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“Christie’s New Jersey Faces Yet Another Downgrade”: The State’s Structural Finances Are In A Very Precarious Condition

It was about a year ago when New Jersey’s debt was downgraded for the sixth time since Gov. Chris Christie (R) took office in 2010. The announcement came soon after the Republican governor scrapped his state pension-reform plan.

Four months later, the Garden State was hit with another downgrade. Then another. Late yesterday, it happened yet again.

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded New Jersey’s debt rating, dealing the Garden State its record ninth ratings cut since Gov. Chris Christie took office.

The ratings drop by one notch, from A1 to A2, on $32.2 billion worth of bonds underscores the state’s “weak financial position and large structural imbalance, primarily related to continued pension contribution shortfalls,” Moody’s said in a statement Thursday…. Credit downgrades make it more expensive for the state to borrow money to pay for things like road improvements and school construction.

The agency warned that the state’s structural finances are in a precarious enough condition that future downgrades may be necessary.

Christie not only holds the state record for the governor with the most downgrades, he holds a comfortable lead in this ignominious competition against his next closest rival.

In the larger context, I don’t doubt that the governor will kick off his presidential campaign soon, but I’m honestly not sure what he’ll say.

State pension reform, the “landmark achievement” of Christie’s first term, is no more. He’s still getting slammed, repeatedly, for the bridge scandal, which isn’t yet resolved. Job creation in New Jersey has been slower than most of the country, and its unemployment rate is still above the national average.

The Republican can’t point to his management skills, or his presidential temperament, or his legislative accomplishments. He can’t point to his standing in the polls, or his electability, or his major donors who’ve started to embrace different candidates.

Unpredictable things happen during a race for national office, but in a crowded, competitive field, it’s tough to see Christie’s road to success.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 17, 2015

April 18, 2015 Posted by | Chris Christie, New Jersey, Pension Plans | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brazen: Eric Cantor’s Chutzpah

Eric Cantor’s op-ed laying out the Republican agenda is filled with the kind
of distortions you’d expect, but this passage deserves special commendation.
After decrying a National Labor Relations Board Ruling, he continues:

Such behavior, coupled with the president’s insistence on raising the top tax rate paid by individuals and small businesses, has resulted in a lag in growth that has added to the debt crisis, contributing to our nation’s credit downgrade.

So Cantor is arguing that S&P downgraded U.S. debt because of President
Obama’s future plans to increase the top tax rate. That’s such a mind-boggling
claim that even Cantor cannot bring himself to put it in quite these terms. So
instead he breaks it into a series of steps.

First, he claims that the future promise of upper-bracket tax hikes “has
resulted” in a lag in growth. (Question: if the mere possibility of future tax
hikes is enough to depress growth, why don’t we go ahead and just raise taxes?
If we’re going to get the slower growth anyway, might as well get the revenue,
right?)

Second, the lag in growth “caused” by hypothetical future tax hikes added to
the debt crisis.

Third, the debt crisis contributed to the downgrading of the debt.

It’s a fairly brilliant bit of rhetoric. After all, S&P specifically cited the Republican threat to fail to lift the debt ceiling and Republican refusal
to consider any tax increases
as the cause of the downgrade. cantor has
found a way to present Obama’s support for higher taxes as the cause of the
downgrade. That’s so brazen I almost have to admire it.

By: Jonathan Chait, The New Republic, August 22, 2011

August 23, 2011 Posted by | Businesses, Class Warfare, Congress, Conservatives, Consumers, Corporations, Debt Ceiling, Economic Recovery, Economy, GOP, Ideologues, Ideology, Income Gap, Labor, Lawmakers, Middle Class, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Tax Loopholes, Taxes, Teaparty, Wealthy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Boehner Pretends He Isn’t Speaker Of The House

Perhaps my favorite GOP response to the downgrade announcement came from the Speaker of the House.

Said House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio): “Democrats who run Washington remain unwilling to make the tough choices required to put America on solid ground.” He quoted the S&P report as saying that reforming entitlement programs is necessary, but he did not mention its discussion of the potential need for new tax revenue.

This is almost beautiful, in a comedic sort of way.

First, S&P blamed Boehner’s hostage strategy for the downgrade, so Boehner trying to shift the blame elsewhere is cheap and cowardly. Second, Dems were willing to make all kinds of “tough choices,” but found Boehner was too weak to persuade his own caucus to compromise.

But that’s just routine nonsense. What I especially enjoyed is the notion that, from Boehner’s perspective, Democrats “run Washington.”

I’ve noticed the Speaker has referenced that wording a few times recently, so I checked Boehner’s own website to see how many times the Speaker’s office has used the phrase. I found over 3,000 results. For a guy who’s only been Speaker for seven months, it suggests this is a phrase Boehner absolutely loves.

There is, however, one small problem, which Boehner may have lost sight of: he’s the elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was able to become Speaker because Republicans enjoy a House majority.

And if Republicans enjoy a House majority, it necessarily means Democrats don’t “run Washington.”

This need not be complicated. When Boehner goes to work, does he see the Secret Service agents around him? Does he notice where it says “Speaker of the House” above the door he walks through? Does he realize when President Obama negotiates with him, it’s not because the president enjoys Boehner’s company?

Obviously, I get the point of the little rhetorical exercise. Washington is unpopular, so Boehner wants voters to blame the party that “runs” things in DC. But as rhetorical games go, this one is just pathetic, even by GOP standards.

By: Steve Benen, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly- Political Animal, August 8, 2011

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Congress, Conservatives, Debt Crisis, Democracy, Democrats, Elections, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Standard and Poor's, Tax Increases, Tax Loopholes, Taxes, Teaparty, Voters | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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