Monday, October 24, 2011

Just Being Christie Is A Full Time Job

In hindsight, it's a good thing Governor Christie decided not to run for president. He's got enough to do in New Jersey, thank you very much, as evidenced by the issues below.

First up is a report that Christie's pension reforms will do nothing to actually solve the problem, because the state will not make full pension payments until 2018. That means that New Jersey taxpayers will be on the hook for a payment that goes from zero (nada, nothing) in 2011 to $468 million in 2012 to $5.04 billion in 2018. Payments will then increase about $600 million every year after that. Local governments, who have been making their payments all along, will continue to do so, but all indications are that municipalities will have to pay more, as will those workers in the pension system. This bit of sleight-of-hand was kept under the rug when the pension and benefits reform bill was being debated and adopted earlier this summer.

The Governor, it seems, is taking New Jersey on a path that will make us look like Rhode Island, whose general treasurer is warning will spend 20% of its money on pensions within a couple of years. Not only is this unsustainable, it's a violation of the public trust and the promise that states made to public workers in return for low salaries and years of service. Look for this to be a major issue in 2013, if we can wait that long.

The second catches Christie repeating the lie that President Obama's health care law is "a government takeover of health care." This particular quote earned him a Pants On Fire rating from PolitiFact and shows his intellectually lazy side. Christie should know better, and in truth I think he does, but there's a campaign on and if he wants to stay relevant on a national stage, then he's got to at least appear as far right as he can go. Still, it's disappointing.

But you have to give Christie points for trying. After all, he's still trying to convince New Jerseyans that his interpretation of the law is the only valid one, as he espoused in his reaction to Judge Linda Feinberg's ruling that the pension and benefits reforms do not apply to judges. Were all judges supposed to recuse themselves from this suit? Attacks on judges, whether from governors or presidential candidates, only serves to undermine the judiciary. And it's even more disturbing coming from a former prosecutor who is sworn to uphold the law..

It will be quiet until the legislative elections, then I'm sure more fireworks will go off.

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