There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this week about the rise in cars being dumped in lakes, burned on the side of the road, or even rolled off of cliffs. The drivers aren't injured because many of these cases turn out to be insurance fraud, perpetrated because the owners can no longer afford their car payments. The rise in this type of fraud is becoming increasingly common in Las Vegas, where declines in tourists coming to gamble means halted construction, less casino jobs, and more unemployment.
And it's not just your average family sedan that's being torched in the middle of the Nevada desert - it's not uncommon for the Clark County Sheriff to find a Mercedes Benz or Land Rover on fire. The rise has been so acute - upwards of 18% since 2008 - that the authorities in Las Vegas have taken to patrolling the desert skies in helicopters, looking for smoke.
While I can't condone - or stomach - insurance fraud, I can understand the desperation that these people must feel, particularly in Las Vegas, where there's not many jobs that aren't directly or indirectly tied to tourism. What can be done, in the grand scheme of all the bailouts and renegotiations going on, for us little guys? When will the relief be bottom up, rather than just top down?