Murphy proposes French-style fuel tax that caused the Yellow-Vests Movement

Wikipedia defines the Yellow Vests Movement as “a populist, grassroots, revolutionary political movement for economic justice that began in France in October 2018.” The movement is motivated by rising fuel prices as well as government and crony-capitalist-induced escalations in the cost of living.

The Yellow Vests Movement holds that a disproportionate burden of government tax “reforms” fall on “non-elites” – the working and middle classes – particularly in rural and suburban areas. In France, the Movement has called for direct democracy through the implementation of citizens' initiative referendums.

The Movement spans the political spectrum, drawing from voters on both the Right and Left who have been pushed to the “periphery” by government policies that support crony capitalism. It gets its name from yellow high-visibility vests, which French government regulation requires all drivers have in their vehicles and to wear during emergencies.

Writers as diverse as Ralph Nadar, Chris Hedges, and Christophe Guilluy have written about a fusion of economically stressed voters on the “periphery” of the new economy coming together to challenge government and crony capitalist elites. It has been noted that the Trump prosperity has temporarily slowed down this evolution, much in the way that Watergate (1974) was simply a bump in the road on the way to a conservative resurgence and the election of Ronald Reagan and a Republican-controlled Senate (1980).

The Yellow Vest Movement started with the imposition of a new “green” fuel tax that was the last straw for working and middle class voters trying to make ends meet. Now it looks like New Jersey is heading down the same road. On Monday, the NJ Spotlight reported:

In what could amount to the most significant regional effort yet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 12 states have issued a draft policy framework to create a cap-and-trade program to reduce global warming pollution from vehicles.

The proposal, developed by the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI), is modeled somewhat after the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program that for the past decade has helped clamp down on carbon pollution from power plants.

This draft framework, while sparse in details, proposes to put a cap on emissions from the transportation sector by requiring state fuel suppliers to buy allowances, which would be auctioned off for the right to emit carbon.

The draft does not describe what the level of caps would be, precisely who would be regulated, how much the allowances could cost, or how quickly the caps would go down. The transportation sector has replaced the power industry as the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. In New Jersey, the sector accounts for roughly 40% of the state’s carbon pollution.

Motorists will likely pay at the pump

In the end, the cost will likely end up being paid for by motorists at the pump, a difficult choice for New Jersey and other states already pursuing new clean-energy solutions that are expected to be reflected in higher energy bills — at least for the short term.

Within the United States, New Jersey has perhaps the clearest elite vs. working class divide with more than half the state’s poor families living in rural and suburban communities subsidizing the property taxes of wealthy professionals and rich corporations nestled in the so-called Abbott Districts. Government directed, taxpayer-subsidized, crony-capitalists in Abbotts like Camden reap profits by husbanding poverty.

How will higher fuel costs go down with voters who are already stretched to the limit? How is this latest Murphy administration scheme going to help a state with a high rate of foreclosure and the highest property taxes in America?

Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space have proposed legislation to block Governor Murphy’s plans to raise the cost of fuel in New Jersey. A-5042 prohibits New Jersey’s participation in multi-state cap and trade programs like that proposed by the Transportation & Climate Initiative.

This legislation should get bi-partisan support before November 5th and the cold weather months set in. Higher fuel prices are not something anyone wants to see for the holidays.

Beck dismisses tax cut for vets as "cosmetic"

Sen. Jennifer Beck dismissed two tax cuts aimed at helping veterans and commuters as "cosmetic."  Her comment was made to reporter John Reitmeyer, and appears today in NJ Spotlight. 

One of those tax cuts is a $3,000 income-tax cut for honorably discharged veterans and the other is a new state income tax deduction worth up to $500 annually for commuter households making $100,000 or less.

To balance these tax cuts fiscally, the plan is to scrap a proposed state income tax deduction for wealthy people who contribute to charities.  The deduction on charitable contributions was strongly supported by Senator Beck and the leader of the Republican caucus, Senator Tom Kean Jr. 

