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Christie Kills State Plan – Rebrands Corporate Strategic Plan

“The Arc of the Genie coefficient bends towards greed”

Christie Economic Plan Praised by Corporate Think Tank

Filed by: Crack Reporter

Trenton – Governor Christie’s controversial version of NJ’s State Plan drew praise from a leader of a conservative think tank today, as the draft Plan was approved unanimously by the State Plan Development Committee.

At a Wednesday Trenton hearing, the State Plan Development Committee was briefed on the new Christie State Plan.

State Plan Suffers An Ironic Death

The prior State Plan, based on the 1985 State Planning Act and legislative policy, was shelved by the Christie dominated State Planning Commission last year.

State planners were sent back to the drawing board, and a new plan was developed to reflect Christie Executive Orders (#1-4 and 78), based on Governor Christie’s Vision, Values, and Priorities.

The death of the State Plan at the hands of the Christie Administration was not unexpected, having been telegraphed at the outset in Transition reports and Executive Orders promoting economic development and relief from “job killing red tape”, Trenton bureaucracy, and “onerous regulations”.

The State Plan was long opposed by the business community and developers as a barrier to economic growth.

Yet the Plan’s promotion of growth in rural centers and its failure to map environmental features and enforce policies and standards to control growth led to criticism by environmentalists.

Indeed, former NJ Audubon Society Director of Conservation Bill Neil called the State Plan “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of NJ”. [Correction. I misquoted Bill Neil and left out prescient context. Neil’s correct 3/31/99 full quote: (see comments)

“Never before in the conservation history of this State have so many futile words and pages, and revisions of this futility, wasted so much of our citizens’ time, energy and hopes, and delivered so little”. So NJAS wants to distance itself from where the Plan stands today. We want to warn the citizens of New Jersey that they face more lost farms and forests, and more interminable legal battles in front of their local governments and state agencies, as evidenced by events in Hopewell, Pohatcong and Sparta Townships. They will continue to be stuck in traffic, face higher property tax bills, and witness the seemingly inevitable suburbanization of the State. We want to go on the record today, to state without equivocation that what is in this Plan won’t work, can’t work and is one of the greatest policy illusions ever visited upon the public in New Jersey.”

Neil’s views have been validated by recent land use data that document continuing land loss, evidence of the Plan’s failure to stop “sprawl” and promote urban redevelopment.

Ironically, Neil’s attacks on the Plan are vindicated by the pro-growth Christie Administration.

Christie Corporate rebranding effort

The longstanding legislatively mandated prior State Plan was revoked and “rebranded”.

The new Christie version of the Plan was “modeled on a corporate Strategic Plan”, according to the briefing provided by the head of the Christie Office of State Planning.

The draft Plan now moves to the full State Planning Commission for consideration and adoption, following a round of 6 statewide public hearings. Full approval is expected in Spring 2012

Sparks Fly

In a poorly attended Trenton hearing, sparks flew during testimony by  Byll Wulf, head of the conservative think tank HAYFER P.P.I, short for the Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand Private Policy Institute

While praising the Christie Plan, Wulf mocked the Occupy Wall Street movement’s attack on “the 1%” and the ideological legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

One on King’s most frequently cited and well known aphorisms is:

“The arc of history in long, but it bends towards justice”

Wulf denounced King’s notion as false, quaint, and wrongheaded socialism.

Citing recent economic data that shows extreme wealth concentration in the hands of the top 1% (the people Wulf praised as “the producing class”), Wulf instead claimed:

“The Arc of the Genie coefficient bends towards greed”

A genie coefficient is an indicator of the statistical distribution of an attribute, a measure of the degree of deviation from a uniform equal distribution.

In this case, Wulf cited the genie coefficient as evidence of the concentration of wealth and income, a trend Wulf supported.

Wulf recommended a set of policies and programs that would provide for even greater disparity, including:

Garden State Gated Communities Program

Millionaire’s Million Tree Initiative (100 trees on every Estate)

Prep School Blitz

  Helicopter para transit to Mid-Town

private tunnel to Wall Street (if  justified by sufficient wealth concentration).

Wulf praised the Christie Administration, saying:

“NJ must celebrate, publicize, and market these impressive results that flow from Republican policies of privatization, deregulation, tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, union busting, and free trade.”

He urged the Committee to “be bold, go big, and eliminate the vestiges of bureaucratic socialist planning that still remain in the Plan before you“.

Wulf urged the Plan to provide maps to illustrate this disparity so that what he called “the parasite class” could learn that they are dependent on the “producer class”.

The Christie Plan also drew support from a corporate lead organization called “NJ Future”.

