Well, in case you haven't noticed New Jersey's economy is in the tank. And that is not the worst of it. New Jersey, as an entity, is going further into debt and there is no end in sight. With last week's announcement from Wall Street's Standard and Poor's downgrade of New Jersey's bond rating, New Jersey is now officially one of the worst states, financially speaking. With Governor Christie failing, yet again, to make the State's mandatory payment into the public worker's pension fund, our bond rating gets lowered. With Governor Christie's management, our unemployment rate has not gotten any better. While he spoke today at the Amerian Enterprise Institute (a conservative think tank) in Washington, D.C., he noted that the retirement age for Social Security must be raised.
I understand that he may believe we are living longer and so we should retire older, as many people do, but what I don't understand is how he managed to leave New Jersey's business behind while he went campaigning in Washington, D.C. How much did this cost New Jersey? Did the funds come out of the pension fund account? I mean if you are on a tight budget, you certainly don't take trips. You stay home. Put the television on and watch a free movie on Lifetime. Better yet, you work and work hard trying to bring home more bacon.
For all his talk, Governor Christie is not working hard enough. He is slashing public worker jobs, cutting pension fund payments, and taking trips. He refuses to tax his wealthy friends any more (which of course will benefit his re-election campaign fund) all while the unemployment lines become longer for middle class workers.
While he was in Washington, D.C. today campaigning, one of his highly paid staff members, Lori Grifa, the Department of Community Affairs Commissioner told the State's mayors that New Jersey needs to implement pension reforms and also needs to begin consolidation of police departments in Camden, Essex and Mercer Counties. Apparently, all the layoffs are not really controlling the budget problems in the State. And this is why I wonder why the Governor and the Commissioner are not considering increasing New Jersey's revenue.
Cutting the budget and the lay offs and the pension reform may be necessary (at least that is what they say) but if you are really serious, you would raise taxes on the wealthiest residents. Revenue coming in is needed. If any of us attempted to run our household budget the way Governor Christie and his highly paid staff are running the State's budget, it would not do us any good. For instance, try cutting your household budget. Start with the grocery bill, chop off the junk food. With cell phones widely used, cut out the house phone. Don't watch pay movies on cable, or better yet, cancel cable. Try not to drive your car as much or car pool. Turn the heat down low. At the end of the month, how much do you save? It can be as much as $200 to $300. But say you have to pay off a credit card, and the washing machine breaks, your kids need new shoes, you have to pay a medical bill, the dog gets sick, and you need to buy a birthday present for your mom. How are you going to make up the budget hole? You will have to get another job or cut back more. But if you only cut back more, and the water heater breaks, and roof leaks, and the car needs a repair, how will you pay for those items? Another job. More income. More revenue. There is no other way but to add revenue. Cutting only goes so far. I wonder how many more jobs will be lost before Governor Christie realizes he and his wealthy friends need to share the sacrifice.