Kevin J. Begley

Attorney at Law


CONSTRUCTION AND ENGINERING LAW

"Justice, the guardian of liberty"

 

Kevin J. Begley
Attorney at Law LLC
96 Main Sttreet
Matawan, NJ 07747
TEL: (732) 525-8200
FAX: (732) 525-8120
FAX 2: (732) 707-0011
kb@kevinbegley.com
www.kevinbegley.com


This is where I vent and/or occasionally may even present a few, hopefully thought provoking, personal editorials or comments. Failing that, I hope to at least piss off a few people.

New Jersey, "The Insurance State"

For years, every time I look at any New Jersey license plate, I think, "they should change the saying on the plates to read. "New Jersey - The Insurance State," because it seems every insurance scheme that does not work well in another state, the New Jersey legislature adopts. I've been looking for a state by state insurance study, but I haven't found any... yet. I know this is a radical idea, but how about some neutral (if there is such a thing) think tank putting together a study to analyze insurance in each state, comparing cost, coverage, fairness (another radical idea), etc., for auto insurance, health insurance, life insurance, workman's compensation insurance, etc. Perhaps then we can have some objective information about what works, what does not, and what the relative advantages and dis-advantages of each insurance scheme.

In New Jersey, medical and auto insurance is the highest in the nation. I'm not sure what to do about auto insurance today (but I will think of something, tune back), but I think New Jersey should open up the Medicare program to residents of New Jersey who are not, or can not get in another insurance program. I can not think of anything for which the state government is known for efficient management and The management cost for Medicare is only a couple percent, while the for profit companies is ten to twenty times what it is for the Medicare program. I would expect that lower cost health insurance will result in a lot more people enrolled in Medicare... The insurance companies do not be happy, because to keep or bring people back, they will have to reduce charges. If that won't put pressure on insurance companies in New Jersey to reduce what they charge people for health care, I'm not sure what will.

All I know is New Jersey has to do something, because it is driving business out of the state because workers and the middle class are much less able to afford to live here. As business goes, property taxes will go up even more, exacerbating an already terrible situation.

In the pat few years, New Jersey has lost over 8,000 non-government jobs, but added 48,000 government jobs!!! We are going the wrong way folks. I hope Corzine has the back-bone to make the hard decisions, and reduce government employment, encourage legislation that will change insurance in New Jersey, perhaps reversing the exodus of people out of New Jersey.

Climbing Gas Prices

It never fails to irritate me. The price of oil goes up, and the next day, so does the price of gas. This makes sense right? NO!

The oil that the gas we are buying was made from was in the ground 6-12 months ago, not yesterday. That means that gas we are purchasing today was refined from the older less expensive crude, and the huge increases in gas prices result in obscene increases in profits for the oil companies. I have worked in refineries, and there are often tankers sitting off the coast for months, because there is a glut of oil, and no empty tanks to store it in. It is unusual for the crude being refined to be less than several months old, though it is possible.

Perhaps today, things are somewhat different than when I worked on refineries 9-10 years ago, but I don't believe they are that much different, so I believe my comments here are still valid.

The oil companies are quick to raise gas prices, and slow to drop them. Do you blame them? This is business, and they are in this to make money. However, this is why the government periodically threatens to investigate the oil industry, or to regulate prices, because they gouge the public until we scream!

Eventually, the price of crude will fall again, it always does. You can be sure that the oil companies will not lower prices when the gas they are selling is made from the lower priced crude. Eventually, pressure will push prices down again, but not before the oil companies gouge us good... AGAIN.

The oil companies talk about their heavy investment to produce or develop new energy sources... BS. They are paying themselves and stockholders HUGE profits. Their profits are up 200% - 300% or more, but I guarantee you that their investment in developing the tar sands in Canada, windmill farms, trash to fuel, finding new oil sources, making existing fields more productive, etc., etc., has NOT gone up 200% - 300%.

It's nothing personal. The oil companies are in business to make money, which is fine, but, we are not dealing with cars, I-Pods, or a rap CD, we are dealing with a necessary commodity. People can cut back on how much they drive and the temperature in their home, but they can not choose to not use energy, and not pay for it, and how low can you turn down the thermostat? When dealing with commodities, you can and should usually let the market set the price, but not all the time. When dealing with necessaries, water, food, shelter and energy, sometimes the government must do something to prevent business from "bleeding us almost to death", just because they are not prevented from to charging whatever the market can bear. When you allow business to charge what the market can bear, some people will "bleed to death".

What’s the answer? I’m not sure, though I may be a smart ass, this answer will take more knowledge and information than I have at this time. I don’t generally like government intervention, as they very often do a poor job, however I don’t see any other way to minimize the gouging to the public. At the very least, the oil companies and related industries have to know that when their abuse gets egregious, that their outrageous profits will be taxed heavily.


The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

I’m Irish. The conflict in Ireland has been a topic of frustration, confusion and embarrassment for me as an Irish-American, with many family members still living in Ireland. I cannot understand the hatred. There is a lot of history there, several peoples invading Ireland, and in particular, the invasion by the English, and the brutal subjugation of the Irish by the Earl of Orange. However, the people living there today, are not the people that inflicted that pain on the Irish-Catholics so many years ago, so how can the Irish-Catholics and Irish-Protestants today justify destroying property, or worse, people, today? The Irish-Catholics that hate will say that the English and Irish-Protestants have never returned the churches, property or political control they took by force so many years ago. The Irish-Protestants will say that they didn’t take anything, and that the Irish-Catholics over time have obtained more wealth and political power over the years, and have more wealth, political power and control than they have in over 600 years, so what are they complaining about?

You can’t tell an Irish-Catholic from an Irish-Protestant. If they sat down and made a list of what they believed in, and the tenants of their faith, they would be unable to find any significant differences, therefore, their hate is artificial, learned or passed down from those with small minds and their personal and spiritual deficiencies. Hate like this is a way to blame others for their deficiencies and their situation.

The Israelis were given the territory now known as Israel following WWII, by the United Nations. The Jews who then populated the territory did not take the land. If you had no home, and the powers that be gave you a home to live in, and you had no other home, you would not give it up if one of the former owners came knocking on our door demanding you move out, especially if you did not have another home of your own to move into.

Bosnians and Serbs lived together for over 30 years in peace, often intermarrying, during the Soviet period of control, only to literally end up killing their neighbors and/or family, just because they of a different ethnicity. This is so ignorant it baffles me. Part of me feels that if they are this ignorant, perhaps we should let them kill each other off. Perhaps their hate will die with them. No. It won’t. Only education to make people understand others, and those more enlightened individuals making the effort to become politically active and permeate their societies will things change.

It bothers me that the Arab world “cries” for their Palestinian brothers, when much of the Arab world has enormous wealth and land. I knew an Arab who told me on other Arab country wants Palestinians in their country, because they are the “niggers” of the Arab world. So it appears that the current situation is an excuse for the Arab world to speak out and act on their hatred of Jews, and often their distain if not hatred of Americans.

It bothers me that the Israelis built Israeli enclaves in the territories that they knew they will need to give up if there is to be a peaceful settlement. It bothered me when I saw Ariel Sharon go into a Palestinian controlled area with a large military contingent, seemingly to purposely inflame the Palestinians.

The US would not sit by knowing there were Canadians sending suicide bombers onto US soil, killing Americans and destroying property. We would give the Canadians time to address the problem themselves, but if they failed to take the steps needed, we would probably offer to help them do what needed to be done, and that failing or being refused, go into their territory and try to disrupt the ability of those carrying out the terrorism ourselves, then we would leave. If the problem occurred again, and the Canadians did not or could no stop these causing the havoc death and destruction again, we would go in again.

What’s the answer? As with most individuals, the answer is self-responsibility, and treating others as you want to be treated. Terrorism cannot be tolerated, and failure to address terrorism by the source country will be justification for the target country to exercise self-help and take action.