I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chris Christie: Lying Liar, or Completely Clueless?

Give The Auditor, the Star-Ledger's weekly political insider column, credit for catching Chris Christie's latest lie - although, in my opinion, this merits much stronger language:
Gov. Chris Christie joined an exclusive club last week — governors who get shellacked with six downgrades of their state’s credit rating. The only other member in the entire country? Democrat Jim McGreevey.
The most recent ratings cut came last week from Moody’s Investors Service, a major Wall Street agency that found fault with Christie’s budgets and the slow recovery in New Jersey’s economy.
That downgrade, coupled with the previous five, hung over Christie like a rain cloud at an economic forum he attended in Washington with power players including Bill Clinton.
During a chat with CBS News’s Bob Schieffer, the Republican with an eye on the White House still called New Jersey’s recovery from the Great Recession "exceptional" and pinned some of the blame on his predecessors for skipping yearly payments into the pension system, which is now $52 billion in the hole.
"Christie WhitmanJim McGreeveyDick CodeyJon Corzine made no pension payments," he said. "None. Zero."
While it’s true that Christie’s predecessors did leave him with a huge pension hole to fill, The Auditor notes that "None. Zero" isn’t quite right. Most recently, Corzine did pump more than $2 billion into the pension system.
Christie specifically says Corzine did not make pension payments. As The Auditor points out, this is patently false.

For years, we public workers have been required to fund the pensions. Until Corzine came along, the state refused to do its part. It's not that the governor "isn't quite right" when he says Corzine didn't make payments; Christie is, instead, glaringly and completely wrong.

But give The Auditor credit: at least they pointed this out. Politico couldn't even be bothered to check whether Christie was telling the truth.

Christie has always played dumb about the pensions: he's stated he "had no idea the pension system was about to go bankrupt," when, in truth, everyone who was paying the slightest bit of attention knew the pensions were in trouble years ago.

Christie signed the law that forced public employees to pay more into the pensions and degraded their value. He claimed, repeatedly, that he was "saving" the pensions. And yet, on this signature issue, he was so clueless during his first campaign that he didn't know the pensions were in serious trouble? And he still doesn't know, to this very day, that Corzine had made pension payments?

If Chris Christie isn't a liar, he is recklessly clueless. The six credit downgrades are entirely on him -- not any previous governor, but him. His ignorance and/or mendacity got us into this mess, and no one else's.

This state has an obligation to every teacher, every cop, every firefighter, every social worker, every DPW worker, every clerk, every secretary, and every other public worker who was forced to contribute to the pension system. Christie doesn't get to go to the state's vendors and say: "Hey, folks, I'd love to pay you, but I refuse to tax the wealthiest people in the state at comparable rates to the working poor..."

"... or stop my massive corporate tax giveaways that have been miserable at creating jobs, or stop the looting of the treasury by continuing tax expenditures that are inadequately reported. So, too bad suckers!"

If the state owes money to someone who provided a good or a service, they must pay. Public workers are no different. There is a contractual obligation, written into law, that requires the state to make good on these payments. If Chris Christie can't meet those obligations, he should resign immediately and let someone else take over who is at least willing to talk honestly about the issue.

I've said this before: Bridgegate was no joke. It may well be that people died because of it. But Chris Christie committed many sins well before the traffic piled up in Fort Lee. His reckless policies on the pensions, coupled with his disdain for the truth, are as worthy of derision as whatever role he had in Bridgegate.

Chris Christie is unfit for high office; that was evident well before the Port Authority nonsense blew up in his face. The sooner he leaves Trenton, the better off this state will be.

Just go away. Quickly.


Giuseppe said...

From rawstory.com:
The New Jersey Education Association, the largest public-worker union in the state, said it will seek to block Christie’s proposal in court. Under the terms of Christie’s 2011 pension overhaul, unions can legally challenge any delays or reductions in the pension payments.
"Governor Christie’s illegal, irresponsible and reckless proposal to further delay a return to sound pension funding practices will irreparably harm New Jersey and cannot be allowed," said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer. "In addition to the damage this will do to the pension system and to the employees and retirees who rely on it, this will further damage New Jersey’s fiscal reputation, to the detriment of every taxpayer."
Christie is the worst and a lying liar.

Michael Pelletier said...

If Gov. Christie was clueless, what does that make President Obama?

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