Murphy bullshits in announcing appointment of Lehman brother to NJEDA

"Once you get to Wall Street, no matter how you got here, you give up your right to say you are a man of the people." (BBC:  The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers)

Apparently, the above is true for everywhere other than New Jersey, where the last two elected Governors from the "party of the people" have been Wall Street operators of the worst kind.  Yep, investment bankers.

Now that "man of the people" -- Goldman-Sachs' own Phil Murphy -- has brought on an alumnus of another great moral beacon... Lehman Brothers.  Hey, these Wall Street brothers look out for each other.  After all, they do speak the same language.  Greed? Power?  As only one "master of the universe" can to another?

Here is how Governor Murphy put it -- in his announcement of the appointment of Tim Sullivan to be Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority:

"Prior to joining (New York) city government in 2010, Sullivan worked at Barclays Capital in New York as chief of staff to the Head of Global Investment Banking, which is a position he also held at Lehman Brothers prior to its acquisition by Barclays in 2008.  He began his career in investment banking at Lehman Brothers in 2003 as a health care banker, focused on mergers and acquisitions, as well as capital markets transactions for leading companies in the managed care, biotechnology, and healthcare services sectors."

What?  Oh, we see.  The global economic meltdown was merely an "acquisition" of one company by another.

Well, there are alternative interpretations:

"On September 15, 2008, the firm (Lehman Brothers) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following the massive exodus of most of its clients, drastic losses in its stock, and devaluation of assets by credit rating agencies, largely sparked by Lehman's involvement in the subprime mortgage crisis, and its exposure to less liquid assets.  Lehman's bankruptcy filing is the largest in U.S. history, and is thought to have played a major role in the unfolding of the late-2000's global financial crisis.  On September 16, 2008, Lehman filed for bankruptcy.  Global markets immediately plummeted, and systemic risk was uncorked.  This market collapse also gave support to the 'Too Big To Fail' doctrine.  The following day, Barclays announced its agreement to purchase, subject to regulatory approval, Lehman's North American investment-banking and trading divisions along with its New York headquarters building.  On September 20, 2008, a revised version of that agreement was approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James M. Peck.  The next week, Nomura Holdings announced that it would acquire Lehman Brothers' franchise in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia, as well as Lehman Brothers' investment banking and equities businesses in Europe and the Middle East.  The deal became effective on October 13, 2008." (Wikipedia)

Here is something to remember.  When Lehman was looking to put all its poisoned assets into an off-shoot company -- in order for Lehman itself to evade responsibility for them -- guess what name they came up with for this proposed company?  It was SpinCo. 

Maybe that's what we should call this administration... SpinCo.  Phil Murphy, Governor of New Jersey and CEO of SpinCo.  First in bullshit!

Like all those financial instruments that Wall Street assured us and continue to assure us are A-okay...

Like Gordon Gecko said:  "Moral Hazard is when somebody takes your money and is not responsible for it."  Like big-spending liberals in government?

Maybe George Carlin was right when he mused about why "good, honest hard-working people... people of modest means..." continued to elect economic elites who had no connection to them.  Of course, Mr. Carlin had his own, very special, way of putting it...

Star Ledger editorials reinforce its anti-worker bias

We have all learned to expect Facebook-level writing from the Star-Ledger's editorial writers.  The snarky style, the gross exaggeration, the stereotyping, have driven away many readers, while reinforcing the worst prejudices of others.  Two recent editorials are especially noteworthy.

First, we have an editorial written by a climate change true-believer.  There is nothing wrong in this, there is much scientific evidence in favor of this theory, but it rings kind of hollow when the people demanding that we "pay attention to science" turn around and ignore the science of genetics.  The role of X and Y chromosomes in determining gender is much more established than is "climate change" and yet the same folks who say that we must believe in the science behind climate change theory decry genetic science as "bigotry." 

Is some science more politically correct and therefore more supported and promoted than other science?  Apparently so, at least as far as the Star-Ledger is concerned.

But the hypocrisy of the Ledger's editorial board is only part of the problem.  The Star-Ledger follows the editorial direction of its owners -- the Newhouse brothers -- two of the richest billionaires in America.  How rich?  They made a documentary about their kids called Born Rich.  These two are up there with the Koch brothers and they hate unions and working people just as much. 

