Christie again worked to assure Iowa Republicans that he’s not a belligerent loose cannon but an honest, direct truth-teller. What was different this time was his emphasis on reining in spending on public employees. Hey, if it worked for Walker, why not?
I’m not saying Christie came out here wearing a Wisconsin cheesehead, but he did make a point of talking about pension reform. He said he led “tough, common-sense reform” in New Jersey.
“We still have more work to do. I’ll tell you, not only in my state but in 40 other states in this country, the pension and public employee health-benefit systems are going to be the thing that eats states alive if we don’t get them under control,” Christie said.
“If we do common-sense things like increase the contribution employees have to make, increase the penalties for early retiring, eliminate cost-of-living adjustments, and through those kind of common-sense steps, we’re going to save $120 billion for the pension system over the next 30 years,” Christie said.
He said that legislation passed with a Democratic legislature and public employee unions demonstrating on the state Capitol steps every day. The point, he said, is that even in the bluest of blue states, fiscal reform is possible with the right leadership.
Christie’s audience was relatively small and largely silent until about halfway through, when he started criticizing President Obama’s approach to foreign policy.
If Christie continues to focus on his pension-reform record those crowds will get even smaller and, if they know anything about it, might not be as silent (though not in a good way).
Current administration strategy appears to be to make up your own rules and then stall them into perpetuity in the courts. As one commenter noted:
It’s been several weeks since argument in the funding case and still no decision by the judge. Importantly, argument in the case was scheduled many months after all briefs were submitted. This doesn’t pass the smell test. Jacobsen’s ruling is going to immediately appealed by the losing party so there is absolutely no reason for her, a trial judge, to issue a magnum opus. Also, didn’t the state argue that it was already too late in the state budget cycle for an adverse ruling against the state to be enforced? Her delay only gives greater weight to that argument. I’m also told that the Supreme Court has also delayed review of the Berg petition. I have no clue what the judiciary is waiting for – certainly not the pension commission’s (allegedly) forthcoming report.
So that’s where we stand in New Jersey. Is this state of affairs that Iowans, or anybody else, will vote for?