Tax windfalls, conspiracy theories and the end of the world

20 May

This week, we received some good news for a change about New Jersey’s economy and state budget. The number (13,400) of private sector job increased last month and income tax revenues are higher than the Christie administration forecast.  However, government jobs increased by 600.  Given the budget situation at both the state and local levels, why is there any new hiring occurring in government?  Local, county and state governments should be downsizing to bring their budgets under control, not increasing the cost of government.

Also, income tax revenue is projected to give the state, depending on who is calculating the numbers, as much as $900 million in higher receipts for the next fourteen months.  All the funds should be applied to shoring up the state’s underfunded pension fund and healthcare obligations for retirees.   The Christie administration should not use this windfall to spend one dime on any government program or reinstate property tax rebates.  The fiscal responsible thing to do is to fund the state’s obligations with any additional revenue for as far as the eyes can see. In the meantime, the state should negotiate with the major state unions on how to restructure the pension and healthcare obligations to avoid a future financial debacle for both retirees and taxpayers.

Across the Hudson River, the arrest of the now ex-chief of the International Monetary Funds is raising all sorts of questions.  Economist and blogger Robert Wenzel has an intriguing take on the le affair DSK.   The conspiracy theories will be flying as they usually do whenever a powerful government official is “brought down.”

Will the beginning of the end of the world start tomorrow with the rapture?   The end of the world prophecies have been articulated for centuries.  Mayan and other prophecies predict December 21, 2012 (my 66th birthday) as the either the end of the world or the beginning of a new age on Earth.  One day the end of the world will happen.  The best estimate is that the end of the world will occur in 5 billion years when the Sun’s expansion gobbles up the Earth.  Before then, life on Earth will end as the temperature on our planet reaches several thousand degrees. In the meantime, don’t cancel your dinner reservations for Saturday or Sunday.    Have a restful weekend.

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