One would think that with having so many billions you could pay the people who print your newspapers, the warehouse workers, and the distribution drivers a decent livable wage.  But no, they screwed all those union brothers and sisters in order to add to their profits.  It's like George Carlin said:  "They want more for themselves and less for everyone else."  They even screwed the hard news writers, turning them into little more than stringers.  The only group saved were the Newhouse brothers' hit men -- the editorial writers who spew the billionaires' line as directed.

On climate change the line is simple:  Get America to sign international agreements to combat climate change because it will accelerate the movement of American jobs overseas and that will increase corporate profits for big investors like... the Newhouse brothers.  And that is why the Star-Ledger's editorial writer dutifully trashed congressional candidate Steve Lonegan.  Lonegan doesn't want to lose a million American jobs to overseas sweatshops and outright slavery.  The Newhouse brothers' mouthpiece thinks less opportunities for Americans is good for their bottom line.

George Carlin was right when he said that people like this "...they don't care about you, at all, at all, at all."  The Star-Ledger's editorial writers are just facilitators to what Carlin called "these rich c*cksuckers."

Over the weekend, another attack on the working class appeared.  This one on a country rock and roll singer named Hank Williams Jr.  His band, which is thoroughly integrated by-the-way, issued a banner that incorporates the rebel flag, the singer's face, and the lyrics from one of his songs.  A local legislator and his wife, while attending a tailgate party in advance of the concert, had their picture taken in front of the banner, which they posted to Facebook -- along with what they thought was an artful comment.

Of course, this got the American flag-burners up in arms.  That's a "treasonous flag" they said in mock seriousness (to go with their mock patriotism).  The editorial writer noted that a majority of African-Americans found the Confederate flag (though not the Hank Williams Jr. band banner) offensive, ignoring the fact that in the face of consistent majorities of Americans opposing the burning of the American flag, the Star-Ledger and its cohorts have used their editorial pages to argue that it is a protected right to burn the flag, wipe your feet on it, and so on.

The Star-Ledger even defended the likes Annie Sprinkle who not only put the American flag to some rather "exotic" uses but wanted the American taxpayer to pay for her to perform her fetishes on stage.  Shucks, the legislator and his wife just wanted to have a beer before a Hank Williams Jr. concert.  They didn't ask anyone to pay for it.

If we may quote from the Star-Ledger's own editorial on desecrating the American flag:  "In a democratic society, the rights of free expression and political dissent have a fundamental constitutional primacy; they should not be diminished, even in such regrettable instances where extreme protests are patently offensive to most Americans."  Evidently this doesn't apply to country music, because the editorial writer went so far as to call Hank Williams Jr. a "racist" for criticizing Barack Obama.  Evidently, it is okay for the Star-Ledger to call President Trump a "Hitler" but not for Hank Williams Jr. to say the same of President Obama. 

And as for Confederate flags, where was the outrage when the Obama campaign issued Confederate flag pins with his name on them -- or when Hillary Clinton did or the Clinton-Gore ticket?  Oh, they were corporate globalist Democrats and the Newhouse boys are down with that.  Got it.

Clinton-Gore flag 92.png

Back to George Carlin:  "They own all the big media companies, so they control all the news and information you get to hear.  They got you by the balls... they beat you over the head all day long, when they tell you what to believe, all day long beating you over the head in their media telling you what to believe, what to think, and what to buy."

Now what can we expect from an editorial writer who services the owners of such elitist snob titles as Conde Nast, Bon Appetit, Golf Digest, Architectural Digest, Golf World, Conde Nast Traveler, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, The World of Interiors,, and  Of course she thinks that all listeners to country music are racist working class scum.  In her world, all listeners to rap music are sexists.  She loathes the working class in the manner that her billionaire bosses prescribe.  They can't wait to have us all replaced by robots.  Our flaws will be their pretext for killing us.

