By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Unsurprisignly, among those with the biggest panty-twist problem after Tuesday’s historic pension ruling is the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), Save Jerseyans.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a blow to the rule of law in New Jersey,” thundered NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer in a statement. “It is devastating to all public employees, retirees, taxpayers, and families. The Court’s ruling that Gov. Christie is not bound by the laws that he signs and enforces on others is, in my view, indefensible.”
“This ruling does nothing to resolve or reduce the state’s pension liabilities. In fact, it affirms our members’ non-forfeitable right to receive their pensions. But it also allows the current administration to push that obligation off onto future taxpayers, with interest.”
We can agree on one point: today’s decision will likely result in MORE kick-the-can down the road games from Trenton’s ruling elite.
And guess whose fault that is?
The partial but fully-accurate answer: the NJEA.
This notorious public sector employee organization, which as all-but admitted to not giving a flying crap about the quality of New Jersey schools, has spent MILLIONS – many times over – in just the last several electoral cycles, both lobbying and on the campaign trail, in support of Democrats in competitive districts. They’ve been the leading financiers of the same folks who initiated and perpetuated the pension death spiral that’s brought us to this current crisis.
And keep in mind: union dues, derived from taxpayer-funded paychecks, are what keep the lights on at the NJEA’s State House-facing Trenton headquarters. As taxpayers, we’re paying the folks who are turning around and negotiating against us! Their legions head to the polls every November to vote for other citizens’ money.
It’s an INSANE system (even FDR warned Americans about it), one premised upon a conflict of interest which necessarily produces equally insane (or straight-up incompetent) politicians who were more than happy to underfund the pension system for YEARS before Chris Christie arrived at the 11th hour, after the S.S. Jersey Pension has already hit the iceberg and taken on significant water.
So don’t give me this feigned “rule of law” outrage, Mr. Steinhauer. It won’t scour. YOUR organization played a leading role in breaking the system such that it was rigged in your own favor, generating bigger and increasingly unrealistic membership benefits in exchange for political support. In other words, the NJEA helped rig the game, one which is now impossible for anyone to win without (1) draconian cuts or (2) self-defeating tax hikes in a state that’s already taxed to breaking point. Congratulations. Now we’re all screwed.
The truth? Democracy in New Jersey is getting a standing ten count; we’re ruled by public sector plutocrats and their allies in the permanent political class, and given how the legislative districts are drawn, I fear the sanity underlying today’s decision will prove ephemeral.