Christie No Stern

Why is Donald Trump packing stadiums while Christie’s people are checking out Denny’s breakfast specials to anticipate the size of his crowds? Maybe it has to do with the Howard Stern effect:
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Chris Christie was on Face the Nation this morning guaranteeing a top-ten placing for the next debate – video link – and giving his entitlement reform spiel – no video link on the CBS website since there was nothing new and people either don’t want to hear it or understand that Christie is getting it wrong.

Entitlements are basically transfer payments and it is the people Christie is primarily talking to these days (retirees in New Hampshire eating Grand Slamwiches) who benefit the most.  They don’t want to hear that their future incomes are in jeopardy or, even worse, that they are living off their children so they tune out.

Then we have Christie’s own spotty record with public pensions in New Jersey and his constant conflation of debt with entitlements to come up with his 71% entitlement percentage*.

After you flub your own pension reform and demonstrate a weak grasp of the real scale of the problem you are talking about, who would want to see what you’ll say next?

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* What percentage of that 71% is debt is never mentioned (nor what the point of adding any debt amount to his argument is) but there are scary enough projections of the entitlement problem, including by Nicholas Eberstadt’s in “A Nation of Takers: America’s Entitlement Epidemic” where he lays out a little historical perspective on pages 10-11:

In 1960, entitlement program transfer payments accounted for well under one-third of the federal government’s total outlays – about the same fraction as in 1940, when the Great Depression was still shaping American life, with unemployment running in the range of 15 percent. But then – in just a decade and a half – the share of entitlements in total federal spending suddenly spurted up from 2.8 percent to 51 percent. It did not surpass the 50 percent mark again until the early 1990s. But over the past two decades it rose almost relentlessly, until by 2010 it accounted for just about two-thirds of all federal spending, with all other responsibilities of the federal government – defense, justice, and all the other charges specified in the Constitution or undertaken in the intervening decades – making up barely one-third. Thus, in a very real sense, American governance has literally turned upside-down by entitlements – and within living memory.

The story on the (im)balance between entitlement transfers and overall government activities – at the federal, state, and local levels – is none too different. In 1940, federal government transfers to individuals amounted to under one-sixth of total U.S. government outlays; in 1960, twenty years later, these entitlements still comprised barely 19 percent of all U.S. government expenditures. Between 1960 and 2010, the share of entitlements in government spending at all levels jumped from 19 percent to 43 percent – and the ratio of non-entitlement to entitlement spending fell from 4.2:1 down to 1.2:1.

…the overall structure of government entitlement spending can be classified into just a few categories:

  1. income maintenance

  2. Medicaid

  3. Medicare

  4. Social Security

  5. unemployment insurance

  6. all the others

68 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Please America the beautiful, Life, Liberty, and Hypocrisy by BOTH parties!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Time for NJ to get with the program, reduction of health coverage to gold, free coverage for member, 100% premium share for spouse and dependents!

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on August 23, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      Free coverage for the member? It’s not really free, you mean that Taxpayers should pay for 100% of the cost. Why should they? Please tell me what workers in the Private Sector gets 100% of the cost paid for by his/her employer.

      Public Sector workers are entitle a healthcare subsidy EQUAL TO what their Private Sector counterparts get, but no more … on the Taxpayers’ dime.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on August 23, 2015 at 7:56 pm

        And think “Silver”, not “Gold” …. unless the workers want to kick-in more of THEIR OWN money.

        Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2015 at 8:49 pm

        Actually what I’ve stated is the norm (medium standard gold coverage for member with no premium share and 50% – 100% premium share for spouse and dependents) for most large employers, which the State of NJ would be considered. Yes it’s not free and yes it’s paid for by the consumer, which in this case is the taxpayer.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on August 23, 2015 at 9:01 pm

          I am in the financial service industry and am very quite well versed on employee benefits. I am categorically stating that ZERO premium share for the employee is not only NOT the “norm” but EXTREMELY EXTREMELY rare.

          Would you mind sharing your source for you information ?

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2015 at 9:14 pm

            Personal experience based on interviews with private sector companies and conversation with friends and neighbors. The medium gold coverage seems consistent, the premium share varies from zero to 30% for employee and 30% to 100% for spouse and dependents. In the small sample the 30% premium share covered the employee, their spouse and dependents. Whereas when the employee’s premium share was zero, the spouse and dependents premium share ranged from 50% to 100%.

