Christie Interview Takeaways

Tonight Governor Chris Christie got to recite some talking points (pension stuff at 18:30):
.

.
BJ, a commenter on the nj.com story announcing the program got it right:

This was one of the most pathetic excuses for journalism that I have ever seen.  Shame, shame on WNET, WHYY and the public media people who got involved in this sham.  I kept cringing. It was a farce, not an interview. Clearly, the interviewer was stupid and afraid of Christie.  Clearly the interviewer did no research. And, clearly Christie knew what to expect. An absolute disgrace to public TV.

Even so there were two notable takeaways:

1) Christie may have been told about substantial losses in trust assets:
.

.
Never mind that to have the promises made be fully funded there needs to about $250 billion (with a ‘b’) in assets but the key point here is that the latest statement on the website of the NJ Division of Investment is reporting closer to $80 billion in assets.  Has there been a steep drop due to some reassessment of values?  It would have been an interesting followup question by anyone familiar with the facts.

.
2) Check who your news source is being paid by:

According to the latest 990 form  for Caucus Educational Crop Steve Adubato’s annual compensation is $459,720 plus $62,647 in other deferred compensation.  Chris Christie kicked off his administration by criticizing school superintendents who made higher salaries than the governor.  He apparently has no problem with his lapdogs being paid even more than school superintendents.

The mission of Steve Adubato’s non-profit is described in item 4a of their 990 form as:

Organized to provide the citizens of New Jersey unbiased non-partisan informative and timely analysis of the events and issues that affect them.

As this interview demonstrates, it does nothing of the kind.  What it does do is pay Steve Adubato half-a-million dollars to provide his benefactors with positive advertising.

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on December 23, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Hey John,
    For years 101.5 has presented its own extremely bias and pathetic radio program where they interview the governor and let callers ask questions. What do you think of that sham?

    Reply

    • It’s only Christie image-molding. At this point it’s getting pretty old as the 1% of real news that might sneak out (ie the $70 billion number in this appearance) is not worth having to endure more of his shtick.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Anna Shane on December 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I invite you to repost over at Daily Kos, there is a subgroup called Christie Watch, and if you repost there, it’ll get found and reposted at Christie Watch. It’s a kind of research site for Christie documents, thinking he may be the last to attempt such brazen redistribution of tax money as the internet age makes it harder to get away with. Please do come there, please do repost your research. 50 years from now some graduate student in public policy writing this piece of history will thank you.

    Reply

  3. Posted by dentss@yahoo.com on December 23, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Politicians like to talk about budgetary issues and challenges in pieces -ignoring the big-picture, and inconvenient, collateral effects of their proposed solutions. Even the public, and well-meaning editorial boards, fall prey to this segmentation mentality hoping there is an answer that doesn’t eviscerate their particular sacred cow. Throw in the fact that there is a general belief in a magic bullet that will fix our budget problems and you have a dangerous mix of ignorance and irrational expectation. It is time to clear that up. Governor Christie is right when he says our budget problems are serious. The solutions are going to be painful.

    First, let’s understand that the causes of the problem are rooted in the actions, over the last 20 years, of legislators and governors – Republicans and Democrats – who were either well-meaning, but ultimately ill-informed, or those who consciously opted for political expediency knowing their actions would ultimately bankrupt the state. The former motivation is sad, the latter reprehensible.

    Making certain assumptions about things we can and can’t fund, our structural deficit is around $6.75 billion – inclusive of $1.6 billion in transportation investment per year but exclusive of things we’d love to do like cut property taxes.

    So how do we plug the $6.75 billion hole – what is the magic bullet? There is none. My fellow conservatives who simply say “cut 20% across the board and you’re done!” are fooling themselves. Almost 1/3rd of our budget – around $10 billion – is essentially locked in by federal rules or constitutional mandates or obligations. We can’t default on our debt for instance and we have to pay social security etc. So right there you go from a 20% cut across the board to a 30% cut on the remainder. But that’s not practical for a big chunk of the remainder as well.

    If we cap school aid at $12,000 per student we could save around $700 million. That likely would mean closing some school districts and sending those students elsewhere. I can hear the hue and cry now. But we have to focus on areas where it could be argued we are spending too much. Schools that cost us more than $20k a kid per year – and still provide a lousy education – swallow hundreds of $millions. If we make fundamental change there we can save big $ – and serve those kids better!

    Another area where we spend much more money than other states – and is a big percentage of our budget – is pensions and health benefits. I know – I hear the pronouncements “we have to keep our promises.” But in reality almost every dollar we spend has been “promised” to some important cause or constituency. Pension obligations should be around 7% of a state budget. Our obligation is 15% of ours (would have risen to approximately 25% before the 2011 reforms). We spend almost $8 billion in pension and health benefits. Let’s say we all can figure out a way to trim those by 10% – that’s $800 million in savings.

