no core principles
Regarding “He could’ve been a contender” (Opinion, Oct. 16):
Richard Muti, the former mayor of Ramsey, highlights Governor Christie’s fall from being a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination to an also-ran. Muti leaves out the most important reason Christie’s presidential campaign imploded: He does not have core domestic and foreign policy principles that he deeply believes in.
Throughout his political career, Christie has been on both sides of key issues, including gun ownership restrictions, taxes and school spending. But more troubling was his belligerent foreign policy views during the campaign, namely that the U.S. government should continue intervening in the Middle East. In other words, the governor has been a consummate politician, holding up his fingers to see where the wind is blowing and crafting his message to the public.
As a former mayor, Muti should realize that governing is about horse trading — giving up something to get something. The 23-cent-a-gallon increase in the gas tax is one of the few things the state government gets right, that is, charge a fee for the use of a service.
The gas tax is really a user fee, similar to cellphone, cable and scores of other fees we pay to obtain services in the marketplace.
The increase could have been avoided if previous governors had increased it by a penny a year for the last 30 years, which would have eliminated the need to borrow to pay for transportation projects.
Fort Lee, Oct. 17
The writer is a professor of finance at Ramapo College.