Thinking of those editorial writers, a friend of ours has a real easy way to separate working Americans from those inhabitants of the elitists' "bubble world."  Ask them how they take their coffee.  Working Americans will ask for it in a mug -- doesn't matter the race of the drinker or the color of the coffee, it will be a mug.  That's not the way with people in bubble world.  In their neck-of-the-woods they're into something called coffee enemas -- so theirs isn't going into a mug, its heading on down a tube.  And that is about as good an indicator as there is.

GOP Youff: Older might make you better

Wow!  From the sobs we've been hearing it appears as though we've hurt the feelings of some of our party's youff.  Look, it's not all your fault that you are the bloodless shits that you are.  As George Carlin reminds us, you came from American parents, American schools, and American universities.  You have no idea about what a conservative is.  You believe Ronald Reagan is a myth and Bill Buckley a bedtime story.  You need toughening, so allow us to be your drill instructor.  Think of this as the reinstitution of the draft.

And remember, there is hope, you might get cooler as you get older.  At age 40 you'll be able to date all those cool 25-year-olds you missed out on. 

Was George Carlin right about us?

Remember this from George Carlin?  Hey, we apologize if anyone is offended, but these are his words not ours.

Maybe George Carlin was right.  Maybe we get the politicians we deserve.  If they suck, it is a reflection of how we suck.  Or maybe, we have stopped listening, learning, and participating in any meaningful way.

Look at what has become known as the "increase in the gas tax."  Actually it started out as an economic restructuring plan, but because that took too long to explain, it has morphed into a tax swap:  An increase in the tax on petroleum fuel in return for a cut in the sales tax and a cut in the tax on retirement income.  But even now, many people just speak of it as the "increase in the gas tax."

Instead of a civil, rational discussion, we've had performance art -- Dadaist theatre featuring NJ 101.5's Bill Spadea replete with his electric blue phallic symbol.  A "prop" he calls it, something used to make a point.  Indeed. 

The point to remember about Bill Spadea is that when the Spadeas decided to locate a new business, they chose Pennsylvania.  When they decided to expand, they chose Latin America.  Which when you think about it, is kind of the whole argument here.

The level of noise on NJ 101.5 has given rise to everything from death threats to gross displays of selfishness and ignorance.  Look, we all understand that New Jersey hasn't raised the price it pays to repair and maintain its roads and bridges since 1988.  While everywhere else is paying 40 cents or even 50 cents tax on a gallon of gasoline, New Jersey insists it can make do on only 14 1/2 cents a gallon.  Of course, it can't, and so it has borrowed so much to cover up its unwillingness to pay that now it has to raise the tax 23 cents a gallon -- with 10 cents of that going just to pay interest on the debt.

And yet some dreadfully ignorant souls still argue that they "deserve" a discount gas tax because they pay so much in other taxes.  That's kind of like going into a restaurant and asking them to charge you 1988 prices because your mortgage and household bills are too high.  Just see if that works.  The waiter will explain to you that one has nothing to do with the other.

A dog in pain will bite someone trying to help it.  If the last few weeks have proven anything, it's that some New Jersey taxpayers are a lot like that dog in pain.

Here's the problem.  New Jerseyeans pay too much in taxes -- starting with the highest-in-the-nation property taxes.  That's because New Jerseyeans have allowed the unelected state Supreme Court to take charge of the revenue from the income tax -- which is supposed to fund education and provide property tax relief.  So instead of the elected Legislature apportioning the income tax money, the unelected Court does it -- and is responsible for the most inequitable funding formula in America.  Half the economically disadvantaged children in the state are left out in the cold because they live in rural and suburban communities. 

But our problems don't end there.  New Jersey is the most over-regulated state in America, making everything in the state -- both private and public sectors -- more expensive.  New Jersey also has a tax structure that chases away investment and suppresses job creation.  On top of this, New Jersey is a bad choice if you are planning on retiring.

Starting with the premise that New Jersey is one of the worst states for business in America (49 out of 50, according to Forbes) and that this kills job creation and results in the flight of capital and people from the state, Senator Steve Oroho got to work on the problem and created a plan to do something about it.  Senator Oroho is a Republican in a Legislature where both chambers are controlled by Democrats, so whatever plan he came up with would have to be a starting point for a compromise with the majority party.

