The Jersey comedown:
The Comeback Skid, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: There will be two big stars at the Republican National Convention, and neither of them will be Mitt Romney. One will, of course, be Paul Ryan, Mr. Romney’s running mate. The other will be Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who will give the keynote address. And while the two men could hardly look or sound more different, they are brothers under the skin.
How so? Both have carefully cultivated public images as tough, fiscally responsible guys willing to make hard choices. And both public images are completely false.
I’ve written a lot lately deconstructing the Ryan myth, so let me turn today to Mr. Christie.
When Mr. Christie took office in January 2010, New Jersey — like many other states — was in dire fiscal straits thanks to the effects of a depressed economy..., so like other governors, Mr. Christie was forced to engage in belt-tightening.
So ... while Mr. Christie has made a lot of noise about his tough budget choices, other governors have done much the same. Nor has he eschewed budget gimmicks... But ... Mr. Christie talks a good (and very loud) game about his willingness to make tough choices, making big claims about spending cuts — claims, by the way, that PolitiFact has unequivocally declared false.
And for the past year he has been touting what he claims is the result of those tough choices: the “Jersey comeback”... It was ... supposed to demonstrate that good times were back, revenue was on the upswing, and it was now time for what Mr. Christie really wants: a major cut in income taxes ...that ... would do very little for the middle class but give large breaks to the wealthy.
But in any case, the good times are by no means back, and neither is the revenue boom that was supposed to justify a tax cut. So has the very responsible Mr. Christie accepted the idea of at least delaying his tax-cut plan until the promised revenue gains materialize? Of course not.
Which brings me back to the comparison with Paul Ryan. Mr. Ryan, as people finally seem to be realizing, is at heart a fiscal fraud, boasting about his commitment to deficit reduction but actually placing a much higher priority on tax cuts for the wealthy. Mr. Christie may have a different personal style, but he’s playing the same game.
In other words, meet the new boaster, same as the old boaster. And pray that we won’t get fooled again.