Politics & Prejudices
The GOP’s toxic agenda
… and the ‘moderate’ governor who won’t stand up to it
Published: April 4, 2012
The deaths aren't the big problem for the rest of us; the injuries are. Some survivors will rack up millions of dollars in health care costs.
Even if you never go near a motorcycle, you will pay in terms of higher health care costs. The insurance industry pleaded with the Legislature not to repeal the helmet law.
Normally, the lawmakers do double backflips to please insurers. But this time, they had to answer to a higher power: the liquor lobby. Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, said the helmet law was bad because helmetless bikers from other states wouldn't roar across our borders to buy booze, and, even worse, "Michigan's own cyclists leave the state and take their business elsewhere."
Well, I imagine encouraging helmetless riders to buy and consume alcohol as they drive might be pleasing to Zero Population Growth. Few of the completely brain-dead produce children.
But it is poor public policy. Nevertheless, the lawmakers rolled over for the liquor lobby, which, I'm sure by pure coincidence, contributes a lot to their campaigns. They repealed the helmet law.
The Senate at first voted to require helmetless riders to buy $100,000 in extra insurance. Twice. Then, under pressure, they changed their vote. They did, however, require them to purchase an extra $20,000. If the Republicans carefully considered this, they would realize they just did exactly what they say is outrageous about President Obama's health plan: Mandating someone to buy insurance!
Gerry Hoffmann of Kalamazoo used to ride a motorcycle, and hated and protested the helmet law. That is, till he woke up in the middle of a highway, his bike destroyed, his helmet chipped up, but his brains intact. He wrote to the governor last week:
"Please do not sign the helmet law. The only thing that saved my life was that helmet. If you sign the helmet law, you will be signing the death warrant of many, many bikers," Hoffmann wrote.
Snyder was left with a choice. Save lives or please the liquor lobby. How he decides will tell us a lot about him.
Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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