Governor Christie’s latest publicly-funded campaign video is entitled “The Greatest Social Program in the World is A Job.” This video is mind-boggling on so many levels.
As he is wont to do, Christie starts out the video with a lie. Well, not technically a lie, but an extremely misleading twist of words that conveys false information.
He says that under his administration, state taxes have not gone up. What he fails to mention is that due to his policies, property taxes have exploded. While these are strictly not state taxes, the rise in property taxes is inexorably linked to Christie’s policies, and under his rule, fees and tolls have gone up also. There’s no question that the tax burden on the middle class is directly attributable to Christie’s right-wing agenda.
But that’s not the worst aspect of this campaign commercial. By saying that “the greatest social program in the world is a job”, Christie relegates thousands of New Jerseyans who receive some sort of assistance to second class citizenship.
Take, for example, my friends Mike and Kathy Pollock. Mike wrote about his wife’s illness, his battles with the medical-industrial complex, and how Christie’s policies have made their already difficult lives even more difficult. Mike is the embodiment of the American Dream – the owner of a mom and pop hardware store in rural New Jersey. But that dream took a terrible turn when Kathy developed a debilitating illness and was written off by her doctors. Through Mike’s tenacious efforts, Kathy is alive today. Christie has severely cut the social programs that help Kathy, and those programs are denigrated by Christie by this video.
And if jobs are the greatest social program as Christie espouses, then why has he cut jobs across the state throughout his reign? He’s cut teachers’ jobs. He’s cut tens of thousands of construction jobs with his cancellation of a much-needed tunnel which would facilitate New Jerseyans to get to well-paying jobs. He’s cut thousands of green jobs with his Koch Brothers anti-environmental policy.
If jobs are his priority, why did he veto the minimum wage? Does he endorse the fact that families on the minimum wage are still living in poverty? Again, his “Jobs are the Greatest Social Program” mantra is insulting and mean-spirited.
There are thousands of New Jersey citizens like Mike and Kathy. Working hard to survive, but either fully or partially reliant on a social safety net. The vast majority would like to work, but for one reason or another, either can’t or still need assistance. None of them are second-class citizens.
Christie’s mentor, George W Bush, proved conclusively that “trickle-down” economics do not create jobs – quite the opposite. But Christie never learned that lesson and that’s hurting all of us. Yet he continues to espouse these lies on the public dime. There hasn’t been a more insidious institutional propaganda machine since the KGB.