The draft Plan now moves on to the full State Planning Commission and will undergo at least 6 public hearings across the state.

As Wulf finished and provided a copy of these remarks, he made some esoteric remark that they were offered in the “spirit of the Yesmen“.

Wulf’s testimony follows:

State Plan Development Committee

November 2, 2011

Thoughts on Governor Christie’s Draft State Plan

Byll Wulf, Founder and CEO – HAYFER P.P.I.

Good morning. My name is Byll Wulf, I am CEO of HAFER PPI, that an acronym for the “Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand Private Policy Institute”.

My brief remarks are based on the spatial economic planning work of Walter Izard, whose work I was privileged to study in Graduate School at Cornell, in the Department of City and Regional Planning.

For the non-planner in the room, Izard integrated classical location theory and concepts of “gravity” and “friction of distance” to explain the spatial and temporal attributes of economic activity on the landscape.

In reference to Izard, I would like to suggest the addition of a map, a chart, and a strategy.

These additions would enhance the objectives of Governor Christie’s Executive Order #78, provide a firm theoretical foundation, and a transparent and accessible methodology to elucidate the policy objectives of the Christie Plan.

1) Wealth mapping – A Gravity Model approach

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz recently published a paper indicating that the top 1% of individuals own more than 40% of the wealth of the country.

These 1% are the hard working, creative individuals – the “job producers” if you will – who drive the regional economy.

Both NJ Governor Christie and NY Gov. Cuomo are working hard to keep those producers in the region, instead of relocating to some off shore Caiman Island tax shelter resort.

With those policy objectives in mind, disaggregation and spatial mapping of this data on NJ wealth could help target important new policy initiatives, such as:

Garden State Gated Communities Program

Millionaire’s Million Tree Initiative

Prep School Blitz

Helicopter para transit to Mid-Town

Private Tunnel to Wall Street – if sufficient capital/wealth concentration can justify

2) The Arc of the Genie coefficient bends toward greed

A previous African American Nobel Peace Prize winner of a Marxist disposition – not Barak Obama, but a real African American - once said (paraphrasing Dr. King):

The Arc of the universe bends towards justice”

The last 40 years of US economic history have shown just how misguided and quaint that notion is.

Today, we replace that with an appeal to a higher notion:

“The arc of the Genie coefficient bends towards greed”.

Let me expand on that, assuming we all recall the genie coefficient from our college economics class.

The Congressional Budget Office recently released a report that found that the income of the the top 1% increased almost 300% over the last 30 years, accounting for almost 70% of total income.

A chart depicting the Genie curve for this distribution of this income data – in concert with wealth concentration mapping – would promote transparency and celebrate the success of 3 decades of policy initiatives.

At the same time, it would remind the parasites that they depend on the producers.

3) Public Investment strategy – transparency on huge returns on investment

Left wing cynics and assorted liberal do gooders have railed against the practice of “pay-to-play”.

As usual, they have it exactly backwards.

Instead, we note that the economic data suggest that strategic private investments in public officials has yields tremendous returns on investment.

Political donation data are available, and can be supplemented by voluntary disclosures not required under the US Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision.

NJ must celebrate, publicize, and market these impressive results that flow from Republican policies of privatization, deregulation, tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, union busting, and free trade.

These fabulous economic results would not have occurred without strategic private investments in public officials.

By demonstrating the HUGE ROI of private investments, NJ can enhance its leverage and attract even more private investment.

This would further bend the arc of the Genie coefficient towards even more concentrated wealth and prosperity for the producer class.

In conclusion, I urge you to be bold, go big, and eliminate the vestiges of bureaucratic socialist planning that still remain in the Plan before you.

I would be glad to respond to your questions.

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  1. Bill Neil
    November 3rd, 2011 at 22:05 | #1

    Hey Bill, thanks for this trip down memory lane. I believe that the last time I spoke in public on the then “Interim” State Plan was on March 31, 1999, in a speech enititled “Comments on the Ineffective, Terminally Indecisive, Interim Plan.”

    Here are just a few excerpts; I don’t want to detract from that fine testimony of the man from “Hayfer PPI.” But here goes:

    “Never before in the conservation history of this State have so many futile words and pages, and revisions of this futility, wasted so much of our citizens’ time, energy and hopes, and delivered so little…So NJAS wants to distance itself from where the Plan stands today. We want to warn the citizens of New Jersey that they face more lost farms and forests, and more interminable legal battles in front of their local governments and state agencies, as evidenced by events in Hopewell, Pohatcong and Sparta Townships..They will continue to be stuck in traffic, face higher property tax bills, and witness the seemingly inevitable suburbanization of the State…We want to go on the record today, to state without equivocation that what is in this Plan won’t work, can’t work and is one of the greatest policy illusions ever visited upon the public in New Jersey.”

  2. Bill Wolfe
    November 3rd, 2011 at 22:41 | #2

    @Bill Neil

    Hy Bill, you’re the best!

    Sorry for the misquote, but I hope you agree that my incorrect usage of the term “greatest hoax”, still captures your essence in “greatest policy illusions”!

    BTW, I got a belly laugh after a call from Jeff Tittel today – Jeff was punked, having fallen for the Yemen HAYFER PPI!!

    Yours,
    Wulf!

  3. Bill Neil
    November 4th, 2011 at 10:34 | #3

    No bill that’s fine, close enough, and you had the correct drift.

    New Jersey had the chance to continue its fine tradition as the nation’s leader in land use, if it had been willing to crown the ten years plus work on the voluntary plan with protective and mandatory standards for planning areas 4 & 5, and penalties for non-complying munis. PA3 would have been an ugly fight; we wanted to save all contig. forest areas of say 150-200 acres or greater there, but PA 3 would have been the place for the final compromises with the builders, upsetting all the local Sierra Club chapters. And I think you might remember this because we had worked on that “Draft” Findinds Section for the legislation which would have put these notions into effect.

    But as you know, the conservation “Old Guard,” that had pioneered with the Pinelands, went voluntary all the way with the state plan, and the state’s water and toxic pollution oriented conservation groups would not unite with us to fight the old guard on the last grand land-use battle: I’m talking about PIRG and NJ En. Federation. When I say “Old Guard,” I mean Dave Moore, Sally Dudley, Candance Ashmun, ANJEC and the NJ Conservation Foundation, those close to Helene Fenske and Chris Daggett. And of course, former Gov. Kean, who set the state planning process in motion in the 1980′s, never wanted a regulatory state plan, even as he contradictorily, it would seem, pursued a land-use Commission for the coastal zone in 1988.
    To fill out the picture in the 1995-2000 years, NJ Future under Barbara Lawrence was also anti-regulatory, and it seems to me, always as decorated with those corporate logos as the NASCAR racers. Not a bad composite reflection of the larger drift of national politics, is it, kind of a centr-right alliance against further land-use regulations at the state level, although I have to say in fairness, that the Old Guard, mostly moderate Republicans, did have the dilemma of an internal fight with the then dominant forces of the hard Right within the party. You’re living that reality now too, under Governor Christie. I never maintained it was easy, but without the Old Guard’s support, it wasn’t going to happen.

    My sense of urgency was driven by what I always saw was the ticking clock of development pressures, a small state caught between two major driving Metro areas, and the already huge cumulative and historical losses of farms, forests,wetlands and End. Species habitats, threatened by fragmentation even if the specific development project was done well. You can buy ten acres around a vernal pond, but if everything else around it is being developed, the water table goes, the smaller streams go, and soon the pond is not longer biologically viable.

    Since I don’t know in detail what’s happened since, I can only leave your readers with my sense of where things stood when I left NJ in 2001. But I will say this, that fighting global warming has a similar sense of urgency, if the science is right: the time for a moderate set of measures – whatever the compromises would be – won’t get there in time from the timeline I’m looking at.

    I’m reminded of an old dialogue of moderates versus – well – let us say more urgent directions during the old civil rights debates – going back to my freshman English course in college. What I remember was James Baldwin’s reply to something William Faulkner wrote – “Letter to the North” in 1956, with Faulkner pleading that the North still didn’t understand the South, and asking for a go slow policy on civil rights. Here is the closing paragraph from Baldwin’s reply in an essay called “Faulkner and Desegration”:

    “But the time Faulkner asks for does not exist – and he is not the only Sutherner who knows it. There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment, the time is always now.”

    As it was with civil rights, so I think it is with global warming, and the economic crisis facing our nation – and beyond. My best to all the citizens of New Jersey.

  4. Bill Neil
    November 4th, 2011 at 10:52 | #4

    And Bill, forgive me: I left Franklin Parker off the list of the “Old Guard.” The last time I saw him in NJ – I think it was at the Legislature in Trenton – he was livid – angry at me for real or imagined offenses against the prerogatives of those conservationists who were to manage “all things Pinelands.” As you know, Franklin was famous for his quiet demeanor, so I can only infer that I must have done something just awful,awful. Not really, of course.

    No apologies and no regrets.

  1. November 14th, 2011 at 16:48 | #1
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