Cross-posted from my Jersey Jazzman blog.
A challenge for Governor Chris Christie’s defenders: try to reconcile the following news stories (all emphases mine).
Gov. Chris Christie and First Lady Mary Pat last year made the most money since the governor first took office, according to tax returns the governor’s office released on Friday.
The Christies reported earning $912,460 in salaries, about $25,500 in royalties, nearly $13,000 in capital gains and some $7,800 in dividends in 2014, according to tax returns the governor’s office released Friday afternoon.
Here’s a year-by year breakdown of how much the Christies have reported since he took office:
The bulk of the income was earned by Mary Pat, who resigned from her job at the Wall Street specialty investment firm Angelo, Gordon & Co. in April. She stepped down shortly before the governor formally entered the 2016 presidential race.
Mary Pat reported earning $720,000 from Angelo, Gordon & Co. and $34,698 from Cantor Fitzgerald, another former employer. The governor reported earning $157,063 in taxable income from his job.
Tax returns released by the governor’s office showed Mary Pat Christie earned $475,854 for her job as a director at Angelo, Gordon & Co. and $34,698 from Cantor Fitzgerald, the Wall Street financial services firm where she worked part-time. The governor reported $160,054 in taxable income.
2. She has out-earned her husband through much of their marriage, with her husband joking that he doesn’t mind because of three important words: “Joint checking account.” In 2011, she earned $307,000 – for a part-time schedule of working Mondays, Tuesdays, and every other Wednesday. She is a bond trader whose specialty is band debt and distressed funds. (She quit her job recently in preparation for the campaign.)
I’d further point out that the First Lady of New Jersey has an extensive public schedule that unquestionably would require anyone to have flexibility in their full-time work hours.
Now, you can say many negative things about Chris Christie (I’ll say one of them shortly). But one thing you can’t accuse him of is having a troglodyte attitude toward his wife making more than he does.
Christie, who is weighing a run for the White House in 2016, has often joked about the income disparity between him and his wife.
“Listen, I just have three words for you: joint checking account,” he has been quoted as telling the audience at a town hall meeting. “That money all lands in the same place, baby. It’s fine by me.”
As someone whose wife has made more than I have over most of our marriage (I’m a teacher, remember), I think it’s great Mary Pat Christie has been successful, and that Chris Christie has no resentments about it. So long as she earns her money ethically (we’ll set aside any doubts about that for now), she is entitled to every penny, and her husband is absolutely correct to support her.
No, what I have a problem with is this:
“…the teachers union likes to be off four or five months a year. They like to get a full-time salary for a part-time job. And the fact is that they don’t want to work longer hours either, unless they get paid more, even though they’re getting paid essentially a full-time salary now for a part-time job.“
The “full-time salary” of a New Jersey teacher in 2013-14 was $68,302.
Chris Christie has personally benefitted from his wife being able to work part-time job for a salary that was at least over four times that of a New Jersey teacher. She has been able, seemingly whenever she desired, to move back and forth between full-time, part-time, and no-time employment. And even when working full-time, Mary Pat Christie apparently had enough freedom in her schedule to be able to perform the extensive duties of the First Lady of New Jersey.
But somehow, teachers who must take a mandatory two-month furlough every year and make a fraction of what Mary Pat Christie makes are somehow holding back America’s students.
Only someone as shameless as Chris Christie could make this ludicrous argument and still say this:
Gov. Chris Christie isn’t backing down from insisting he and First Lady Mary Pat aren’t wealthy though their family income puts them among the top 1 percent of earners.
The governor, speaking to reporters on Friday after declaring earlier in the week he is “not wealthy” during an editorial board meeting with the Manchester Union-Leader, explained “wealth is defined a whole bunch of ways.” He insisted that his family — which reported earning nearly $700,000 in income on their 2013 tax returns, the most current year — is not wealthy.
“No, I don’t,” Christie said, “I don’t consider myself a wealthy man. Listen, wealth is defined in a whole bunch of different ways and in the end Mary Pat and I have worked really hard, we have done well over the course of our lives, but, you know, we have four children to raise and a lot of things to do.”
In Chris Christie’s world, working Mondays, Tuesdays, and every other Wednesday for over $300K is “working hard.” But teachers who work 10 months a year (and that’s discounting all the things teacher do during the summer to get ready for the coming year), five days a week, teaching more hours than any other educators in the developed world…
… well, that’s “a full-time salary for a part-time job.”
If there is a bigger hypocrite in American political life than Chris Christie, I can’t name him or her.