Believing the Liars – Still

Over the years a major frustration has been that most public employees did not believe me when I told them their pensions were at risk though they all seemed under the impression that the politicians responsible for funding their pensions could not be trusted.  Somehow they assumed that there were other forces at play that would rein in the natural duplicity of the political class and keep those pension checks coming.  There aren’t.  There is no federal oversight.  The actuaries are bought off. There is nobody to trust. For example, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on CNBC Squawk Box this morning admitting as much:


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Yes Christie has been saying since January, 2014 that there is a need for reforming the New Jersey pension system. But what about before January, 2014:
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Christie deserves credit for admitting that politicians are at fault for not telling the truth about the severity of the problems but he should not exclude himself from that coterie of misleaders who seek to becalm with misinformation that rational thinkers should be able to see through. For example, according to a story on www.northjersey.com (that I am trying to verify) he is quoted as saying:

“The fallacy out there is that, well, you know if the governor doesn’t make the full $2.25 billion payment that somehow that means people won’t get checks. There’s, as we sit here today, $48 billion in the fund — $48 billion,” Christie said at a town hall-style event last week. “So anyone who is getting a pension now, you have absolutely no concern about not getting a check.”

That $48 billion number is startling since the claim on the New Jersey DOI website is that there is $77 billion in the plans.  Could this have been either:

  • after removing employee contributions, or
  • could the plan actually have lost that much money since 12/31/13, or
  • was it a slip by the governor and he meant $78 billion, or
  • could the story have gotten the number wrong (twice)?

In any case, nobody noticed.  First, that a plan paying out $9 billion annually to 300 thousand retirees with only about $4 billion coming in would be around for much longer.  Secondly, the track record of the guy talking.

34 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on July 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I would say on the track record of Christie he is a pathological liar. Unless he managed to somehow steal 30 Billion dollars from the fund or intends to. And yes in reading your posts I did notice that.

    Reply

    • And the frustration continues of a different sort. I would love to get access to that video of the Haddon Heights town hall meeting where he said it but I only found it on NJTV12 and you need to be a Comcast subscriber to access it. I also emailed the reporter at northjersey.com but he has not gotten back to me.
      Now I think perhaps Chrisitie was thinking of the unfunded number as the $48 billion and got confused but it’s staggering that this guy is going to green light another reform plan for a problem whose scope he has absolutely no grasp of

      Reply

  2. Posted by Joe Blow on July 1, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I’ve never seen so much crying about a non -issue. Don’t worry pigs at the trough, you’ll all get your checks.
    As we STILL haven’t corrected the problems of giving new hires these same premier retirement bennies were perpetuating a broke system. Anyone that’s not s public work that stays in NJ after Christies term is up is a fool.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on July 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    the pensions are disappearing quicker than Christies Triple chins

    Reply

  4. Posted by skip3house on July 1, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Drive home your point by actually figuring a retiring worker’s pension payment by NJ fund payments each of the years ‘you’ work, and your pay then. Of course, your own money in the fund is safe (?).
    Many will be the years only your money(and its actual interest) will increase your pension.

    Reply

    • Posted by skip3house on July 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      The question here might be – should NJ citizens in 2014 be expected to pay pension benefits for, say, work done in 1998? Along with 2014 ? That 1998 obligation was for the 1998 citizens to decide/pay/…..

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on July 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm

        If the Public Sector pension “promises” (the VERY rich formulas and generous “provisions”) were not GROSSLY EXCESSIVE (by ANY reasonable metric) we COULD HAVE fully funded each year’s pension accruals in the year earned…. and would NOT be in the mess w are in today.

        But Public Sector Unions/workers are insatiably greedy, and they bought-off our elected officials to grant these absurdly generous pensions (AND benefits).

        Taxpayer … refuse to fund them….PERIOD !

        Reply

        • Posted by skip3house on July 1, 2014 at 6:55 pm

          Sensible! When I ran (lost) for NJ Senate a dozen+ years back, the NJEA interview went ‘well’. I was told by them ‘it is better to have a promise than nothing’, when I mentioned SL Dunstan McNichol stories on underfunding.

          Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on July 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm

          bwahahahhahahahhahahahahahhahahahaha

          Reply

        • Posted by Carlos on July 1, 2014 at 9:02 pm

          Tough Love- First. Can you cite any politician that was paid off by unions for a specific increase in pension and benefit ? What was the amount,who was the politician,what benefit was passed by the legislature because of it ? Second unions are allowed to contribute as much as any other orginization in our state. No more and no less. Can you cite an example where they were allowed to put in more than say Americans for Prosperity ? Third elections were held and you were given your vote. Just because your guy lost doesn’t mean anything under handed happened. You always cry as if something illegal occurred between the unions and a democrat politician,but you know it isn’t at all illegal. Why do you lie ?

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm

            Carlos, Ok, I should have spelled it out for (as if you didn’t know). … when your Unions contribute the bug bucks to the legislators, and provide hundreds of foot-soldiers to support their elections, there is an unspoken but very clear understanding that in return, they will support the Union agenda for better pay, greater pensions, and better benefits …. and to hell with the Taxpayers’ interests.

            All the players know to avoid the direct quid-pro-quot, so they stay out of jail (where they belong). It’s not the giving that’s the problem, it’s the collusion.

            And it’s only Legal because we can’t PROVE the collusion.

            No matter what the Courts say, the REAL shit hits the fan in 3-5 years when the NJ Plans hit pay-go. I don’t see sufficient service cuts and/or taxes being raised by the enormous level necessary to continue to pay retiree pensions, When those option are the ONLY ones our Legislators have to pick from, there is a good chance they will switch sides (supporting the taxpayers’ call for pension reductions) and throw you under the bus.

  5. Posted by Mr. Anonymous on July 1, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    He went after health care today because that is the only thing he can do. He says all interested parties need to come to the table. A little late for that. The problems will not be addressed while he is in office. Until he hits the campaign trail or the indictments hit too close- status quo. He has lost the trust of the majority in the state. The curtain is down. the emperor wears stretch pants. I think he enjoys lying. He is like Clinton. He likes to see how much he can get away with.

    Reply

    • Posted by Joe Blow on July 1, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      What nonsense. He’s won 2 elections by a demanding majority. The D’s vote for him as much as the R’s. You’re a blind psrtisan shill if you can’t see that.

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 1, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      Whatever Christie proposes for health care reform for employees is the SHBP will not be posted by Senator Sweeney for a vote.So you are correct nothing will happen during Christi’s term.

      Reply

  6. Posted by Mr. Anonymous on July 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Blow yourself Joe and learn how to spell.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Anonymous on July 1, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Christie has proven himself to be a liar, he will get no cooperation from the legislature, he’s done. Bring on the next lawsuit, requiring payment included in the budget, then we will see.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 1, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Getting no cooperation from the Legislature has NOTHING to do with Christie being a “liar” and EVERYTHING to do with the Legislators liking the Public Sector Unions’ campaign contributions and election support.

      Reply

      • Posted by Carlos on July 2, 2014 at 12:56 am

        I don’t know about that. I don’t do business with people that lie. Do you ? His word is nothing. He did lie and they can easily say that is why they aren’t going to help him. The bottom line is Christie needs something to take into 2016. He failed pretty bad at this the first time especially with COLA being shot down. Couple that with 6 credit rating downgrades that he stated he doesn’t care about. They don’t need to help him at all. This is all politics at this point not what’s right or wrong. Honestly at this point what’s his legacy in our state ? I say the only governor in our history to have 6 credit downgrades. He hasn’t done a thing for our debt,failed at pension reform,hasn’t lowered property taxes,raised tolls,has to borrow from other funds to balance a budget even though he was told 8 months out he had no clue about his budget numbers ( remember Rosen ? ) honestly TL could you imagine the squealing from republicans if a democrat had six credit downgrades ? Of course I didn’t even touch on the bridge debacle. That’s a whole other management failure on his part.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 2, 2014 at 1:04 am

          So you’re complaining that he “failed” at pension reform. You do of course realize that YOU have to make some mighty big “givebacks” for real pension reform.

          So what are you offering … or is that you just LIKE to complain ?

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2014 at 9:12 am

            I did my part I let the State direct deposit my pension payment.That (if everyone did it) would save them a few million a year. I also was forced into letting them delay my COLA. By the time that gets settled the retroactive may be enough to let me upgrade my boat.

