And now you’re bitter and unhappy apart? Life is so sad, so very sad.

  2. Meghann says:

    hell yeah Tyler. Never forget our McDonald’s roots. We were bitter and unhappy together way before we started working in journalism. 🙂

  3. Tyler says:

    Meghann is on my shit list, too!

    Damn her. Damn her straight to hell!!!! She never once told management at McDonald’s to give me a raise. This, I believe, is inexcusable, as I was clearly the best employee there. These feelings have been festering for a year now. Sometimes they keep me up at night. I’ll awaken from a listless sleep, drenched in sweat and screaming: “Why wouldn’t Meghann Cunniff go to bat for me? Why, God, why?”

    For the record, my shitlist also includes: Everybody who has ever worked at or patronized Tilt at the Gateway Mall; most people I don’t know personally; my neighbors; God; Osama Bin Laden; Chevy Chase; and Popeye.

    You’re in good company, Meghann.

  4. Timothy says:

    They might have, but I was trying to reference the Val Kilmer classic “Top Secret”, but as I don’t speak German I couldn’t put the joke in its original context.

  5. Melissa says:

    Oh, and just for the sake of blogging…..

    Bush wins. Neener neener neener, nah nah nah!
    Campus will be a riot zone.

  6. Melissa says:

    I thought MonkeyWard’s went bankrupt.

    No ‘ard feelings, Meg dearie. You know I’m just razzin’ ya.

    And be nice to Mike. He’s the best boss I’ve ever/will ever have.

  7. Timothy says:

    Well be warned, I’m putting you on the Montgomery Ward mailing list.

  8. Meghann says:

    Meh, my number’s easily obtainable, I’m not too worried. Just thought I’d drop in and let you cats know I read this. Looking forward to Back to the Booze!

  9. melissa says:

    ooh. A challenge. I emailed you. It’s safer than phone numbers. But I’ll try not to put you on any phone solicitations lists…

  10. Timothy says:

    You just posted your phonenumber on the internet…good lord I hope that’s not your real phone number.

  11. Meghann says:

    Hmm…I’ve never been on someone’s shit list before. What exactly does that entail, Melissa? Give me a call and let me know! 541-953-9346

  12. Melissa says:

    One of the biggest beefs I have with Oregon is the fact that they don’t have accessable state disability benefits. You have to be blind, deaf, and either missing all of your limbs or be a quadripleigic with multiple-personality disorder to get help when you really can’t work.

    I know that has little/nothing to do with 38. But still.

  13. Sho says:

    There are two reasons I voted against 38.

    One, their people never got back to me after I called them 4 or 5 times to try to get info on workers’ comp rates in Oregon compared to other states.

    Second, I don’t like that Liberty Insurance, and out-of-state company, is the biggest funder of the Yes on 38 campaign.

    And if taxpayer money is going to help my dad pay for cheap workers’ comp for his employees, well at least that’s one good thing that state taxes have done for him.

  14. Melissa says:

    Meghann Cuniff is on my shit list right now.

    And lucky me, I’ll never be anything above a contributor. I’ll still have a life come June. But that doen’t keep me from shaking my fist in frustration at the ODE.

  15. Timothy says:

    Being the OC’s editor for a year would make you obsessed with campus reporting too, trust me.

  16. Melissa says:

    ooooh. Italics. I skip everything anyone in the ODE has to say, Timothy The Texan, because I know how purely imbecilic and insipid they are. Their reporters can’t even write a decent straight story… what makes them think they have any place telling people how to vote?

  17. Andy D says:

    Thanks Tim! Those were pretty sweet….Now I really know why the suicide rates in college jump: they probably have the highest concentrations of morons that anyone will ever be exposed to.

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