    So…we have come up with $1.5 billion in savings. We will still need to come up with another $5.25 billion but we only have around $13 billion from which to cut. That’s a 40% cut to operations that are already running on fumes. You going to cut home health aides who are already overworked, haven’t had a raise in years and make $12 bucks an hour? How about massive cuts to higher education (NJ already falls well below national average) or aid to municipalities – which would drive up property taxes?

    My friends on the other side of the aisle argue that we should raise taxes to plug the gap, and regularly rule out additional cuts to school funding and pensions and benefits. Problem there is that we are already one of the highest taxed states in the nation. And we aren’t talking about small tax increases on small segments of the population. The so-called “millionaires tax” in its most optimistic form would only raise around $800 million – and would risk driving away some of our largest taxpayers – leaving the rest of us remaining to pick up the future obligations. If one is going to make an argument against the cuts I mention above he must be honest and admit that he is instead opting for massive tax increases on everyone – not just the “rich.” Want to plug a $6.75 billion hole with income taxes – it would take a 50% increase – on every taxpayer!

    So you see folks, there is no magic bullet. This ain’t going to be at all easy. But we have no choice. Only after we understand and accept the overarching problem can we move forward with a dynamic, balanced mix of solutions….I could not post a link but I lifted this from Moremonmousingmusing ………it’s a great read

    Reply

  4. Posted by Tough Love on December 23, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Quoting …

    “Another area where we spend much more money than other states – and is a big percentage of our budget – is pensions and health benefits. I know – I hear the pronouncements “we have to keep our promises.” But in reality almost every dollar we spend has been “promised” to some important cause or constituency. Pension obligations should be around 7% of a state budget. Our obligation is 15% of ours (would have risen to approximately 25% before the 2011 reforms). We spend almost $8 billion in pension and health benefits. Let’s say we all can figure out a way to trim those by 10% – that’s $800 million in savings.”

    No, let’s cut the taxpayer-funded cost of Public Sector pensions for all CURRENT workers ALL THE WAY down to what Private Sector workers typically get from their employers 3%-4% of pay into a 401K Plan. And for the (roughly) 25% of NJ’s workers (mostly police) that are not in Social Security, we should contribute an additional 6.2% of pay annually (the SAME as what Private Sector employers contribute into SS on THEIR workers’ behalf).

    That’s called EQUAL …. and if it’s not enough for Public Sector workers, then they are “moochers” and tell them tough luck, and ,………. If you want MORE, then pay for it yourself.

    And since Private Sector workers RARELY get ANY employer-provided retiree healthcare benefits any longer, that what Taxpayers should contribute towards Public Sector workers’ retiree healthcare benefits … NOTHING.

    That is also called EQUAL.

    —————————

    Do 100% of the above and a large share of all the total savings needed will RIGHTFULLY and JUSTLY come from the most egregious source …Public Sector pensions & benefits.

    Reply

  5. Wasn’t Adubato a Democratic politician? He can hardly be called a lapdog for Republicans.

    What may be fairer is that he is unwilling to severely point the finger at older generations of taxpayers/employees for selling out younger generations of taxpayers/employees. Though doing so would mostly absolve Christie for causing the problem, if not for failing to be honest about it and solve it.

    What the so-called liberal media generally wants to pretend is that there is no problem, or that it was all caused by Wall Street, and therefore their crowd should be exempted from the sacrifices. They aren’t yet at the point of fairly assessing blame and taking that into account when distributing pain. Neither is the so-called conservative media.

    The longer they put off facing realities, the longer the beneficiaries can keep robbing the victims.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Quoting … “Though doing so would mostly absolve Christie for causing the problem, if not for failing to be honest about it and solve it.”

      You say that as though Christie would not have done so (via MUCH greater pension & benefit reductions for all CURRENT workers) if only our UNION-BOUGHT-OFF Democratic Legislature would have allowed it.

      If you recall, his original proposal was NOT for the Local budget-increase cap of 2% (EXCLUDING a cap on pension, healthcare, and debt expenses …. the most egregious expenses), but for a 2.5% cap INCLUDING pension, healthcare, and debt expenses. The Democratic Legislature caved into Public Sector Union pressure NOT TO DO SO, knowing that this would create such a squeeze on Local Budgets, that to avoid massive Local service cuts they would HAVE TO materially reduce the current grossly excessive pensions & benefits now promised all Public Sector workers.

      If you want to blame someone, blame our BOUGHT-OFF Democratic Legislators who trade their favorable votes on Public Sector pay, pensions, and benefits for the campaign contributions, election support, and block votes of the insatiably greedy Public Sector Unions/workers.

      ———————-

      Where you’re correct, is where you said ……… “The longer they put off facing realities, the longer the beneficiaries can keep robbing the victims.”……. the “beneficiaries” being the Public Sector workers, and the “victims” being the Taxpayers.

      Reply

  6. So when will the Commission release its findings and recommendations?   Happy New Year,   Joel L. Frank

         

    Reply

  7. […] below but this next video tells us much more: . Would Gibbons or those unions really pay part of Steve Adubanto’s half-a-million-dollar salary if he were to put out anything more incisive (or threatening to them) than this: . . […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: