Observations on life

Nothing much changes in politics – New Jersey example

While it’s also true for Republicans, Democrats are particularly deft at playing the same old song, pounding the same drum while expecting exceptional results and ignoring the consequences. 

There is a guy named Phil Murphy running for governor in NJ. I met Phil back in 2005 when he and I were on a Democratic governors commission to evaluate pensions and benefits for state workers and to make recommendations for changes. 

I thought it was a sincere effort but had reservations. The commission report did make recommendations to change plans and save money, but many of the strongest recommendations related to benefit programs were left out of the final report. 

It wasn’t until months later that naive me learned that Chairman Murphy was a former Goldman Sachs top executive, very rich (he once called me from his villa in Tuscany I think it was) and heavily involved in the Democratic party both as participant (fundraiser) and donor (among NJs top donors) and hence very attuned to the demands of NJ unions, especially public employee unions which were the focus of the commission. 

In any case, my real point is that his policy positions now as a candidate are more of the same. More of this and that with no realistic way to pay for more let alone pay for the obligations NJ already has. In addition, he displays the classic disconnect between those who pay and those who receive. Of course, his proposals are very appealing, especially if you ignore the cost or where the money will come from. 

Before we review, please remember that New Jersey is currently one of the highest taxing states in the U.S. which I noted here

STRONGER MINIMUM WAGE –  $15.00 an hour, living wage, ignore who minimum wage workers are, higher costs for employers no mention of consequences for economy 💲💲💲

INNOVATIVE JOB TRAINING – sounds good especially as private partnership

EARNED SICK LEAVE – Everyone should have some sick leave, (NJ has had a short-term disability law for decades and also has a paid leave law) but not implemented correctly it can lead to abuse as it has with State workers. Sick leave needs to be for employee sickness. It’s not an entitlement to be used otherwise nor should it be accumulated or be paid out in cash. 💲💲💲


Keeping Our Promises and Putting Our State’s Finances Back On Track: – what he talks about here is NJ State pension funding, not necessary additional reform and without regard to how it will be paid for or the fact that NJ taxpayers without any retirement plans are the ones footing the bill. Pension costs are one of the main drivers of budget problems and high taxes in NJ. 💲💲💲

Create a New Retirement Plan for Employees of Small Businesses: – more out of the Democratic  playbook. We don’t need any additional retirement plans or added administrative burdens for small business. There are plenty of plans with automatic saving features currently available. 💲💲💲 what happened to myRA?

EQUAL PAY – oh yes, women earn 79% of what men earn. Where have I heard that before? Murphy supports efforts to close the wage gap by prohibiting unequal pay for substantially similar work. Duh? That’s already the law and as we should know by now there is a lot more to fair pay than doing similar work. Shouldn’t all governors be paid the same🤑 Except the pay ranges from $70,000 in Maine to $187,256 in Pennsylvania. Yikes I hope the Maine governor is not a you know, a real xx. 

CHILD AND DEPENDENT CARE TAX CREDIT- okay, and paid for how … higher taxes? 💲💲💲

COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY – hey, all it takes is more (of somebody else’s) money. 💲💲💲

We must tackle our higher education problem head on, by:

Increasing state aid to institutions of higher education; Providing loan forgiveness to STEM graduates working in STEM jobs in the state; and Helping New Jerseyans stuck with student loans at above-market rates by offering state-based refinancing at lower rates.

Creating incentives for private sector employers to provide student loan relief as a core employee benefit.

EXPANDING EITC – more take home pay for some and less revenue for the State 💲💲💲

AFFORDABLE HOUSING – well at least he knows NJ has the highest property taxes in the Nation. “Christie has cut much needed aid to seniors and low- and middle-income New Jersey residents struggling with the nation’s highest property taxes – which continue to increase despite a cap. We must support the development of new, affordable housing while adhering to a smart, sustainable growth model.”  Hey, why not tackle the high property taxes instead of skirting the issue? 💲💲💲

Read the details on his web page here

There you have it right from the liberal playbook. This could be Old BS running except Murphy missed a NJ single-payer health care system. 

The state pensions have not been fully funded by the current or past governors because THEY ARE NOT AFFORDABLE … so, let’s solve that problem first before we raise taxes again to pay for all the goodies being held out to voters. Shouldn’t we ask why New Jersey is so screwed up?


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