In a press conference on Monday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie blasted Washington — both Congress and the president — for its inability to resolve the sequester.
“I don’t have the first damn idea of what they’re doing. If the federal government cannot cut one cent out of a dollar and not bring the economy and the country to its knees, then the government is in awful shape to begin with,” he said, displaying his trademark Jersey charm.
“We’ve done much harder things in New Jersey in much shorter periods of time,” Christie said.
The governor’s staff then posted the video above on his YouTube channel, where he shares all his favorite battles with union members and the media.
But Christie’s big claims don’t hold up in two ways.
First, the sequester won’t cut “one cent out of a dollar.” The cuts are meant to be painful. Discretionary spending — all of the government’s spending on education, research and programs for the poor like Meals on Wheels, aid for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) — will be cut by 5.3 percent. This pushes discretionary spending to a record low.
Secondly, Christie may have made big cuts in New Jersey, but those cuts have had a negative effect.
Last year, as Christie announced the “New Jersey Comeback,” he predicted greater economic growth than any state in the union. He’s since had to revise that prediction downward.
Hurricane Sandy didn’t exactly help New Jersey’s economy, but even before the storm, the state had one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.
In Christie’s first year in office, he cut education by more than a billion dollars and let a tax on the state’s richest taxpayers expire. He also signed a budget that cut funding to family planning and canceled a train tunnel project to New York City that would have created jobs and alleviated traffic.
Though he wasn’t invited to CPAC, his record is certainly “severely conservative.”
Christie says that “real leadership” would get the sequester fixed. But the question is, does America really want to go where he’s leading?