The Governor’s Hatchet

May 25, 2010

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) is causing a lot of commotion in the Garden State. Yes, New Jersey is in serious financial trouble, but no, the Christie budget is not the proper solution. As then presidential candidate Barack Obama said in September 2008, of candidate John McCain’s call for a budget freeze, making broad, one-size-fits-all budget cuts is akin to “using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.”

A hatchet is a tool associated with violence; a scalpel is a tool associated with healing. Governor Christie’s plans to defund libraries, Revolutionary War landmarks, public parks, programs that help poor students attend college, and psychiatric hospitals does violence to the cultural and intellectual life of New Jerseyans.

By making such decisions while also choosing to give tax breaks to the wealthy in New Jersey, Gov. Christie is sending the false message that the few who have amassed fortunes matter more than the many who seek self-actualization. By openly expressing disgust for teachers and state workers, Gov. Christie is sending the false message that the working class is the enemy of the state.

On Saturday, May 22, 2010, over 30,000 New Jerseyans gathered in Trenton to take a unified stand against this anti-intellectual approach to balancing the budget. Speakers representing teachers, union members, and students all expressed the need for a new movement—a workers’ movement—to save New Jersey from losing its middle class.

There are ways to use the scalpel in New Jersey. The brutality of Governor Christie’s plan is not necessary. On May 22, 2010, the people stood up for the path of healing.

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