Truth and truthiness in Christie’s pension reform claims

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is touring the state, making his case for further paring back of public employees’ pensions. But the facts as he states them in his “No Pain, No Gain” campaign are subject to scrutiny in an article on NorthJersey.com.

Bergen Record columnist Charlie Stile joined NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller to sift through truth and truthiness in Christie’s facts.

So what about the governor’s comparing the Garden State with the bankrupt city of Detroit? Stile says the analogy “teeters on hysteria.” He goes on to explain that as a sovereign state, “New Jersey has the power, in a crisis, to raise taxes if necessary. And if New Jersey even wanted to go bankrupt, you’d have to get an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Christie also mentions that while the pension fund is still underfunded by more than $40 billion, he is putting more effort in tackling that debt than the seven previous governors. While this is true, Stile points out that Christie’s hands aren’t exactly clean.

“What he overlooks, or doesn’t mention, is that when he first came to office, he skipped a planned $3 billion  payment for this system.  He says he’s paying for the sins of his predecessors, and he committed the same sin,” said Stile.

And when it comes to the panel Christie has planned to find creative ways out of the debt, Stile thinks the findings won’t amount to much more than theatrics.

“He’ll continue going out to the Shore or other places to make the case that this is a dire need and the Legislature is dragging its feet. He’ll get a lot of good theater out of that,” Stile said. “I don’t see, at this point, how he’s going to be able to move the needle any further than it is.”

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