Friday, May 24, 2013

Lafferism as Part of the New Jersey Gubernatorial Race

New Yorkers may be looking forward to spending this holiday weekend at the reopened Jersey shore and Governor Christie is certainly patting himself on the back for this. There is also a battle of whether his tenure as governor has led to some magical supply side miracle. His own ads paint a picture of how a reversal of Corzine’s alleged tax& tax and spend&spend has led to a New Jersey miracle. His ads makes four claims: (1) employment has soared: (2) everyone got tax cuts; (3) spending may have been cut and still is at record levels (for at least education spending) at the same time: and (4) he has balanced the budget. Of course, this is a replay of Reagan’s 1984 campaign known as “Morning in America”. That one can claim spending is both up and down at the same time is something one would only imagine that Lawrence Kudlow might do. But let’s start with his claim that he has balanced the budget. Mark Magyar challenges Christie’s budget games thusly:
Governor banks on one-shots, property-tax rebate delay, Medicaid savings, and Internet gaming to bridge budget gap
Barbara Buono has also fired back noting that some New Jersey residents are paying more in taxes because of this property tax rebate delay. Bloomberg adds:
New Jersey’s public pension deficit swelled 13 percent to $47.2 billion in fiscal 2012 as the state continued to make partial contributions to its retirement plans. The system had about 64.5 percent of assets needed to cover promises to current and future retirees as of July 1, 2012, compared with 67.5 percent a year earlier, when the gap stood at $41.7 billion, according to data posted on the state Treasury Department’s website.
In other words, the state government is supposed to be making larger contributions to the public pension funds than Christie in counting in his allegedly balanced budgets. To claim that he has balanced the budget is simply put – accounting fraud. Buono is also challenging Christie’s claim as to some alleged employment miracle but noting that the state’s unemployment rate remains very high. If one looks at the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting for New Jersey’s employment situation, this matter becomes much clearer. New Jersey’s employment situation over the past 20 years has basically mirrored the nation’s. During Clinton’s 8 years, state employment rose by 437,658 and its unemployment rate was quite modest at the end of this period. Since January 2001, the net increase in employment has been a mere 78,600. Our graph shows both employment and labor force since January 2001. Employment basically flat lined during Bush43’s first term but rose to almost 4.3 million by the end of 2007. Then the Great Recession hit and New Jersey’s employment plummeted to around 4.1 million by the end of 2009. Now it is true that employment has partially recovered since then but also note that the labor force has also been growing over the same period. New Jersey’s employment situation is still dismal even if the current governor wants to claim he has been some alleged Laffer style miracle.

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