The Budgetbusters

In the last episode of “The Christie Chronicles” I told the sad story of the plague of traffic violations notices descending on me like a ticker tape parade. It is a clear case, I argued, of shameful government over reach. Was the Christie administration out to get me because of these blog posts I have been writing as the Governor’s Boswell without portfolio, which some may consider less than flattering? A random sampling of responses from readers concluded: “yes, it was.”

I had been warned earlier. “Watch out, Kitman,” emailer Piwacket12 wrote, “The inspectors will be finding a massively leaking oil tank in your backyard. And they will know where to look because they put it there.”

Now I know our governor is a vindictive man. He has a low threshold of criticism. Anything less than unstinting praise is painful. Look at how he has treated my favorite government watchdog in Trenton, David Rosen.

The Congressional Budget Office in Washington is a non-partisan legislative office that often questions the Executive Branch’s over –enthusiastic financial projections. In Trenton, we have a similar non-partisan agency, the Office of Legislative Services. Its chief budget officer for 30 years has been David Rosen.

For the two fiscal years ending in 2013, Rosen predicted a $1.3 billion revenue shortfall. This was in contrast to the Christie administration’s prediction of a balanced budget.

For two years, our governor has been calling Rosen “Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers. Why would anybody with a functioning brain believe this guy? How often do you have to be wrong to finally be dismissed? It should be humiliating to him. Nobody in this state believes David Rosen any more. Nobody. And nobody should. He is so wrong for so long that his credibility is gone….”

Once again Dr. Kevorkian of the Number’s predictions seemed somewhat more accurate, as it was announced this week the Christie administration planned to grab $2.43 billion meant for the pension system to balance the state budget. Once again, the Battle of the Bulge ended with the Christie math being the figment of a Budgetbuster’s imagination.

What do I, the governor’s most ardent apologizer-in-chief, make of all of this?

First of all, I wouldn’t hire Chris Christie as my accountant.

Secondly, he is not the first politician to make promises that are not being fulfilled. Gov. Corzine—that fiscal whiz from Goldman Sachs, who most recently seemed to misplace several billion as chief executive of MF Global— also failed to balance the budget while raiding the state pension funds. Moving money around in Trenton always reminds me of the Three-card Monte games on the old Atlantic City boardwalk.

What can a presidential aspirant like my idol Chris Christie, who has made his reputation on fiscal integrity, do about the shortfall?

Well, he could raise taxes on the rich, the so-called “millionaire’s tax.”

We Republicans don’t do things like that. We prefer to squeeze the underfunded, the seniors and retirees whose property tax rebate has been cut off since 2010 to help solve earlier Christie budget crisis. We believe in crushing the poor. Haven’t you noticed who is against raising the minimum wage? We are the party that believes paying people a dollar or two extra will send business owners to the Poor House.

He could raise the gas tax. You don’t have to read the governor’s lips. He is against raising all taxes, especially the gas tax, the lowest in the country.

A higher tax might decrease the number of New Yorkers who come to our state just to buy cheap gas, reducing the toll on our crumbling roads and bridges. “Why else would anybody come across the bridge,” explained one of my New York friends, ignoring visiting our cultural attractions, such as shopping malls.

What the governor should be doing in the brief time he has left before the presidential nominating circus begins in 2016 is bringing up Benghazi.

What we Republicans do in time of economic crisis is bring up Benghazi.

I don’t understand why the governor isn’t denouncing the Joint Legislative Committee in Trenton still investigating Bridgegate, and not asking what about Benghazi? Doesn’t the governor realize that we Republicans are treating Benghazi as the biggest thing since Pearl Harbor?

True, judging by the eight other full investigations, it didn’t seem to have anything to do with New Jersey. So far. But you never know, do you?

I can hear the Republican campaign song in 2016:

“Let’s remember Benghazi/ As we go to meet the foe/
 Let’s remember Benghazi/ As we did the Alamo.”

Forget playing the numbers game, Chris; get with our Republican message.

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Marvin Kitman
May 22, 2014

Marvin Kitman is the author of “The Making of the Preƒident 1789.” “George Washington’s Expense Account” by Gen. George Washington and Marvin Kitman PFC (Ret.) was the best-selling expense account in publishing history.