John Ransom

Somebody posted on Facebook within the last few days that over the last year 20% of Americans have sought psychiatric treatment. I have no idea whether that statistic is accurate or not, but for my money it seems a tad low.

Besides the obvious psychiatric disorders involved in electing the politicians that now rule over us, there seems to be something more deeply ingrained and long-term afoot.

And no, I’m not talking about crowds tasering each other at Christmas shopping specials on Thanksgiving Day.That kind of stuff has been going on for centuries, only the tasers are new. I’m not talking about random shootings either. That stuff is been going on too.

I’ve traveled quite a bit in this last year and I’ve noticed that auto rental companies, for example, have gotten particularly aggressive about marketing optional insurance to drivers.

In recent trips to both Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Savannah, Georgia the counter folks at both Hertz and Budget worded things in a way to create an ominous tone about declining the optional insurance.

They both said something like: “If you decline the insurance you do realize that you’ll be responsible for the FULL amount of the vehicle if something happens… and that will go down on your permanent record as recorded by the NSA?”

They were very nice about it when the insurance was declined down in Savannah (Hertz), but in Fort Lauderdale (Budget), they were extremely and even inappropriately aggressive.

I was traveling with my son and a friend, and the friend casually nodded an assenting “uh huh” and wound up with another $20 a day charge on the bill.

That brought the bill about 50% higher then it would’ve been without the “optional” insurance.

When asked about that prior to signing the agreement, the person behind the counter said that we couldn’t change the agreement, that she’d already run the credit card and that it was impossible to opt out of the insurance.

When called on the B.S. insurance, the clerk practically threw a paper form at us saying that the paperwork was already filled out once and the clerk wasn’t going to do it again.

John Ransom

John Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation. He lives in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom.