Showing posts with label government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label government. Show all posts

Monday, February 1, 2021

When Government Negligence Causes Financial Damages in Accidents

When people think about the cause of accidents and who to sue when accidents occur, the common target is other drivers or regular everyday citizens. 

There are, however, instances where agencies such as the government can be found negligent and can be responsible for financial damages in accidents.

This could be the federal, state or local government. Each state has its own laws governing the procedures for filing a lawsuit against government entities. These cases can often be more difficult and need special attention and care. 

Though they may be challenging, if you follow the proper protocols and steps, it is possible to recover damages from the government following an accident.

Case Examples

There are several different examples of cases where government negligence can come into play. These are scenarios that people do not often think of, though they are more common than most might believe. 

For example, if you get into an accident because you hit a major pothole in the road, or perhaps someone else hits the pothole, loses control, and hits you, those responsible for maintaining the road can be found negligent. They are negligent for not fixing the pothole. 

This can also be the case with other hazards that impede traffic on the road. In most situations, the party responsible for maintaining the roads and keeping them free of hazards is the government.

Another example might be any accidents that are caused by road construction issues. Perhaps the traffic was routed incorrectly, or cones or barriers were misplaced. There is a possibility that the government may be found negligent should an accident be caused by these types of issues.

Another, lesser thought of the situation may be if a government employee is driving while in the course and scope of their duties and causes an accident. In this case, the government may also be held liable.

Understanding the Process

Going about an accident or personal injury case when the government is involved can be complicated. These cases run differently and generally have different rules and deadlines than normal personal injury cases. 

Suing the government is no simple task. Let’s say you are suing the government in Utah for negligence that caused your accident. In a normal case, you would have up to four years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. 

Due to something called the Governmental Immunity Act of Utah, if your personal injury case is against the government, you only have one year to file your claim.

Get An Attorney

Because of the special circumstances and issues surrounding a lawsuit against the government, it may be advisable to find an attorney to help you through the process. 

With the dates and deadlines being tighter, having an attorney will take some of the burdens and stress off of you.

Further, and possibly most importantly, an attorney will be able to say with more certainty whether or not you have a case against the government. 

Because of how big of an undertaking it can be, you want to be certain you have the correct parties identified before filing a lawsuit. An attorney will be able to help you navigate through the process no matter which path you eventually choose.

It may seem like a daunting and almost impossible feat, but there are ways you can hold governmental agencies financially accountable for their negligence in an accident. 

Knowing where the government may be responsible, understanding the process, and potentially seeking help from an attorney are all ways to maneuver through cases like these with more ease.

Friday, March 15, 2013

4 Budgeting Lessons Families Can Learn from Federal Spending

clip_image001Family budgets don't work like federal budgets. Still, the average person can learn from the successes and failures of the federal government. These stand out as 4 lessons that we should all learn.

Don't Buy Things You Can't Afford

Everyone knows, or should know, that you can't buy things you can't afford. A big line of credit does not mean it makes sense to spend money that you don't have. Chances are, if you don't have enough money now, you won't have it tomorrow.

Now, the government does this all the time. When you don't include two wars in your budget, you build a huge fence along the Mexican border, and you keep entitlements at about the same level year after year even though you don't have as much money coming in, you end up with a $16 trillion dollar deficit. And growing.

Learn from this. If you can't afford a Ferrari, buy a Corolla. If you can't afford a house, rent an apartment. There are smarter ways to spend money. You just might not like them as much.

Know When to Limit Subsidies

Subsidies are great for certain things. Federal subsidies, for instance, were instrumental in developing the Internet and countless medical breakthroughs that have improved the lives of millions. Even early subsidies to oil companies made sense. When an industry doesn't have the ability to generate profit yet, subsidies let the government give new companies a little push towards success.

It's similar as you giving your child an allowance. The allowance is basically a subsidy. Sure, it's a lot smaller, but it works in similar ways.

The problem is that the government, like some parents, never learn when to let subsidies expire. Once your kid gets old enough to earn a living, you don't need to give her a weekly allowance anymore. That would be like the government giving the oil industry $20 billion a year even though the top five oil companies made $375 million in profits per day in 2011.

Wait, that happened? You don't need a masters in public administration to see why that doesn't work.

Stop Relying on Fossil Fuels


Fossil fuels are considerably more expensive than you think. You might get a stress headache while pumping $5 per gallon gas into your car, but you're not even thinking about the tax dollars that were used to pay the subsidy mentioned above.

The fact of the matter is that the country and its people need to rely less on fossil fuels. Riding a bike not only uses less money, it contributes to your health, which will become increasingly important as healthcare costs continue to skyrocket.


More Money or Less Spending: You Have to Decide

The government and families face a similar choice: they can either make more money or spend less money. For the government, making more money means raising taxes. For your family, that means getting a higher-paying job or picking up extra hours.

For the government, spending less money means cutting programs, staying out of wars, and limiting subsidies. For families, it means living within your means by setting a budget and sticking to it, even if it means you don't get all of the things you want.

What other lessons do you think families could learn from the federal government?

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Super Committee's" Failure Shows, We're On Our Own

English: President Barack Obama speaks to a jo...Image via WikipediaOnly in Washington D.C. can you meet for half a year and return with no results. If Congress were employees of a company they would be immediately fired. Their failure sets in motion automatic budgets cuts that take place in 2013.

It doesn't matter who's at fault, the people will have to pay the price to clean up the mess. The automatic cuts will total 1.2 trillion dollars over 10 years. It sounds like a lot of money but over ten years it amounts to only 120 billion per year. That is about 10 percent of the $1 trillion dollar yearly deficit. What happens to the other 90 percent of the deficit. The politicians failure to make needed spending cuts frees them from the burden of taking the blame in the next election. With the election one year away who wants to take the blame for budget cuts.

I remember only a few years ago when a committee was assigned a task to come up with recommendations concerning the deficit. After a year deliberating the committee came up with recommendations for the president. The president didn't take action on any of them. From now on whenever I hear the word committee coming out of Washington, I will think big waste of time. I wonder why politicians don't understand how people have lost faith in their government.

Related: The Deficit Commission Comes In DOA

What's the average person do now?

The problem with all this is the people have become all to dependent on their government for all their needs. The government can't get out of its own way. We believe Washington can fix anything. It can't fix itself, how can it fix your problems?

It only makes me wonder when I am living in retirement, what I will be doing. I don't want to be living under the hopeful good intentions of a government led by men who have to do things not for my benefit but to get themselves elected again. We have finally pushed the limits on the nanny-state. Cradle to grave care by the government is a dismal failure. Trusting in a government that can give a retirement check, can also be a government that can take one away from you.

The most important lesson learned from all this is that you are responsible for your own welfare. It's your job to take care of you. Only you can take care of yourself. Preparing for your health care and retirement is your job. Remember the old saying, "If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself."

With the new year coming, make a resolution to prepare for your future. Save and invest to take care of yourself before it's to late. Start that Roth Ira and get that health care arranged. Start that emergency fund. Quit buying everything in site. Invest the money into your future.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas Tree Tax - A Pointless, Misuse of Government

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree ShoppingImage by K!T via FlickrThe Christmas tree tax will not be implemented this holiday season because of consumer outrage. Is the Department of Agriculture asleep at the wheel? This tax is a total PR blunder for the Obama administration. Just saying the word tax can get you in trouble. The truth is the Department of Agriculture was going to implement a 15 cent tax on every fresh cut Christmas tree. It's not the amount that is the concern. It's the how, why, and who is the real problem.

Who's to blame for the tax?

The Department of Agriculture's new Christmas Tree Promotion Board was set up at the request of the Christmas tree sellers. They want the industry promoted and want the growers to pay for it. The purpose of the Board is to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace”. It's only for sellers who sell more than 500 tree per year.

What's the big deal, it's only 15 cents?

It really is insignificant for a once per year purchase. But that doesn't mean it makes sense or is right. The fact that much of the industry practically begged the government to impose the tax on them doesn't help either. The American Spectator reports:
"If they want to fund a promotional campaign for their product, they should do it themselves, without involving the USDA. "
"That goes for all similar checkoff taxes, such as the ones for beef, milk, soybeans, etc. There's no reason the federal government should be involved in shaping consumer preferences. The Christmas Tree Tax has done something useful in reminding us that the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 is a dumb law."

What if someone doesn't pay?

You go to jail. When you don't pay a federal tax you go to jail.
"What are you in for pal? I didn't pay my Christmas Tree Tax."

Whats wrong with the tax from a constitutional point of view?

  • Could it violate the Free Exercise of Religion Clause because it effects Christians.
  • The Equal Protection Clause for the same reason.
  • Does the government have the right to tax local agriculture products?
  • Is the Interstate Commerce Clause effected when the trees stay in state?
  • Doesn't the Congress have the power to regulate taxes and not the USDA?

Here is an example of why people have a problem with government. Should government be involved with promoting Christmas tree sales. What happened to separation of church and state. Christmas is clearly a religious holiday or did the ACLU forget?

The administration should squash this issue right away and put the promotion of Christmas trees back onto the industry, where it belongs. This is only going to make a bad issue for President Obama's  opponents to use against him.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Credit Card Rules Effective August 22

Credit cardsImage via WikipediaLast week, new rules kicked in concerning the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009. These new rules, that the credit card companies are balking at, are finally here and you should be seeing them take affect on your next credit card bill.

New rules from the Federal Reserve mean more new credit card protections for you. Here are some key changes you should expect from your credit card company beginning on August 22, 2010:

Reasonable penalty fees

Let's say you are late making your minimum payment.

  • Today: Your late payment fee may be as high as $39, and you likely pay the same fee whether you are late with a $20 minimum payment or a $100 minimum payment.
  • Under the new rules: Your credit card company cannot charge you a fee of more than $25 unless:
  • One of your last six payments was late, in which case your fee may be up to $35; or
  • Your credit card company can show that the costs it incurs as a result of late payments justify a higher fee.

In addition, your credit card company cannot charge a late payment fee that is greater than your minimum payment. So, if your minimum payment is $20, your late payment fee can't be more than $20. Similarly, if you exceed your credit limit by $5, you can't be charged an over-the-limit fee of more than $5.

Additional fee protections

  • No inactivity fees. Your credit card company can't charge you inactivity fees, such as fees for not using your card.
  • One-fee limit. Your credit card company can't charge you more than one fee for a single event or transaction that violates your cardholder agreement. For example, you cannot be charged more than one fee for a single late payment.

Explanation of rate increase

  • If your credit card company increases your card's Annual Percentage Rate (APR), it must tell you why.

Re-evaluation of recent rate increases

  • Today: Your credit card company can increase your card's APR with no obligation to re-evaluate your rate increase.
  • Under the new rules: If your credit card company increases your APR, it must re-evaluate that rate increase every six months. If appropriate, it must reduce your rate within 45 days after completing the evaluation.

These are simple changes that will streamline the rules across all credit card companies. There won't be different rules across different companies anymore. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Why America Is Exceptional - Fourth of July

The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments t...Image via WikipediaAsk yourself how it's possible, a group of men could sign a document 235 years ago, resulting in a country that eventually would dominate a world culturally, economically, societally, and militarily. Even though other nations had a 1000 year head start and they still couldn't attain the same result.

Is America exceptional or as President Obama stated in April 2009, "America was not any more exceptional than any other country."

The beginning of American exceptionalism started with the revolution. The founders wanted to write a Constitution that would not fail man as past documents have. They believed the rule of law was the basic foundation of a people who's success or failure depended on their own efforts. They believed government could not guarantee or provide anyones basic needs. They started with the premise that all men were created equal. This gave all men an even starting point in their lives. It would be up to them to make it work. It was the being of the American tradition of self reliance.

The founders new then that government was not the solution but the problem. Even today men still think government can cure all of the people problems. The founders knew that government needed to get out of the way of it's citizens because the people had it with in them to make their lives work. Anything the government touched would not be as efficient as men and women taking care of their own lives. Governments job was not help all citizens succeed, it was supposed to make the playing field level, giving all the opportunity to succeed, not guaranteeing success.

No government is like America. Most revolutions seek to destroy the existing class order and use all-powerful government to mandate an equality of result rather than of opportunity. The Founders were convinced that constitutionally protected freedom would allow the individual to create wealth apart from government. Such enlightened self-interest would then enrich society at large far more effectively that could an all-powerful state.

In America we trust in the common man, not the government. In other lands, the government is the nanny of the people. There is an innate distrust in the government and the elite bureaucracy it creates. Confidence in the common man is the backbone of our success in the past and the only way to a prosperous future.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - What Does It Do? Will It Work?

Spec Assistant to the President, Elizabeth WarrenImage by mdfriendofhillary via FlickrThis week the White House hosted a summit of financial writers and editors at the White House. This event gave 2 dozen financial journalists access to top Obama administration officials. The President even stopped by to give his views on his personal finance beliefs and a brief Q&A.

The meeting centered on the debt ceiling, the housing crisis and the job market. One of the focuses of the current administration is financial education. The recession has brought to the forefront the need for public education and protection from potentially damaging investment products.

President Obama, early in his term, assigned Elizabeth Warren as head of a new federal agency called the "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau"(CFPB). The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act) established the consumer bureau. Since then, from scratch, she has been trying to lay out how the agency will function and what it will try to accomplish.

She described the CFPB's key principles as ensuring that when using financial products:
  • Prices are clear.
  • Risks are clear.
  • The ability to compare like products is relatively easy.
If the agency can achieve that, then consumers can ask two key questions:
  • Can I afford this product?
  • Is it the best deal I can get?
The result of all this, Warren says, is a competitive marketplace -- which should be good for both consumers and businesses. She compares the CFPB with the FDA. Just as the FDA doesn't allow inferior medical products to be sold to the public, the CFPB will see to it that consumers are able to differentiate between good, safe loans and deceptive loans that charge lower prices by burying risk in the fine print. The agency aims to work with consumers and lenders to ensure that financial contracts are understandable, so that markets can work better.

The CFPB has it's own website at There they state the central Mission of the CFPB:
"The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans—whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products."

The 3 goals of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are:


An informed consumer is the first line of defense against abusive practices. The CFPB will work to promote financial education.


Like a neighborhood cop on the beat, the CFPB will supervise banks, credit unions, and financial companies, and it will enforce Federal consumer financial laws.


The consumer bureau will gather and analyze available information to better understand consumers, financial services providers, and consumer financial markets. 

This new agency will take over all the functions from government agencies that used to perform this function before. The agency that did most of these functions before was the Federal Trade Commission(FTC). Their work in financial consumer protection will shut down and move to the CFPB.

Others include:

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS)
National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
US Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD)
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
The Federal Reserve System

When it's all said and done the CFPB will be a a regulatory agency with unprecedented powers with a broad reach across industries. We will have to wait and see how it will affect consumers and business. But we can be sure that the CFPB will do 3 things:

  1. Consumers will be able to finally read the financial disclosure documents on their financial products. Whether it be credit card or mortgages, the terms and conditions will be in clear, easy-to-understand terms that allow consumers to compare offers.
  2. The CFPB will examine consumer financial products, not the industries themselves. Previously, regulatory industry's were structured by individual industrys, now they will all be under one roof and the industry the product comes from will not be scrutinized, just the product.
  3. Create a transparency on how credit scores affect the terms and conditions of the financial product like mortgages and credit cards. Lenders are required to disclose a score they used in all risk-based pricing notices and adverse action notices beginning July 21, 2011.

The future role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will something to keep an eye on. 

Here's a video about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

If There Is A Goverment Shut Down, What Services Will Be Curtailed?

"Sorry We're Closed" sign at Little ...Image via WikipediaCongress has till Friday to finish it's work on the budget, if it doesn't, the government will shutdown. What does it mean for the government to shut down? How will it hurt the average citizen? Democrats and the President say it will hurt Americans deeply. What does that mean, I am not convinced. Let's look at the facts.

Fact: Only one in four federal employee would likely be furloughed, that's 800,000 workers. These workers would not be connected with any services connected to human life or protection of property. That's according to a 1981 law called the Deficiency Act.

What would stay open?

Armed Forces. The troops would continue to work and Congress is trying to pass a law to ensure they are still paid. Border security would be operating and our ports and airports would still be open.

Secret Service. The president would still be protected.

Airport Traffic Control. All traffic controllers at airport would still be at their job. Even the good ole' TSA would still be patting us down.

Post Office. The Post Office would still be delivering your mail because it is a self financing service running on it's own funds, not needing taxpayer support.

Federal Reserve. Ben Bernanke would still have to go to work along with his whole crew.

Social Security. Everyone would still get their social security checks. But new applicant would have to wait till new funding arrives.

What will shutdown?

Passport Applications. If your in a hurry to get your new passport or a renewal, you are going to be waiting a while.

The Federal Housing Administration. If your dealing with the FHA you will be experiencing a slowdown in your application.

Internal Revenue Service. You will be waiting a little longer to get your refund. The IRS is not on the priority list of essential services.

Of course who is to blame for all this, you guested it, our friendly representatives in Congress. They have had since September of last year to get this job done. They have constantly voted to extend the passage of the budget till the last minute. The blame is squarely on their shoulders. Both parties

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Horse Named Government

Seal of Kennebec County, MaineImage via Wikipedia I was reading thru a news article about the Gubernatorial race in Maine. On a local newspaper website called the  "Kennebec Journal" (  in  Kennebec County Maine including Augusta, Maine I saw in the opinion section this letter to the editor: 

There once was a farmer, who, like all farmers, lived off his land with little or no help from anyone else. He was never hungry, fed and clothed his family, and sold some of his extra products to his neighbors.

One day, the farmer was given a horse named Government. He was told that he would be able to do so much more with Government in his life, that he would be able to produce more and have more time for leisure. 

Nobody told him that Government required care and feeding and sometimes got sick and didn’t work very well. He had to grow extra crops to feed Government, and so actually needed Government to help support itself. Government also left large piles of mess that the farmer had to, periodically, clean out of his barn. The more the farmer used Government, the more he thought he needed it.

At some point in time, the farmer realized that, if he had just been left alone, he would be just fine without Government, but what should he do with Government?

Give him to another farmer? That didn’t seem ethical, knowing what had happened to him. It seemed as though he was stuck with Government and all its good and bad attributes.

David Kahl

I hope in the next election people cast their vote with the sentiments of this gentleman in Maine. The Founding Fathers had a healthy fear of an all to powerful government we should keep that in mind.

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