Christie, Does He Believe What He’s Saying?
Governor Chris Christie is in a tough spot. In a potential field of two dozen GOP Presidential hopefuls, how does a New Jersey Governor make his candidacy relevant? Christie whose personality is a mixture of charismatic and bombastic qualities, thinks he needs to emphasize his conservative economic views to gain attention. Hmmm.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed column, Christie outlined his plans to get America going again. Briefly his thoughts were:
- Tax Code Reform involving lower across the board rates
- Reduce Government regulations
- Implement a National Energy strategy
- Eliminate “counter productive laws and regulations like (you guessed it) Obamacare
- Invest in R&D (increase the rate compared to entitlement growth)
Christie claimed that these steps will unleash pent up demand and help the middle class break out of the stagnation is has experienced for the last 20 years or so. Hmmm.
Christie’s dramatic speech make one wonder whether he realizes that these proposals were made 4 years ago and can be found in part in just about every other GOP hopefuls’ canned speeches. Even worse than a lack of originality, this prescription also hides some important misconceptions. For example:
- Tax Code Reform – any proposal which calls for across the board tax rate reductions is in fact a plan to provide the wealthy with lower tax liability even when loop holes and exemptions are also eliminated. Tax Code Reform is certainly an important and worthwhile goal but it will be a herculean task to remove favorites like mortgage and health insurance deductions and not look the other way on all the big loop holes and exemptions that the wealthy and special interests have lobbied to get in the tax code.
- Reduce Government Regulations – This is an inadequate proposal. Does Governor Christie want to reproduce the conditions that lead to the subprime/mortgage backed securities near melt down of the world’s banking system? Voters should be weary of this type of claim unless the candidate gives specifics.
- Implement a National Energy strategy – This is an amazing statement which makes one wonder where Governor Christie has been for the last 4 years? “Energy Independence” has been a campaign pledge in past elections and to the extent Christie means to push a 25-50 year strategy which moves the US to renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources, this could be game changing proposal. But Christie in more in step with the “drill Baby drill crowd” and is speaking to big money and big oil interests.
- Eliminate counterproductive regulations (like Obamacare) – This is probably the most shameful proposal of the lot. Modifying, improving, and replacing the Affordable Care Act should be a welcome proposal if it leads to good or better healthcare outcomes and lower total medical costs. Christie’s swipe at Obamacare is a crass politically hollow statement.
- Invest in R&D – In principle this a worthwhile proposal. In practice this usually means another exemption or deduction to be added to the tax code. And where is the investing in our aging national infrastructure upon which the economy depends?
I have taken exception to Governor Christie’s proposals not because he is likely to become the nominee. I have taken exception because Christie’s proposals are a not so clever regurgitation of previous GOP proposals. Added together. the GOP advocates that money be transferred from entitlement programs and spent upon defense and tax breaks for the wealthy. Voters must look beyond these carefully turned phrases and uncover the intended outcomes.
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