Daily Archives: March 11, 2011

>Doesn’t Anyone Remember Christine Whitman?

>In a CountyFair blog post on the website MediaMatters.org, blogger Jamison Foser asks a simple question “ Doesn’t Anyone Remember Christine Whitman?

It’s a great read and analogy of what transpired in the early 1990’s when young Republican Governors were swept into office and faced huge budget deficits after Bill Clinton became President and what is happening today.

“A young Democrat is elected President on a theme of hope and change, does some of the things he was elected to do, Republicans howl and win control of Congress in a landslide mid-term election, and the media becomes infatuated with a new crop of Republican governors who are trying to dramatically reconfigure state budgets.

“That’s a reasonable summary of the current state of affairs, but it also describes the first few years of Bill Clinton’s presidency. But it isn’t the similarity that’s striking: After all, there’s a reason the phrase “history has a way of repeating itself” exists. Or, perhaps more appropriately: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” See, what’s really striking about the current situation is how few reporters seem to remember what happened in the 1990s.

Most notably, the past few weeks have seen massive media attention paid to state budget deficits, and attempts by Republican governors like Chris Christie to blame out-of-control pension obligations for those deficits (even as they pursue deficit-increasing tax cuts…”

Foser goes on to talk about how NJ Governor Christie Whitman cut taxes and raided the state pension fund in order to close New Jersey’s budget gap even though many critics warned that the State Pension system would see significant shortfall 15-20 years down the road, which of course is what is happening to be now!

“Whitman was one of those star Republican governors of the early 1990s. Like so many other Republican governors who win media attention for innovative approaches, she made her name through the not-so-innovative strategy of cutting taxes. Since she had to offset those tax cuts in order to balance New Jersey’s budget, she reduced payments into the state’s pension system. And that, as the New York Times noted last August, “contributed to the growth of the unfunded liability” that is now widely blamed for New Jersey’s budget shortfall.”

He went on to state that none of this should have come as a surprise to anyone because “when Whitman was defunding the pension system in order to cut taxes, there were warnings that this is exactly what would happen. Here, for example, is a September 5, 1994 Washington Post article:
“The first thing Christine Todd Whitman did upon taking office as governor of New Jersey in January was to cut the state’s income tax. Then in July, as she signed into law her first state budget, the Republican cut taxes again while simultaneously closing the huge deficit left by her predecessor.

This is what her supporters call the Whitman miracle, the fiscal accomplishment that has sent her stock soaring among New Jersey’s voters and transformed her on the national scene from a political unknown into one of the Republican Party’s newest stars.

But the key to the Whitman miracle lies neither in her political philosophy nor in her spending cuts, but rather in the fine print of her budget. Contained there is a series of arcane fiscal changes that some experts say amount to this: Christine Todd Whitman has balanced New Jersey’s books and paid for her tax cut by quietly diverting more than $1 billion from the state’s pension fund.

Whitman calls what she did a “reform” of the pension system that puts it on a more “sound actuarial footing.” Others are less charitable. The one thing that even the actuarial consultants hired by the Whitman administration agree on, however, is that the chief effect of the changes will be to shift billions of dollars in pension obligations onto New Jersey taxpayers 15 to 20 years from now.”


“At best, this represents a gamble that the state’s economy in the early part of the next century will be stronger than it is today and better able to shoulder pension responsibilities. At worst, according to fiscal experts, Whitman’s move represents politics at its most cynical.

In recent years financially strapped governments around the country — including Washington, D.C., and New York state — have raided their pension funds for cash, gambling that when the bills come due their local economies will be in a better position to pay them.

“The New Jersey pension system was highly rated in terms of its fiscal integrity,” said [Henry] Raimondo of the Eagleton Institute. “Now that’s compromised. She has effectively slowed down” the amount of “money going into the system, and in around 2010 the liability to New Jersey taxpayers is going to grow dramatically.”

Foser concluded his post by adding:
“Let’s review: A Republican governor of New Jersey reduced payments to the state pension system so she could cut taxes. Critics warned doing so would cause significant budget shortfalls in 2010. 2010 rolled around, and — surprise! — so did budget shortfalls. And now those shortfalls are used by New Jersey’s current Republican governor (along with many in the media) to justify cutting pensions (while again cutting taxes.)