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2015 at 9:32 pm

            Hey TL financial services industry is positioned to greatly benefit from more DB participation, similar to the opponents of Bush’s failed SS privatization!

            Enjoy your equal and fair management fees for the greater good my foot!!

  3. Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    The Donald stiffed numerous employees/vendors out of multi millions over his bankruptcies but never made good even though he’s made billions. Legal yes, morally a bufon – this is how we want the USA to be represented?

    Reply

  4. Posted by george on August 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    unemployment insurance

    At least in theory unemployment insurance is supposed to be a government monopoly operated as a business not an entitlement.

    Why is social security an entitlement but other fed gov employee pensions are not?

    Reply

  5. Posted by skip3house on August 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Aug 22: Trump exposes Heath Ins rip-off, but Press dwells on Oreo cookies. Are we as stupid as he says?

    Reply

  6. Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Are we kidding ourself, this guy clearly only cares about one thing HIMSELF. Anything he might do as POTUS would be to that end, period!

    Reply

  7. Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    G(ood)O(ld)P(rotagonist) on what’s wrong with the us(A).

    Reply

  8. Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    http://news.yahoo.com/walkers-health-plan-hinges-tricky-subsidy-rollback-122510738–politics.html

    More GOP BS from Walk(er) on by, for the greater good really, come on who do they think they’re fooling!!!

    Reply

  9. Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 7:23 am

    It’s clear that some private sector bloggers have self serving interests unrelated to being a taxpayer. Publics sarcastically referred to as brightest and best yet it was the financial services and banking industry that nearly sent this country over the cliff. It took trillions of taxpayer dollars to bail them and us out of economic armageddon. Zero creditability!

    Reply

    • Posted by skip3house on August 24, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Helped by both parties in 1998 Government dropping the Glass/Seigal provision that kept investment gambling from basic banking…….put in due to Depression era lesson.

      Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on August 24, 2015 at 10:56 am

      Can’t you use your own power of reasoning (to evaluate what is stated and the evidence/demonstrations provided to support those statements) and step beyond the messenger. Are your Unions really a good source for “unbiased” information ?

      Anyone who TRULY believes (not just says) that the Defined benefits pension Plans (AND retiree healthcare benefits) now in place for Public Sector workers are not grossly excessive when compared to those granted similarly situated Private Sector workers, is woefully short in grey matter.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 11:03 am

        Tainted message from a self serving messenger, you conviently change the topic to deflect your real stake in the situation.

        Reply

        • Posted by skip3house on August 24, 2015 at 12:20 pm

          …… if competition or a single payer, as in Medicare, were part of ObamaCare the profit sucking health insurance companies (middle men, protecting ‘their influence areas’), would instead become less a cost burden. (just realized by Trump). Same thought for Part D Rx….why is it prohibited from bargaining pricing? All ‘D’ did was close down importing less expensive Canada Rx, and add $55/mo premium not included in ‘out of pocket costs.’

          Nothing though for the cruelest, albeit hidden, NJ Tax…..School property tax not at all based on ability to pay.
          True, many, or all people you know may pay more if the fair NJ Income tax were to replace this school property tax burden, but isn’t that part of our duty, treat the poorer among us fairly? And, isn’t a well educated poorer class one of our basic strengths?

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 12:33 pm

            Totally agree on the single payer analogy. Let the insurance companies (which s/b not for profit if they have their policyholder’s best interest) bid on regional claims processing contracts. Trump just figured this out, another of our brightest and best. BTW, Obama initially tried to do that but got too much push back from both parties. Go figure, talk about a stacked deck.

          • Posted by skip3house on August 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm

            We could be related?
            About that NJ cruel school prop tax,……Moving school prop tax to NJ Income…2 quick advantages
            1. No need for Rebate systems
            2. Big step toward eliminating Assessment Bureaucracy………incl. various local assessment rates to fair County rate,…

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

            Possibly and absolutely with one glitch, Abbott Districts. Do you handle that with a surcharge tax dedicated to those Districts or look to elimate it through the courts?

          • Posted by skip3house on August 24, 2015 at 12:55 pm

            No more Abbotts. NJ Income tax sent to towns based on student population, about equal amount per pupil.
            Let each town do what they can, learning from each other. No pressure to pay more by households in towns.
            If need exists for more dollars, then NJ Income tax goes up, but equally spread to all students in all schools…..if NJ Leg even approves the increase

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 1:04 pm

            Works for me but ultimately it’ll be up to the NJSC.