          • Posted by Carlos on July 2, 2014 at 10:47 am

            Well at this point I would guess all he could is go after retiree health benefits and I doubt he could even get that passed. In any case I don’t worry about what could happen or what may happen. I have money,no bills,and I work. I also have free health care if I need it from another source. In two years I can move after child is done college. I don’t want to make you too jealous TL,but my wife is native american and her tribe owns a casino. We are allowed to build a house on Indian land and pay no property taxes. Sounds like a republican wet dream doesn’t it ? Obviously I don’t need to worry about anything.

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2014 at 8:40 pm

            It’ll be interesting when the court REQUIRES the pension payment to be included in the budget won’t it? The state is doing everything it can not to make a full payment–hell they can’t even make 1/7. Increased taxes are coming my friend.

  8. Posted by Pat on July 2, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Part of that interview has him saying that he is paying the full (normal) cost for this year, making it sound that the $680M is the full cost of the plan, not the $9 billion being paid out.

    On the related note of lies, what happened to NJ politifact? It looks like it went off the map.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Hee hee….now your Fat Boy hero will have to deal with lawsuits from different unions:

    http://www.app.com/story/news/politics/capitolquickies/2014/07/01/n-j-pension-fund-hires-florida-firm-to-sue-christie/11918339/

    So….whatever money you think was being saved from not paying the pension contribution & COLAs will be going to pay for legal defense fees (like Bridgegate which is costing taxpayers millions in lawyer fees).

    You dopes don’t realize you’re paying for it either way…..should have just settled and paid the money into the pension & COLA which will happen anyway but now will wind up costing triple with the unnecessary added legal problems. LMFAO!!!

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 2, 2014 at 12:59 am

      Clearly you have no concept of how little legal expenses are compared to funding your COLAs …. or the $2.25 Billion Christie DOESN’T HAVE to put into your grossly excessive pensions.

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2014 at 9:15 am

      The AG’s office will be no match for those guys. LOL

      Reply

  10. Posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Clearly you have no concept of politicians or government. You believe your taxes will go down or remain the same forever. Where do you think that is going to happen? I can tell you. Fantasy Land!!! Keep drinking!

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 2, 2014 at 9:21 am

      Actually in “Math-land” …. because in short order, the MATH will leave no other option.

      Reply

      • Posted by skip3house on July 2, 2014 at 9:59 am

        And, the easiest cost-cut here isn’t being addressed. Mostly all private retired rely on Medicare with a ‘gap’ policy for the 20% Medicare does not cover. Very affordable, as automatically deducted from Social Security checks.
        Except, here in NJ, these deductions are REFUNDED to the NJ Retiree, along with various other free medical care outside Medicare. No ‘gap’ needed here.
        Recalling the NJ Budget for all this free retiree Medical care, paid by most all the other retired here, totals ~$6Billion/yr and growing? What a target, and proven possible by the vast private retirees already paying. Medicare/gap is a bargain even with paying premiums.
        Early NJ retirees can buy Obamacare until 65.x.., as they decided themselves on early retirement. .

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 2, 2014 at 11:17 am

          I suspect much of what you are proposing is now being considered by Gov. Christie …. as healthcare reductions are clearly easier to implement and less subject to Court challenge.

          Reply

  11. Christie has gone down the same path as Bloomberg.

    I knew nothing about Christie before he took office, but he seemed to be a straight shooter. Until he reneged on his own pension reform.

    Similarly, I had some sympathy for Bloomberg and the “uncontrollable costs” of pension deals cut before he took office. Until he cut a deal to allow NYC teachers to retire years earlier in 2008 and said it would cost nothing.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 2, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      What WAS unconscionable was that the Democratic Legislature refused to include the cost of pensions and healthcare benefits under the local 2% caps. Had THAT been done, …… because of the HUGE annual cost increases to maintain the CURRENT level of pensions and benefits FAR FAR above 2%), it would have become obvious very quickly that all other services would have to be sacrificed more and more each year just do Public Sector workers could keep their grossly excessive pensions & benefit promises…… and the elected officials would have have no choice be to forcefully fight for pension & benefit reductions.

      Reply

  12. Posted by Anonymous on August 16, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I think I will “recover” all my contributions + interest (after a 30 year career) in about 5 years into retirement.

    Reply

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