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Republican Lies Work in Trenton (Again)


In the dark of night, yesterday the 2010 – 2011 Legislative session finally ended.

It was a very bad day for the environment, public health, truth, and democracy.

Fittingly, one of the final shameful legislative acts was a 27-9 [error: 29-7] Senate vote to confirm Richard Vodhen to the Highlands Council.

Vohden had not only strongly opposed and worked against the Highlands Act (and failed to disclose that on the Judiciary Committee questionnaire), but outright lied to the Judiciary Committee about it.

(see this superb blow by blow piece by  Juliet Fletcher of the Record’s “The Source” blog: Christie’s Highlands nominee once fought against preservation act

But imagine that: only 9 [7] NJ Senators have a problem with confirming a liar.

(and its not the first time. The precendent for getting away with lying to the Judiciary Cmte to get confirmed as a Highlands Council member was set by the Rilee confirmation, see: Another Christie Highlands Act Opponent Released by Judiciary Committee_

We are reminded of Greek philosopher Diogenes, who carried a lamp through the streets of Athens in search of one honest man.

But Vohden – a political small fry – only engaged in little lies.

The Big Lies were played by the Leadership.

The Republicans, led by Governor Christie – with support of Democratic leaders like Sweeney and their corporate puppet masters in the Chamber of Commerce – have shamelessly propagated a Big Lie (and I use “Big Lie” as a term of art in the realm of propaganda).

The Big Lie is that environmental regulations – cynically scapegoated with the slogan “Red Tape” – harm the economy and are a significant cause of the economic recession, unemployment and fiscal crises.

But heck, don’t believe me – read Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, who recently wrote:

The good news: After spending a year and a half talking about deficits, deficits, deficits when we should have been talking about jobs, job, jobs we’re finally back to discussing the right issue.

The bad news: Republicans, aided and abetted by many conservative policy intellectuals, are fixated on a view about what’s blocking job creation that fits their prejudices and serves the interests of their wealthy backers, but bears no relationship to reality.

Listen to just about any speech by a Republican presidential hopeful, and you’ll hear assertions that the Obama administration is responsible for weak job growth. How so? The answer, repeated again and again, is that businesses are afraid to expand and create jobs because they fear costly regulations and higher taxes. …

The first thing you need to know, then, is that there’s no evidence supporting this claim and a lot of evidence showing that it’s false. …

So Republican assertions about what ails the economy are pure fantasy, at odds with all the evidence. Should we be surprised?

At one level, of course not. Politicians who always cater to wealthy business interests say that economic recovery requires catering to wealthy business interests. Who could have imagined it?

Yet it seems to me that there is something different about the current state of economic discussion. Political parties have often coalesced around dubious economic ideas — remember the Laffer curve? — but I can’t think of a time when a party’s economic doctrine has been so completely divorced from reality. And I’m also struck by the extent to which Republican-leaning economists — who have to know better — have been willing to lend their credibility to the party’s official delusions.

Partly, no doubt, this reflects the party’s broader slide into its own insular intellectual universe. Large segments of the G.O.P. reject climate science and even the theory of evolution, so why expect evidence to matter for the party’s economic views?

So lets look at just one of the Big Lies the Legislature swallowed last night.

Following Governor Christie’s lead, they passed a bill to allow extension of sewer lines into and promote development of 300,000 acres of NJ’s last remaining environmentally sensitive lands: forests, endangered species habitat, sensitive stream corridors, and reservoir watersheds.

The alleged justification of the bill was to promote economic development and jobs. As Tom Johnson wrote:

Business lobbyists disputed the environmentalists’ take on the day. Michael Egenton, senior vice president of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, said the day’s agenda reflected recognition of how bad the state’s economy is.

“I think the legislature has had a reality check,” Egenton said. “They realize that jobs and the economy are the top priority. When they look at a bill, they ask, ‘Does it create jobs, does it stimulate the economy, and can it put people to work?’ ” he said.

As we’ve noted numerous times, the economic recession has nothing to do with environmental regulations and everything to do with lack of regulation of Wall Street speculation and fraud.

The construction industry is depressed due to the bursting of the real estate bubble, which was fueled by reckless Wall Street excess. There are record surpluses of vacant commercial space and foreclosed upon homes. At the same time, there is record low demand for new construction.

So, the legislation to allow expansion of sewers purportedly to serve construction will do absolutely nothing to create jobs or economic development.

Even worse – if that is imaginable – is that even if there were demand for new construction, the bill still would be insane.

NJ has a $28 BILLION water infrastructure deficit.

We can’t maintain the existing sewer infrastructure, so why on earth would we want to spend money on extending new sewer lines?

This kind of legislation could only pass in our totally corrupt, fact free political environment, fueled by lies, special interest money, and divorced from all democratic principles or public opinion.


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  1. scott olson
    January 10th, 2012 at 12:52 | #1

    Lies, Lies, Lies Lies…yeah: http://bit.ly/ykJwlz

  1. February 17th, 2012 at 19:57 | #1
  2. June 12th, 2015 at 16:14 | #2
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