          • Posted by skip3house on August 24, 2015 at 1:08 pm

            NJSC not involved as all funding for all students equal, not as when assessments used.

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 1:43 pm

            Understood and agree but there’s always some special interest group with an ax to grind. For example, due to the generational disadvantage more than a proportional per pupil share is required to provide an “fair and equal” educational opportunity.

          • Posted by skip3house on August 24, 2015 at 2:34 pm

            Wow! I give up.”… the central lesson is that where you grow up makes a difference..”

  10. Not entirely sure here, but I think the highest tax rate back in the 1970’s or so was close to 70%? That’s a lot of tax dollars as a % and so relative to the actual entitlements paid, it makes sense it would be a lower number relative to todays $$$. Also, I’m sure not as many people were living into their 90s as they are today so again, another reason for increased entitlements. Taxes are lower today and more people are receiving elderly care. And by the way, I don’t entirely agree that Social Security, Medicaid and Disability are exactly “entitlements” since all are paid by users (to some extent or another).

    If I die at age 62 with no heirs, does my estate get all those contributions back? I don’t think so. Conversely, some people take out more than they put in. I think of it as an insurance policy, not an entitlement. As an insurance policy, the receipt of any of the above insurance payments should be “means-tested” and if your rich, you don’t get any of your insurance premiums back unless and until you really need them.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on August 24, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      In the determination of “rich” for means testing, the value of (the VERY VERY generous) Public Sector DB pensions should be included. Most full career (25-30+ year) Police or Fire retirees get a DB pension with a lump sum “value upon retirement” 20 times the starting single life (annual) annuity payout.

      E.G., a $100,000 annual pension (with COLA adjusts) has a value of $2 Million at the time of retirement.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 3:34 pm

        I’m sorry did you say something meaningful?

        Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 8:19 pm

        Man the silt is getting deep, bring on the dredger!

        Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 8:44 pm

        Lol!!!! There she goes…. $100,000 pensions are simply not the norm for public sector pensions. TL, will twist and manipulate those numbers to fit her ideals and moronic argument. I still firmly believe her entire premis is moot!!! Private vs. Public…equal vs. fair. It’s all so relative on the individual. My brother in law makes 2.5 mill per year…. He doesn’t even understand nor care about pensions and equal or fair. His main concern is making 2.5 million per year. My neighbor is a retired widow firefighter, she brings in $25,000 per year on a widows pension. People fail to realize that regardless of what side of the fence you are on… It’s people’s lives in the balance. This blog, simply by its intention, is to bash pensions and the public workers. All the numbers and the how’s and whys mean crap to the people effected by it. TL, feels no pain from any of this. Yet she feels some jealous rage to spew this equal and fair bullcrap over and over again. It’s boring. It’s played out. And seriously…. Where has it gotten you?????

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on August 24, 2015 at 9:01 pm

          $100K pension are becoming the NORM for retiring Police Officers in NJ

          Reply

          • “Becoming?” That is the norm for a long time. Even worse for the State Police. Very trying giving out all those moving violations on the GSP and the NJT. Six figures plus well deserved at age 55 after 30 years of looking out for speeders.

        • Posted by Tough Love on August 24, 2015 at 9:06 pm

          No “bullcrap”…. just accurate statements that you object to because I strongly advocate to eliminate the huge Compensation ADVANTAGE that is now enjoyed by NJ’s Public Sector workers.

          Your position is driven by greed and avarice for NJ’s Taxpayers.

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 9:46 pm

            It’s definitely BULLCRAP for TPAF & PERS because $100k pensions are not the norm, period fact. Source data please, % of $100k pensions to total number of pensioners and average pensions.

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2015 at 10:35 pm

            Go back to doing what you do best, the private sector financial services brightest and best brining us to the brink of economic disaster!

          • Posted by Tough Love on August 25, 2015 at 12:42 am

            Anon, Where I live in NJ the 5-th year patrolman makes over 125K and rising annually over the current contract.

            A 30-yr of service retiree gets 70% of final pay. Therefore, to get a $100K pension, the final pay would need to be $100,000/0.7 = $142,857.

            Few officers retire at the rank of patrolman, most Sargents, Lieutenants, Captains and even Chiefs. It’s not hard to envision the average final salary of new 30-yr retirees being $142,857 or higher.

          • Posted by Tough Love on August 25, 2015 at 1:55 am

            Anon, Thought I’d look back at the Police Salaries for Ridgewood NJ (complied for a comment on an earlier Blog article).

            Of the 37 officers, 9 had 20+ years of service. 7 of the 9 had wages over the $142,857 (the other 2 just missed it). 3 of the 9 were over $175K, and the average salary for all 9 was $154.8K

            Of the 37 officers, 7 had 16-20 years of service. 3 of the 7 had wages over the $142,857 and the average salary for all 7 was $148.2K

            —————————————————-
            Sure DOES looks like newly retiring long-career Police do indeed retire with $100+K pensions.

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2015 at 7:27 am

            Which part of not for TPAF and PERS don’t you understand? Like your friend and fellow blogger BH says don’t lump us all together. Health benefits changes yes but $100k pensions the norm BULLCRAP!

          • Posted by BH on August 25, 2015 at 10:23 am

            Very few make it to 30 years….. And most retire at 25 yrs with 65%….of the base!!!! So what you see as salary is not pensionable. There’s tons of other things that get taken out when the state figures out the pension number….. So keep inflating your bogus numbers!!!!! Many in the safety professions leave at 20 years. That’s 50% with no healthcare. So go back and rethink your lies!!!
            Jealousy!!!!!

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2015 at 10:38 am

            http://www.theonion.com/article/out-control-scott-walker-injured-after-wildly-care-51167 oh well there’s always next time, or maybe not just ask Krispy Kreme

          • Posted by Tough Love on August 25, 2015 at 11:54 am

            Quoting BH …. “So what you see as salary is not pensionable. ”

            Could you be any MORE of a clown ?

            I’m look at actual base salaries of “actives”. Of course they are “pensionable” when they retire.

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2015 at 12:04 pm

            TL & BH c/b neighbors – LOL!

          • Posted by BH on August 25, 2015 at 12:40 pm

            Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2015 at 12:04 pm
            TL & BH c/b neighbors – LOL!
            Well, I know I wouldn’t be the one with my face stuffed into a pillow…. Just sayin

          • Posted by BH on August 25, 2015 at 12:44 pm

            TL……….””Of the 37 officers, 9 had 20+ years of service. 7 of the 9 had wages over the $142,857 (the other 2 just missed it). 3 of the 9 were over $175K, and the average salary for all 9 was $154.8K””

            Please show me where you found these numbers???? I know that maybe the chief of police could make $175…..but that’s very very low for a CEO with a 40 person company

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2015 at 1:57 pm

            BH anybody reading this blog knows TL underlying message has merit but the song he’s singing is way out of tune!

          • Posted by Tough Love on August 25, 2015 at 6:12 pm

            BH, Here is the source UPDATED for 2014 salaries, a few percent HIGHER than the data I reported earlier (based on 2013 salaries). Top salary is $182K, likely for the Police chief.

            P.S. I ignored the Firemen and gave only Police Officer data. Click on any NAME for details for any individual.

            http://php.app.com/NJpublicemployees14/results.php?pageNum_Recordset1=3&totalRows_Recordset1=77&lastn=&firstn=&location=RIDGEWOOD+VILLAGE&countyname=%25&fundname=Police+and+Firemens+Retirement+System&Submit=Search

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2015 at 6:22 pm

            Just an FYI as I’m unfamiliar with this data source. The salary amounts are * with an explanation they may be inflated due to retroactive salary increases and other items, probably overtime and clothing allowance, neither of which are pensionable.

  11. Posted by skip3house on August 24, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Good common sense, as ‘entitlements’ is political attack on defense of paid for social programs so wealthy can cut their taxes even more before we wise up and add all types income to our pot.
    They know the best defense is attack. Regards

    Reply

  12. The upcoming stock market collapse will take care of the public takers pensions issue. Once and for all. Tick Tock Public Takers Tick Tock.

    Reply

  13. Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2015 at 7:58 am

  14. Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2015 at 9:43 am

    The math doesn’t work argument while accurate is laughable because it assumes even if we had the reforms discussed on this blog the State would have made the revised necessary employer (yes taxpayer $) contributions. Well at this point its all heresay but given history most would say we’d still have a math problem.

    P&B Commission reforms with dedicated funding on a constitutional amendment. Any deviation from the amendment clause terminating it with reinstatement of pre reform benefits and funding (or lack of).

    Reply

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