10.31.2010 0

TimesCheck.com: Highly Partisan Editorial Accuses Gov. Christie of “Charming the Right” with Harsh Budget Cuts

  • On: 11/22/2010 19:59:26
  • In: Fiscal Responsibility

    Highly Partisan Editorial Accuses Gov. Christie of “Charming the Right” with Harsh Budget Cuts

    By Kevin Mooney

    New Jersey voters know their state is out of money.

    Despite all the evidence out there to the contrary, the New York Times continues to argue in favor of government spending as the antidote for economic malaise and fiscal restraint. While the paper is certainly entitled to editorialize against public officials, the highly partisan and condescending tone it adopts here against Gov. Christ Christie of New Jersey and his budget cutting policies is highly instructive.

    A Quinnipiac University survey shows public sentiment very much in support of the governor’s decision to cancel an $8.7 billion commuter rail tunnel to New York City. The poll shows 53 percent of voters supporting Christie versus 37 percent who do not. Over 30 percent of Democrats also said they support Christie’s actions.

    Where is the money supposed to come from for this proposed commuter rail tunnel? The Gray Lady never quite gets around to answering this in its highly partisan attack.

    Using the 2005 initial projection of $5 billion, New Jersey officials proceeded to obtain $3 billion from the federal government, spend $600 million in start-up costs, and commit another $1.2 billion in contracts and fees. Now, as the expected cost of the project has ballooned to $10 billion — double the original estimate — construction has ceased as the state’s budget woes have worsened. This essentially means taxpayers will have spent over $4.5 billion for nothing.

    But NYT sees the matter much differently. Somehow the federal government will come through with additional funding to defray costs for the “much- needed” mass transit tunnel, the editorial says. Moreover, Michael Bloomberg, the enlightened mayor of NYC, has “come to the rescue” with a proposal for an alternative tunnel.

    “It’s nice to know somebody is thinking big about the region’s economic future,” the NYT sneers even as it acknowledges that the “Bloomberg plan is sketchy, and it is not clear where the money would come from.” That’s quite a pivot.

    Gov. Christie connects with voters because they understand as he does that N.J. is essentially bankrupt and cannot afford new spending schemes. In many respects, the budget process at the state level is broken. It is hard reality that continues to elude the Gray Lady, but not the Republican governor it so loathes. Gov. Christie understands cost projects for infrastructure projects are often way off and cost more over the long-term. That’s why he was right to terminate this project in the cradle. For this he deserves praise not scorn.

    But the concluding paragraph takes aim at Christie for advancing policies that are consistent with Tea Party sentiment.

    “Perhaps some sage from one of the big universities — Princeton or Rutgers? — could help the state spend almost $60 million from the federal government to weatherize New Jersey homes,” the editorial suggests. “After all, Mr. Christie is busy making news and charming the right by downsizing his state, so it falls on others to think about the future.”

    Perhaps the Times should refrain from “charming” big government proponents who have made infrastructure projects quite untenable thanks to unchecked deficit spending. At least New Jerseyans are not fooled.

    Kevin Mooney is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau and the Executive Editor of TimesCheck.com.

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