Editorial Blasts Christie for Attack on State’s Pension System

Editorial Blasts Christie for Attack on State's Pension System

An editorial by The Asbury Park Press accuses Gov. Chris Christie of trying to cut payments to the state's pension plan again in order to improve the state's fiscal situation, which was ranked last in a national study of state fiscal solvency by Economics Professor Sarah Arnett of George Mason University.

The editorial by the Press' Editorial Board said in part that the governor "displayed his usual tough-guy snark, facing down protesters as he tried to drum up support for taking more benefits away from the state's public workers.

"His time would be better spent meeting with his brain trust to try to drum up fresh ideas to energize the state's flagging economy. But we know why he won't — he's out of meaningful ideas. So instead of potentially drawing attention to those failings, Christie is zeroing in on his old favorite punching bag — middle-class employees with 'Cadillac' benefits.

"It's always easier to blame someone else than accept responsibility. Christie is a master at it. After four-plus years of the governor's leadership, New Jersey is flailing behind its neighbors and much of the nation in a wide range of economic indicators.

"There was a time when Christie was justified with his calls for pension reform. The state's public workers did have it too good in the modern economy. Some givebacks were in order, and an agreement was negotiated and accepted midway through Christie's first term.

"But a funny thing has happened since. The state's economy hasn't meaningfully rebounded. Job growth is stagnant, foreclosures are sky high, and Christie has no answers. His administration has exacerbated the problems with dangerously optimistic revenue projections leading to massive shortfalls.

"Christie's solution? Let's cut payments into the state pension system and take more away from those middle-class workers. That's the Christie game plan, and it no doubt plays well with the national conservatives Christie hopes to please as the governor continues to try to position himself for a presidential run. But we doubt New Jerseyans will be as likely to warm to the idea of targeting public employees yet again.

"New Jersey's pension burden is indeed a crushing one. But demonizing public workers as the overriding threat to the state's future is just Christie's way of hiding from the painful fact that he has nothing else to offer."