This Oroho guy knows his stuff.  Generally in America, the legislators on the committee charged with budgeting and fiscal matters are lawyers, but Oroho is no lawyer.  Oroho is a numbers guy -- a certified financial planner and CPA. 

Before beginning his career of public service, Steve Oroho was a senior financial officer for S&P 500 companies like W. R. Grace and  Young & Rubicam. He's put companies back on a healthy financial track.

Oroho learned the budget process at the grassroots -- as a borough councilman and county freeholder.  It has taken decades of experience and thousands of pages of balance sheets to make Senator Oroho what he is today. He's the only member of the Senate Budget Committee with these kind of skills. 

Steve Oroho is the kind of guy that you would go to if you screwed up your finances and wanted to find a way to restore your family and your future to economic health.  We don't have many of these kinds of professionals in the legislature -- in any legislature -- anywhere in the country.  What we have are lawyers.

Look at Congress.  435 members of the House and 100 Senators and just 10 numbers guys in the bunch.  Want to know why the country is in so much debt?

So here's this numbers guy, following the numbers, and the numbers are the numbers -- New Jersey is halfway down the path to economic hell (no, this isn't hell, the Weimar Republic was hell, food riots in Venezuela is hell) and along comes this rare-in-politics numbers guy.  He comes up with a plan that begins to alter our state's downward trajectory.  You see, it's all about keeping capital in New Jersey and attracting more capital.  That's under the current economic rules.  We could, of course, turn Marxist or something.  Those would be different rules.  We could build a Berlin-style wall around the state to keep wealthy earners in New Jersey.  Those would be different rules too.  But given the current set of rules we're working under, this numbers guy Oroho put a plan together.

And just like if you had someone over to your kitchen table to tell your family that you couldn't continue your 2016 lifestyle on a 1988 budget, numbers guy Oroho had to honestly tell the folks here in New Jersey that they've been kicking that can down the road far too long.  Three decades.  What stays the same price for three decades? 

Yes, the gas tax is too low in New Jersey.  We've been paying 14 1/2 cents per gallon to fund our roads while states like Pennsylvania need to charge 50 cents a gallon.  But we are also one of just two states that have both an Estate Tax and an Inheritance Tax and at least one of those has got to go.  Most economists finger the Estate Tax for destroying family businesses and farms and for inhibiting capital retention -- so Oroho's plan got rid of it.  New Jersey is a terrible place to retire, one of the worst in the country -- so the numbers told Oroho that to keep seniors and their wealth in state (and closer to their families) you had to cut the state's tax on retirement income.  So Oroho's plan eliminated the tax on retirement income for over 90 percent of retirees. There were other tax cuts too, as Oroho followed the numbers, addressing problem after problem, as they presented on the balance sheets.  

When you talk "numbers" to most politicians, they think "polls" -- polling numbers.  When polls first came out -- back around the time of FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower -- they were used to help those lions lead.  You didn't "follow" a poll, you used the poll to test language that enabled you to better explain why you were doing the right thing.  That's not the way it works today.  Today polls tell politicians what to think and what to say.

Now we all know that tax increases do not test well in polls, while new spending on this great program or that tests very well.  And that's why we're in so much debt, because the numbers most politicians follow aren't the numbers a guy like Steve Oroho follows.  The numbers Steve Oroho follows tell us to pay our way, keep debt minimal, attract investment, allow business to create jobs --all those things that used to be called "fiscally conservative."    

So here you have numbers guy Oroho, following his balance sheet numbers, running head long into politicians following their polling numbers.  Add into the mix a brand new talk radio host looking for ratings numbers and the level of discourse quickly goes into the toilet.  Oroho is following the balance sheet numbers, the politicians are scared of the polling numbers, and the talk show host is whipping up his rating numbers using feverish misinformation.  We're not talking here about honest policy differences, fully thought out and backed up with well-rounded intellectual arguments.  What we're talking about are those throw away comments worthy of the surly drunk at the end of the bar.

So here's the question New Jerseyeans are going to have to look into the mirror and ask themselves:  Is New Jersey still a place where an honest guy, following the numbers, can propose a plan that addresses the economic and fiscal realities the state faces?  Or must politics and emotion dominate every discussion? 

Was George Carlin right when he said (and we paraphrase), "Screw hope"?