Joe Scarborough has a man-crush on Chris Christie. And who can blame him?
“The day of reckoning is here!” Announces New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a theatrical voice dripping with doom. Joe Scarborough loves him for it, squealing that Chris Christie makes him feel like a 14 year old girl at a Beatles concert. Ah, Republicans. You gotta love them. Against gay rights but very pro man crushes especially for the dooms-dayers because nothing spells GOP recovery like a suffering American economy. And nothing says desperate party like pushing Chris Christie as the next great white hope.
Today on “Morning Joe”, Scarborough jumped the Chris Matthews “Thrill up my leg” shark when reacting to a clip of Republican Governor Chris Christie dramatically suggesting that the day of reckoning was here, that he had no more money, that no one has any more money and that they just can’t spend anymore. Joe “loves this guy” because he’s the only guy “telling the truth”. And sure when you listen to Chris Christie he sounds reasonable. He’s saying we spent too much. We sure did. Notice I said when you listen to him, because if you look under the hood, things are not rosy for the middle class under Christie. But one wonders if Joe Scarborough doesn’t “love this guy” because Chris Christie is the Alan Grayson of the Right and Joe is desperate to find a Presidential candidate for Republicans who isn’t crazy and/or boring?
Watch Joe squeak words of love about Chris Christie courtesy of Media Matters:
See, Christie is busy making a national name for himself as a true “fiscal conservative,” which in modern day Republican parlance means keeping taxes on the rich very, very low and saying you’re going to fix the budget problem with spending cuts. But as we all know, sayin’ ain’t doin’.
What Joe doesn’t tell you is the cost of Christie’s playing fiscal conservative while making a show of refusing to raise tax rates. Because it turns out some people in his state will have their taxes raised. Guess who? Think really hard now. Who do the Republicans represent and what do they care about? That’s right, at this delicate time in our economy, we can’t have the rich paying taxes or businesses paying taxes, but you know who can pay for this fiscal conservative show? The working poor, homeowners, university students, and the state pension fund because nothing says Republican like hitting the working poor, struggling homeowners, education, and of course pension funds.
“A close look at the $28.3 billion budget Christie signed to much fanfare in June, however, finds a more complicated storyline than the one the governor and his acolytes have articulated since Christie took office in January.
Some of Christie’s budget fixes look a lot like tax hikes to the people on the receiving end of them. They include the working poor who will pay higher income taxes due to reductions in the state earned-income tax credit; homeowners who didn’t get their customary rebates on property taxes this year; transit riders who are paying substantially higher fares; and university students who must pay higher tuition. And although Christie promised in March to “not shove today’s problems under the rug only to be discovered again tomorrow,” his plan leaned heavily on the familiar Trenton budget trick of skipping a required payment to the state’s pension fund, which is already $48 billion underfunded.
What’s more, some of Christie’s spending reductions aren’t as clear-cut as they might seem. As Stateline reported last week, Christie’s budget assumes tens of millions of dollars in savings from privatization that has yet to occur.
The budget cuts he has ordered for municipalities and school districts have muddied the waters further. Many local jurisdictions, faced with the sudden evaporation of state aid that propped up their own budgets, say they will raise property taxes in response. Christie’s budget cuts to municipalities amount to “de facto tax increases,” says Sharon Schulman, executive director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton College.”
Does this surprise anyone? His plans are no different than what the Republicans have been doing for years now – refusing to pay for things by increasing our main source of revenue. This is the equivalent of suggesting that instead of getting a job, people should stop buying things like food. But this failed strategy allows the Republicans to kill every social safety net necessity they can get their grubby hands on which is a win win in the long term for them, because the more people suffer the less engaged they are in politics and the less education they have the more likely they are to vote Republican.
And the best part is that while robbing the public, they win the war of perception. After all, it takes years to see the effect of such approaches and the public is much too misinformed to understand why they are less well off than before. I imagine Fox News will find a way to blame the central government for the inevitable property tax hikes resulting from Christie’s showy budget slashing. It should be noted that Christie did not keep taxes low. He kept them low for the rich. The working will have a tax increase under Christie.
But aside from the fiscal shell games these boys play, we mustn’t forget that this scenario of doomsday is something the Republicans are working very hard to maintain for Americans. After all, if the economy recovers the GOP won’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of taking 2012 and at the rate they’re going according to recent polls, they’ll lose the House too. Yes, contrary to what the Republicans tell Americans they want, Americans actually tell us in polls that they didn’t want the rich to continue to get the lowest tax rates in history.
Americans thought it might be nice if the rich paid their share and helped get us out of this mess that the Republicans and their wealthy corporate friends got us into by playing fast and loose with regulation and then coming crying to us for a bailout when their big spending ways and borrowing didn’t work out so well. But boys like Christie want the working poor to foot this bill too. After all, if we’re going to climb outta this mess someone has to pay and it can’t be the “job creators”! I mean, look where that trickle down theory got us. Why not beat our head into that brick wall a bit longer, just to make sure it really did fail.
Joe obviously sees in Christie a man who can sell this crap and come off like a populist but not an embarrassment like Palin because poor Joe is so desperate to take back his party from the nutjobs who’ve hi-jacked it that he has obviously decided to use his show to push any relatively reasonable (I say relatively because if you compare Chris Christie with Sarah Palin, well, he looks reasonable) Republican he can. But what Joe isn’t saying is that Christie has only been in office for a year. A year into Palin’s term, she was the state’s most popular governor. She quit two and a half years into her term when she couldn’t cope with the mess she’d made and the fame that came a-callin’ looked like it would be so much more fun.
“As Christie’s budget cuts force tax hikes at the local level and many residents begin to recognize that they are paying more for less state government, Christie’s next three years in office could be more challenging than the first.” Maybe Scarborough is hoping that if Chritie pulls a Palin and runs for President just two years into his term, the full effects of his huge budget slashes and tax hikes on the middle class will remain hidden and allow Christie to run a populist campaign of fiscal conservatism that appeals to the very rich corporate donors he’ll be needing.
Gee, I feel like a 14 year old girl at a Beatles concert who just got told that as a result of “spending being out of control” (translation, the Republicans don’t want their corporate multi-millionaire friends to have to pay taxes) my school just got hit with a 64% reduction in aid, my parents can no longer afford their home, I can’t afford to go to college and by the way, that pension is gone. Chris Christie is the conservative reverse Robinhood, stealing from the middle class to subsidize the rich.
Sure the day of reckoning is here. But for whom, that’s the question.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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