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September 29, 2003

Lt. Gov. Bustamante: no-talent hack and ignorant, too!

A friend of mine in California sent me a link to this blog entry by Sacramento Bee columnist Daniel Weintraub:

In the big debate Wednesday night, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante made what might have sounded to some viewers like a creative proposal for reforming workers compensation: give safety discounts to employers with injury-free worksites. Like "good driver" discounts in auto insurance, Bustamante said, his idea would reward good behavior and penalize bad behavior, presumably leading to lower rates for firms that do the right thing.

"There's no incentive for a good workplace and a bad workplace because they get paid or they get a premium that's exactly the same amount," Bustamante said. "So if we were to provide a worker, a safe-workplace discount, and we'd be able to have an incentive for those people who are not doing a good job to do a better job, we could lower premiums on those that are good worksites and increase the premiums on those that have the bad worksites."

Amazing concept. Maybe that's why it has long been the concept at the heart of workers compensation insurance. [Emphasis added] Called "experience modification," it works like this: every company is assessed a basic rate according to its industry, based broadly on the risk involved in its work. Roofers pay a lot more than paper pushers for each dollar of payroll. But after that rating is done, it is modified by experience. Just one expensive injury claim can drive a company�s rates up dramatically, by 50 percent or more. They generally stay up for three years and then decline only if the firm is claim-free. A good safety record gets you � guess what � a discount!

Jesus!    This is a major issue in California, whose notoriously permissive (and costly) workman's comp system has been driving jobs out of the state for years, and the Lt. Governor has absolutely no idea how the current system works!

In a similar vein, James Taranto's Best of the Web reported this story on Lt. Gov. Bustamante's academic prowess:

Great Orators of the Democratic Party

Cruz Bustamante finally finished his college degree this spring. We guess that's admirable, but the Fresno Bee reports that he may have cut some corners. A Fresno State University professor gave Bustamante a C in a speech course he never attended because he decided the lieutenant governor "would have earned at least a C based on his public utterances":

"In my judgment at the time, he had certainly demonstrated minimal proficiency, and I emphasize minimal proficiency . . . in the fundamental skills mandated by the course," Robert Powell, former chairman of the communication department, said last week. He interjected: "I'm not going to make any judgment about the eloquence or anything else" of Bustamante's speeches.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it?

Is it too late to recall 'em both?

September 29, 2003 at 11:09 PM | Permalink


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