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Why is Bill Spadea out-and-out lying on NJ 101.5 and why is his station manager, the Townsquare Media corporation, and the Oaktree Capital Management corporation allowing him to lie?  It appears that he has something for Senator Beck that causes him to lose all semblance of objectivity.  While this might be understandable, the lengths to which Spadea has taken it are remarkable.

Again, we remind those concerned that the federal government grants for-profit corporations a monopoly on the use of a certain radio frequency provided that they abide by a few rules and regulations.  One is that they should at least try to be honest.  The FCC website states:

"As public trustees, broadcasters may not intentionally distort the news. The FCC has stated publicly that 'rigging or slanting the news is a most heinous act against the public interest'."

What this means is that a radio station shouldn't out and out lie just to inflame public opinion in an effort to jazz up the ratings in order to sell more advertising and reap a windfall in corporate profits.  Neither should it do so because it finds the spokesperson for one position more personally appealing than that of another.  Facts and a fair presentation of the arguments on BOTH sides is the only course worthy of the name journalism.


Class hatred gets in the way of Working Families

New Jersey Working Families should be applauded for bringing bread and butter issues back under the noses of the sex and social issue obsessed Democrats who run the Legislature.  For too many years now, when told of high unemployment, rising foreclosure, the lack of job opportunities, or the high level of child poverty, men like Steve Sweeney would adopt their "progressive" stance, point to their "conversion" on same-sex marriage, and then rush out to Hollywood to pocket a big sweaty wad of gay money.  It's a good thing when someone reminds these Democrats that there are a whole lot of working people and people who want to work who are living in the crapper and the highly-touted "bi-partisan" stuff that Democrats like Sweeney like to brag about hasn't done a whole hell of a lot to make a difference.  

Now for the criticism.  New Jersey Working Families is at the center of the debate over whether or not to link an increase in New Jersey's gas tax with a reduction of the state's estate and inheritance taxes.  The group is concerned about what they call the "inherent unfairness" of such a deal.  As John Reitmeyer wrote in yesterday's NJ Spotlight:  "That’s because an increase of the gas tax will consume a bigger percentage of a low-wage worker’s income compared to those who make a lot of money, and the wealthy stand to gain the most from lowering the estate and inheritance taxes."

The NJ Spotlight story carried this quote from Analilia Mejia, the executive director of New Jersey Working Families:  "The idea that somehow this tradeoff is fair, is tax fairness . . . is in our eyes preposterous... To us, this concept basically boils down to the premise of a future tax cut when you die that most New Jerseyans will never actually see."  Ms. Mejia made her comments during a news conference held in the State House yesterday.

We understand Ms. Mejia's frustration.  There are many in New Jersey who got rich by gaming the system.  Others by treating their workers like dogs and their customers like dopes. Crony capitalism, corporate welfare, fraud, waste, and abuse of the taxpayer.  And there will be no justice for these people.  You can't build a wall and chain them to the bedrock of New Jersey.  Make their lives difficult and they will go on living their good lives -- somewhere other than New Jersey.  You crave justice, but you are not going to get it.  You'll just make things worse for those who can't move.

The rich can always move.  And when enough rich people move you will begin to see shortfalls in income tax collections.  Taxes on spending will suffer too -- and then there goes your safety net.  At a time of high unemployment and growing dependency, New Jersey needs high earners to provide the life support that others depend on. 

There is no loyalty to the state of New Jersey in the way there is to the nation of the United States.  Even top members of the political class who structured the high-tax, low-job creation, corporate crony playground that New Jersey is, bolt to low-tax states when they get the chance -- and their pension checks and spending follows them.  Case in point:  Former Democrat Speaker Joe Roberts (D-Norcross).

According to figures provided by the Internal Revenue Service (that's President Barack Obama's IRS) over the last ten years those leaving New Jersey have taken $19 billion more income away with them than the those moving into New Jersey have brought with them.  This is called net outflow -- and a $19 billion net outflow allowed to grow at the same rate, year by year, will in time kill New Jersey's ability to fund a safety net.  And then where will Working Families be?

It may be galling not to indulge, but Working Families shouldn't let class hatred get in the way of common sense.  We need the rich... well, their money anyway.