During his budget address last March Governor Corzine confessed that his childhood hero is Dag Hammarskjold, the father of the planned central economy, or modern day socialism. This system is the polar opposite of the free-market philosophy that drove America to be the most prosperous nation the world has ever seen.
Hammarskjold dreamt of a day when central planners would guide every aspect of the economy, including redistribution of wealth and allocation of property. This philosophy holds that those on the lower end of the income spectrum have a claim on the earnings and property of the producers. The basic concept here is to make the central planners responsible for “leveling” all citizens to the lowest common denominator. The Central Planner philosophy has been implemented in Sweden and is responsible for many of Fidel Castro’s and Hugo Chavez’s policies.
It is no wonder that later on in his budget address the Governor would state, “If we want Universal Health Care, Universal Pre-K and Affordable Housing and if we want to compensate property owners for the loss of value in the Highland areas we must asset monetize our toll roads.” All of these programs are managed by Trenton’s central planners and replace the free market with taxpayer funded bureaucracies.
The problem: they will cost money-and lots of it. Governor Corzine and I agree with one critical thing. We can’t afford any of these leftist programs. Herein lies the difference – I don’t want any of these programs, and don’t believe the vast majority of hard working taxpayers do, either. Governor Corzine, knowing taxpayers couldn’t possibly afford to launch these Central Planning nightmares, understands that if he is going to succeed he needs lots of cash quick. The only answer is a clever trick called “Asset Monetization.”
In other words, pawn off the revenue from the toll roads for quick cash to initiate the largest expansion of the entitlement state in New Jersey history. Once the programs are in place, complete with thousands of union employees, the quick cash will run out in two to three years leaving the ongoing cost of these business and job destroying programs to be paid by, you guessed it, the taxpayer.
The message this radical expansion of the entitlement state sends in a competitive world that recognizes the power of the free-market and individual opportunity and responsibility, is simple – New Jersey is rolling out the red carpet for all those seeking “free” government programs. The second part of the message is, if you want to build a business and keep the lion’s share of your earnings for your family and future, don’t come to New Jersey. Governor Corzine is driving out the goose that laid the golden egg and turning New Jersey into a magnet state for welfare recipients.
Steve Lonegan is the Mayor of Bogota, NJ, and Executive Director of Americans for Prosperity – New Jersey. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP Foundation) are committed to educating citizens about economic policy and mobilizing those citizens as advocates in the public policy process. He is a prolific writer, having been published in newspapers and blogs. He currently has a book in pre-publication on the impact of New Jersey state government on the well being of the taxpayers of the state, where he offers solid and workable solutions.