Basically, conservatives have staged an end-run around having a public debate over cutting pensions in order to pay for tax cuts. Rather than making the argument that tax cuts are more important than pensions, they just went ahead and cut taxes, raiding the pension system in the process, then waited 15 years for predictable — and predicted — deficits, which they now point to as evidence that the pension system is unsustainably generous. And they’ve done it with the help of countless news organizations that fall for this shell game.”

You really need to read the full post, it’s fascinating how history has once again repeated itself.
You can read it >>> here

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Filed under 60 Minutes, Bill Clinton, Bill O'Reilly, budget deficit, Gov. Christie Whitman, Media Matters, New Jersey, pension deficit, Republican Governors, state pension system, tax cuts

>DGA Video: Will GOP Governors ‘Stand with Scott’ Walker’s Power Grab?

>A new ad by the Democratic Governor’s Association features Republican Governors distancing themselves from Scott Walker and asks if they back Walker’s latest efforts to ram through anti-worker agenda. Featured prominently in this video is non other than our Governor, Chris Christie.

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Democratic Governors Association released a video calling on Republican governors to say whether or not they stand with Governor Scott Walker’s union-busting power grab in Wisconsin.

“Many Republican governors understand that the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose Governor Scott Walker’s brazen power grab and they have abandoned him in droves,” DGA Communications Director Lis Smith said. “Now that Governor Walker has resorted to underhanded tactics to subvert the will of the people in Wisconsin and strip workers of their rights, voters in Republican-governed states need to know whether their governor will stand with them or with Scott Walker and his destructive, ideological agenda that will do nothing to create jobs or improve opportunity.”

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Filed under collective bargaining, Democratic Governors Association, Gov. Chris Christie, Gov.Scott Walker, power grab, public employees, Republican Governors, Uncategorized, video, Wisconsin

>Crime Scene Middletown: TWO ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS AT PORT MONMOUTH FOODTOWN

>PREPARED BY DETECTIVE LIEUTENANT STEPHEN DOLLINGER

On March 10, 2011 at approximately 5:16 pm Patrolman Jason Caruso responded to the Port Monmouth Foodtown in reference to a report of a shoplifting. Upon arrival, store security advised Officer Caruso that they had observed Steven Miller, age 39, from Navesink Avenue in Highlands, NJ, conceal an eighteen pack and twelve pack of Coors Light beer by putting the items in his cart and placing his jacket over them.

Miller left the store and was stopped by security near his vehicle. He was taken into custody. Patrolman Caruso transported Miller to police headquarters where he was charged with Shoplifting. He was processed and released on a summons pending a court appearance.

Less than an hour later, Patrolman John Soltysik responded back to the store in reference to a report of another shoplifting. Upon arrival security advised Officer Caruso that they had observed Debra Kelly, age 49, from Ocean Avenue in Middletown, NJ, attempt to conceal numerous food items and Bicardi Rum and leave the store. She was taken into custody.

Patrolman Soltysik transported Kelly to police headquarters where she was charged with Shoplifting. While being processed it was discovered that Kelly had outstanding warrants out of Pompton Lakes and Newark Municipal Courts. She was released after posting $843.00 bail.

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Filed under Crime Scene Middletown, Detective Lieutenant Stephen Dollinger, Foodtown, Middletown NJ, Port Monmouth, shoplifting

>Daily Show Video: Daily Show: Crisis in Dairyland – Apocalypse Cow

>The video below is from last night’s Daily Show with Jon Steward, it talks about how the Republican’s in Wisconsin used a loophole to vote without Democrats in the budget standoff with Governor Scott Walker over the right for public employees to collective bargain.

The segment then quickly segways into who the real villains are in Wisconsin and across the country, they are the Teacher, the greedy, chalk dusted succubi, who so cavalierly drain Wisconsin and the rest of the country dry and continue to laugh in our faces…” .

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Filed under collective bargaining, Gov.Scott Walker, Jon Stewart, Teachers, The Daily Show, Wisconsin