I have never seen newly elected Chris Christie speak before, but he struck me as an impressive guy based on this video. The only part I did not like was how he said he'd be more than happy to take federal money when offered but I can at least understand that, and he is at least honest about it. Contrast this to the GOP grandstanders in Congress who cluck about how evil the stimulus is and how they are against it, but even the mainstream media can do enough homework to catch them back in their home districts at photo ops with big fat stimulus checks, with cheesy smiles on their faces.
I will give him credit for saying all the 'easy choices' have been made, and there are no easy answers nor will the decisions make people happy.
Some absolutely shocking statistics...
#1 for fiscal 2011 (which starts this fall) New Jersey is facing a $11 Billion deficit. On a $29 Billion budget. As I keep saying, you think Greece has problems? We have many Greece's running around, throw in a few Portugal's, Ireland's to boot.
#2 we speak of the horror show that is the public pension situation across America. [Jan 5, 2010: FT.com - US Public Pensions Face $2 Trillion Deficit] Christie gave a great example with numbers... he claims a 49 year old retiree (first of all the idea that a 49 year old can retire with full pension is boggling for someone who has only worked in the private sector) will have (a) paid in $124,000 during his career for pension AND healthcare. What does he get outt of that investment? (b) $3.3 MILLION in pension and $500,000 in healthcare benefits. $3.8 million for $124,000 paid in.
That simply does not square with anything in the private sector outside of the executive suite. Many people are simply happy to have a 401k match at this point and will be on their own for healthcare until Medicare kicks in. So it appears New Jersey has the equivalent of a whole class of worker who are at executive level benefits, and can collect even before age 50 if they choose to retire. No wonder they have the highest property taxes in the nation.
I continue to believe there shall be a great rubber meet the road moment between the public worker and private in America. And I continue to believe (as I stated 2+ years ago) we will have stimulus after stimulus after stimulus as backdoor bailouts of the states shall continue each year. In the private sector, the government (if it was a corporation) would be deemed bankrupt and the pensions would go to PBGC and those receiving the pensions would get 10-20 cents on the dollar since there is simply no money to back up these promises. But in the public sector, we are told this is what people earned so we must find more revenue to pay for promises that never had a chance of being paid back. Private v Public - 2 worlds. Your grandchildren will be paying for these obligations - no matter what state you are in. The holes we have dug at the local level no longer can be glossed over with accounting tricks as they have been for a decade+. The can is finally hitting the wall after being kicked....
16 minute video (email readers will need to come to the site to view) - if you have a fiscal conservative bone in your body you will at least have a shred of hope from viewing.