Bloomberg reports that New Jersey’s unfunded public employee pension liability increased by $5.5 in 2012, which is a 13% increase in the states total unfunded pension liability.
As I have written before in the case of Obama’s $761.5 billion accounting cheat, public employee unfunded pension liabilities hide the actual cost of government by not transparently accounting for employee costs. This practice allows politicians to secretly increase program spending, while maintaining massive giveaways to the public employee unions as corrupt political payoffs for these unions’ active support of Democratic politicians. In the context of our politicians’ hysterics in attacking business accounting, which led to the job killing Sarbarnes-Oxley law, our shrill politicians were actually projecting their own corruption and dishonesty.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Gov. Christie has overtly planned with the legislature to keep government expenses for public employee pensions mostly off the books of regularly accounted for government expenses. As Bloomberg described the details:
New Jersey’s pension shortfall reached $53.9 billion in 2010 after a decade of expanded benefits and skipped payments. The gap narrowed to $36.3 billion after Governor Chris Christie signed bills that boosted contributions from employees, raised the minimum retirement age for new workers and froze cost-of- living adjustments for retirees. It swelled when Christie skipped a $3 billion pension payment in fiscal 2011.
Christie, a Republican who took office in 2010, signed a law that year requiring the state to make one-seventh of its pension contribution in fiscal 2012 and then raise the payment each year until it reaches the full annual amount in 2018.
Why does the evasion of honest accounting for public expenses by the NJ governor matter outside of the state? As cartoonist Bosch Fawstin has illustrated the media darling Christie is power hungry; thus, Christie may be in the 2016 presidential field. Further, his problem of unfunded public pension liability is a national corruption that impacts the federal, many state ($1 trillion across the 50 states), and municipal governments (facing bankruptcy and lower credit ratings).
IMHO, if a candidate emerges in the 2016 presidential race from the ranks of our governors, then their handling of unfunded public pension liabilities in their own state should be a primary consideration by the electorate as the post-Obama federal government will be facing a mountain of debt, plundered trust funds, and an expanded domain of “untouchable” entitlements. Now is the time for someone who thinks that they would be a great president to address these problems within their own responsibilities, whether that person is a governor, senator, or other holder of the public’s trust.