The one thing more frustrating then living through a governorship dominated by ill-thought-out schemes foisted on an apathetic electorate by a clueless blowhard is reading about it. So it is with American Governor, a new book by Matt Katz who has been stalking Chris Christie and reporting on it for pay.
I read the ‘Union Wars’ chapter (and skimmed a few others) and found only a rehash of things I already knew both literally (95% of the book seems shallow enough to have appeared in a newspaper first) and deductively (Christie is an asshole who would have never risen to the governorship if there were skills beyond fundraising necessary to be appointed a US Attorney and New Jersey were not the pay-to-play capital of the universe).
For the record, my few notable excerpts:
These two youtubes pretty much sum it up:
Steven Malanga had an interesting article in City Journal today:
that touched on some history of the false idol of investment return as cure-all for the public pension crisis (with New Jersey prominent):
This was a blog I was going to save until Chris Christie got his 1% in Iowa and 4% in New Hampshire* and left the race after trying to broker an ambassadorship (to Texas?) for himself from Trump but, since he started early:
Jake Tapper, with all due respect, could have followed up with either:
- John Kasich was elected governor of Ohio in 2010; or
- Jeb Bush at the end of his second term as governor of Florida was “as popular as ever”.
When he drops out I see Christie claiming to have run a solid campaign but what got him in the end was the absolute fiscal mess that is New Jersey which he did all he could to clean up.
Who knows? Under Corzine or Buono would we have had:
- Atlantic City bankrupt already?
- 15 credit downgrades?
- no Transportation Trust Fund?
But there are two areas I have experience with and I grade Christie an F on both. Here are my first-hand examples:
It looks like Moody’s has released another report on the sad state of the New Jersey Public Employee Retirement System but the article on nj.com did not fire as many flares as New Jersey itself did in a recent bond statement. After the SEC found some fraud in these statements before the state has introduced some harsh truths into their disclosures.
Notable excerpts follow:
Bloomberg came out with a story today reviewing the sad fiscal state of New Jersey with some neat charts (reproduced at bottom) that kicked off with:
The fight in New Jersey over funding government workers’ pensions is coming to a head — and no one disputes that it’ll be costly to taxpayers.
But later in the story (emphasis added):
The measure, which has the support of public-employee unions, was introduced by Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat, after state courts upheld Christie’s ability to pay less than called for under the 2011 law. If approved by voters in November, the constitutional change would put the state on track to make full actuarially required payments by 2022, save taxpayer money and cut the unfunded liability by $4.9 billion over three decades, he said.
I would be fine with the reporting on this statement if it ended with qualifiers like:
[Author’s note: This blog piece has been posted simultaneously here and on countywatchers with only a few words of the lead-in example altered]
What became obvious to me early on blogging here:
Public plan actuaries lie about everything for personal gain and to appease their patrons
What then became obvious, and disturbing, is that the media, what little of it there was (and is) covering real issues on this topic, did not seem to notice and the general public suffers to varying degrees due to their willful ignorance, self-interest, or simple laziness in admitting this useful piece of information into their coverage which would then explain a number of subsequent fiascoes that I chronicled here that always seemed to catch the general public by surprise and should have opened up those mainstream media outlets to derision, if not legal action.
It’s not happening and one new book even takes the position that it is the blogosphere that is intruding upon the news outlets who whore themselves out to those they cover. In The First Amendment Bubble: How Privacy and Pararazzi Threaten a Free Press, Amy Gajda argues that abuses by quasi-journalists (publishing mugshots and revenge-porn) is limiting what ‘real’ journalists get access to and she uses the example of The County Watchers (sic) in her book (from page 153):