Liability: Banneker Center Survey #89
Economic Justice

Results of April Survey

Thanks for sending in your opinions. Here is what you said:

Imagine two businesses. They have the same value in assets, the same income, the same expenses. They are in the same industry and face the same future. They are identical competitors, except that one has a grant of "limited liability" from the government, and the other does not. (Limited liability means that the business cannot be held liable for more than its total assets; the assets of individual directors, etc., are not at risk.)

If Business A, with limited liability, is worth $1 million, how much is Business B, with no limited liability, worth?
You said 43% less on average

Under current law, corporations and limited partnerships receive free limited liability insurance from the government; all extra liabilities are covered by the taxpayers. However, individuals, sole proprietorships, and non-limited partnerships do not receive any such coverage. Is that fair, or arbitrary?

16% said it's a fair distinction
84% said it's an arbitrary distinction

The insurance industry already sells various kinds of insurance to limit losses. Should the government compete with private insurance companies, by offering liability insurance?

8% said Yes
57% said No
35% said Sometimes

How important is limited liability to the growth and development of business?

61% said very important -- businesses would willingly pay a lot for the privilege of limited liability
9% said not very important -- few businesses would pay much for limited liability
30% said unsure

If government did not give away limited liability to corporations, some would do without and others would buy insurance from private companies. Transferring liability away from the U.S. taxpayers, and toward businesses and their insurers, is:

52% said a great idea
26% said a fairly good idea
13% said an indifferent idea
7% said a fairly bad idea
2% said a terrible idea

The Price-Anderson Act in the United States limits the liability of nuclear power corporations in case of nuclear accidents or sabotage at their power plants. In case of a nuclear accident or sabotage, the taxpayers and the victims would be expected to bear the liability beyond a small amount. Which statement most closely describes your view:

9% said Price-Anderson sounds like a good idea
37% said it is arbitrary to give some industries a special privilege and not others
54% said the risks of nuclear power should be borne by power plant owners, not taxpayers
0% said the Price-Anderson Act is a free-market idea

Thanks again to all who participated!

Now go on to the May Survey on Goals & Goal Setting, or
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