Zweifel uncovers the Ghost of Scooter Past in Walker budget
Something I knew about — but never paid much attention to – is a little-known state life insurance program that was established a century ago which offers low face-value policies to Wisconsin residents and is not allowed to advertise. Dave Zweifel of the CapTimes writes about it today.
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“The fund costs Wisconsin government nothing, but operates off investing the premiums paid by the 30,000-plus state residents who hold policies with face values ranging from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000. The fund, which isn’t well-known because it is forbidden from doing any advertising, nevertheless earns dividends that substantially reduce the insureds’ premium costs plus build cash values that policyholders can cash in if events in their lives make it prudent to do so.
In 2010, the State Life Fund sold 146 new policies with $69,000 in new premiums. The plan is totally self-supporting and continually runs a surplus. It requires no extra workers in the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. It’s a good deal for young families who want to have at least a little life insurance protection. Some cash in their policies and use the cash value to help pay for their children’s college. Older folks are known to purchase a policy to cover funeral expenses.
Yet Walker wants to freeze it in place come July 1 and close it to further purchases.
It’s a blatant giveaway to the private insurance industry, which has long bristled at the existence of the fund, insisting that it be “socialized insurance.” It has tried without success for several decades to get it killed. The most recent attack on it came from dishonored former state Rep. Scott Jensen of Waukesha, himself an insurance industry shill. Even Tommy Thompson’s Republican administration wouldn’t go along with Jensen’s scheme to close it down.”
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You can read the entire piece here: http://tinyurl.com/48jb433 — (and you should.) Among other things, it will give you contact information if you want one of the policies, which run from $1,000 to $10,000 in face value. The policies tend to be a lot better deal than the stuff sold on television, through newspaper inserts, in magazines, or with direct mail advertising. One of the reasons is that the premiums don’t include the substantial costs of advertising inherent in the other products — or profit, for that matter. Remember, the door will be slamming on this thing soon. (You can find it on the state website here: http://oci.wi.gov/slif.htm .)
It’s just another obscure little “Wisconsin’s Open for Business” provision in Governor Walker’s legislation that comes off looking a lot like the Grinch grabbing the last can of Who Hash in the Dr. Suess classic (and yes, it really is the Ghost of Scooter Past.)
Why does he do stuff like this? Well, because like a lot of other things in the legislation that Governor Walker has pushed since taking office just two months ago, it’s not really about the general welfare and best interests of all Wisconsin citizens. And that is why the polls already show that instead of the traditional “honeymoon” that is typical for a new governor, this fellow would be tossed from office by a comfortable margin if last November’s election was held today.