Friday, March 19, 2010
The rich get fat on Chris Christie's skinny state budget.
New Jersey's Corpulence-in-Chief, Governor Chris Christie, hasn't exactly distinguished himself with his solution to solving Jersey's abysmal financial deficit.
I mean, we get the issue. New Jersey is $10.7 billion dollars in the red; and some seriously uncomfortable budget cuts need to be made - but just as everybody feared, Chris Christie simply doesn't have the stones to make them.
Oh, he can make cuts sure enough: Christie's axe has already lopped off over $800 million in state aid for schools. He's chopped away property tax rebates for seniors, the disabled and people earning less than $75,000 annually. He's planning to fire 1,300 state workers and cut child care subsidies by almost $20 million. Millions of residents of New Jersey are going to feel the pinch as Christie tightens everybody's belt.
But as it turns out, it's not everybody's belt that's going to get tightened. Just ours.
Because in the best tradition of Reagan Republicanism, Chris Christie has decided to top his hack and slash budget proposal with a whopping $1 billion dollar tax cut for the top 2% of New Jersey earners. Those racking in more than $400,000 a year will actually get more money; while the poor and middle class of the state eat up the meat and potatoes of Christie's so-called 'fiscal conservatism.'
Believe me, I would have supported our rotund leader if he'd played hard-ball and just presented these budget cuts for us to approve. I'm a great believer of living within one's means and one of the greatest failings of a Democratic mindset is the belief that you can spend your way out of debt. A lot of decent, hardworking people are going to be hit hard by these budget cuts, but if we want the state to be able to pay its bills, these are sacrifices we're all going to have to make.
But when Christie rams that absurd tax-cut for the rich down our throats, his budgetary 'tough love' starts to look more like abuse. He's firing teachers and trimming welfare for the state's poorest; yet handing over a billion bucks - 10% of the state's shortfall - to those who arguably need it least.
People say it's uncharitable to make fun of Chris Christie's weight; but in this instance I think a fair analogy can be made: Just like a compulsive eater undermines their diet by scoffing a whole box of cookies, Chris Christie has destroyed his credibility as a fiscal conservative by compulsively cramming these ridiculous tax cuts into his budget.
But I suppose none of this should come as a surprise. I outlined Chris Christie's dire record of corruption and greed long before the election. So far, he's lived up to every one of my disappointing expectations since he took office.
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't hold him accountable for it.