OPINION: New Jersey, the political condom state

By Scott St. Clair | The Save Jersey Blog

Because Gov. Chris Christie favors casinos in North Jersey, we should brace ourselves against the inevitable caterwauling from those in Atlantic City and parts south about how that will hurt the struggling gaming industry there. Competition will kill AC, goes the standard refrain, so protect us, government, protect us – be a gigantic collective political condom shielding us from the consequences of our profligate, wanton behavior.

Never fear, however, since the odds of an expansion are, as the lawyer says, de minimus. Polling data shows a strong majority of state voters don’t support it, and the state constitution requires a vote of the people to expand casino gambling outside of AC.

But an unwillingness to embrace as much head-to-head competition as possible does nothing to shield AC from harm. If anything, it will accelerate its inevitable demise since there won’t be any motivation to innovate, hustle or improve. Instead, bad habits will be cemented and the city and its gaming industry will continue developing a type of municipal hardening of the government-protection arteries.

condomBut whattayagonnado? It’s Jersey, and the political condom of protectionism and government control is our default mode. And it’s not unique to casino gambling. Everywhere we look the government protects us against the evils of something considered ordinary and beneficial in other states. Examples include Sunday shopping in Bergen County, pumping your own gas statewide, buying liquor by the drink in most restaurants, the same rights to own firearms as other Americans and more. Government, we insist, must save us from ourselves.

The Legislature, whose members relish being the state’s leading political condom factory, is always on the lookout for new ways to shield us from commercially-transmitted political diseases. Leading Essex County condom head, Sen. Dick Codey, has a burr under his saddle to ban retail shopping on Thanksgiving. Never mind that consumers want and relish it – the senator knows best what’s good for us, so he’s hell-bent-for-leather to outlaw it.

Here’s a thought: If you don’t want to work on Thanksgiving, don’t take a job where Thanksgiving is a work day. Pretty simple. But the simple consistently confounds the simple-minded.

There are as many layers of government as there are layers of corruption in government. We’re told that government control and regulation protects us from the sins of the marketplace and business crooks. Odd in a state where most top “business leaders” are not in business but in elective or appointed office. But nobody bothers to tell us who protects us from the crooks in the Legislature and the rest of New Jersey’s mind-boggling and unnecessary hodge-podge of unproductive, wasteful and unnecessary levels of government.

And it’s top to bottom bad news. When a top elected official is indicted on a laundry list of cheesy corruption charges or a local cop accumulates DUI’s free of consequence like some people accumulate refrigerator magnets until he allegedly ends up killing a couple of people, don’t you feel a need less to be protected by them and more to be protected from them?

trenton domeIt’s like asking for protection from the mob – or are they one and the same thing?

But what do you expect in a state where the people are powerless? We can’t self-legislate by initiative and referendum, we lack ballot-box control over instrumentalities of government since too many offices are appointive in nature and open-government laws are honored more in the breach than the adherencePolitical parties and bosses run their own private fiefdoms not with the our interests in mind, but with an eye toward feathering their own nests, settling grudges or jockeying for power.

Look, if you don’t like Sunday shopping, then don’t go shopping on Sunday. But let every consumer make their own choice as to how to spend, or spend on, the day. You may be your brother’s keeper, but you’re not his owner or parole officer.

Let the marketplace decide if casinos belong in North Jersey or whether Sunday retail hours are appropriate or whether more sit-down restaurants should be entitled to sell liquor-by-the-drink, not some blue-nosed condom-head prude who wants to dictate how your life should be scheduled. As a consumer, if the convenience of Sunday shopping is denied me, I’ll take my trade elsewhere –  and continue to do so perhaps every other day of the week.

We don’t need government’s political condom protecting us from getting screwed – but we do need to be protected from government screwing us.


Scott St Clair
About Scott St Clair 127 Articles
SCOTT ST. CLAIR: Earning a J.D. from the University of Puget Sound in 1975, Scott is a communications professional who has worked as a freelance journalist/writer as well as a political operative.


  1. Scott, the rubber in your wallet has been there so long it was probably made by an actual Trojan. Why is it you North Jersey folk never acknowledge the over 40 years and billions of dollars Atlantic City casino taxes you have taken? or the fact that if AC casinos were allowed to operate like other businesses, instead of being regulated to fund North Jersey development, AC would be an actual resort instead of a Democrat fueled welfare state. Nope, you always forget to mention that

  2. AC is a cesspool of corruption and it seems some in our government and their cronies believe North Jersey needs a cesspool of our own.

  3. “…accelerate its inevitable demise since there won’t be any motivation to innovate, hustle or improve.”

    You’re joking, right? If you honestly believe Mayor Guardian, CRDA, Sweeny, Christie, Levenson and EVERY other agency, politician and program that has been working day and night to transform Atlantic City into a non-gaming destination, HASN’T been hustling… then you simply don’t want to see it. Nobody is fighting gaming expansion. Now is not the time. You’ve moved the patient from the trauma unit to intensive care after slight improvement. Now you want to pull the plug on Atlantic City before it has a chance to heal.

    Since you chose to be personal in your attacks on South Jersey, I’m not going to tell you how I feel. North Jersey has the votes… politicians up there haven’t cared about South Jersey residents, knowing you can run roughshod over us, for decades. Who’s more of a (r)epublican perversion at this point; South Jersey trying to reinvent and resuscitate the entire State’s cash cow or North Jersey’s “hooray for me, screw everybody else” way of doing business?

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