A Bright Light
The partnership between the Democratic Party and organized labor has caused enormous damage to the country, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is trying to educate voters. Specifically, he's attacking the huge payoff teachers get in exchange for their loyalty to Democrats.
...they're getting four-to-five percent salary increases a year in a zero percent inflation world; they get free health benefits from the day they're hired--for their entire family--until the day they die. They believe they're entitled to this shelter from the recession when the people who are paying for that shelter are the people who have been laid off, who have lost their homes, had their hours cut back,
...and all we asked them to do was freeze their salary for one year and pay one-and-a-half percent of their salary for their health benefits. For the average teacher in New Jersey, you're talking about $750 a year for full-family health coverage. Now, I don't think that's a lot to ask, and I don't think we can continue anymore to be having the good people of New Jersey who have been laid off and all the rest--as much as I love teachers--you know, everyone's got to be part of the sacrifice.
On one level, it's remarkable how bold Christie is being. But it's also worth noting how he's pulling his punches, couching his outrage in the realities of the current bad economy... as if this corruption only matters when it causes obvious pain. He's nervous about the size of the hive he's stepping on.
In March, the first-term Republican signed a package of bills barring part-time workers from the pension system, capping payouts for unused sick-time and requiring employees to pay 1.5 percent of their salaries for health insurance.
"Six years from now, public workers are going to thank me because there will be a pension there to collect," Christie said. Public workers and government officials can't "continue to bury our heads in the sand and believe that somehow the forces of the market or good luck are going to get us out of this."
The personal struggle caused to millions by a bad economy is a tough thing to go through. The insiduous qualities of human nature, unfortunately, require bad times to force us to get our affairs in order. Consider that Christie is the first, and the only Governor, who has had the gumption to go up against the swarm.
...they had a rally in Trenton against me. 35,000 people came from the teachers. You know what that rally was? The "me first" rally. "Pay me my raise first. Pay me my free health benefits first. Pay me my pension first. And everybody else in New Jersey, get to the back of the line." Well, you know what? I'm not going to sit by and allow that to go unnoticed, so we'll shine a bright light on it, and we'll see how the people react. But I think we are seeing how the people of New Jersey are reacting, and that's how you make it politically palatable in other states in the country. Just shine a bright light on greed and self-interest."