It’s not an income problem. It’s a benefits problem.

“This is different, isn’t it?” Kroft asked New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie.

“It is very different,” Christie said. “The reason it’s different is because the only choices left are choices that people previously have said were politically impossible, that you couldn’t do. You couldn’t cut K to 12 education funding. You couldn’t do those things. They were, you couldn’t talk about pension and benefit reform for the public sector unions. That were third rails of politics. We are now left with no alternatives.”

“Just the third rail?” Kroft asked.

“Yeah, that’s it. I’m just gonna grab it and go, and let the chips fall where they may,” Christie said.

“This is unsustainable, right?” Kroft asked.

“Totally unsustainable. We have a benefit problem,” Christie said. “It’s not an income problem from the state. It’s a benefit problem. And so we gotta change those benefits.”

When one teacher told him at a public hearing, “And you’re not compensating me for my education and you’re not compensating me for my experience. That’s all,” the governor replied, “Well you know what, then you don’t have to do it!”

It’s a scene that is starting to play out all over the country.

“Some union leaders have suggested that you’re running the state like Tony Soprano,” Kroft told Christie.

“Well, as an Italian American, I take great offense to that,” he replied, laughing. “Listen, you know what it is? I’m the first person to expose them for what they’ve been doin’ to the public.”

Asked if he wants the public employee unions to share the pain, Christie told Kroft, “You bet. I want them to share in the sacrifice. And this is what I say to public sector unions: ‘Listen you can boo me now, but I’m the first governor who has walked into this room in ten years and told you the truth. And here is the truth. If you don’t partner with me to get this done in ten years you won’t have a pension.’ And that’s the truth.”

via Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis: 60 Minutes: Day of Reckoning Arrives; Chris Christie

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