Governor Christie is engaged in outright deception and bullshit.
Look at these numbers. Look at the deal Public Sector employees get over Private Sector. #FWIWW pic.twitter.com/TDlRRODj7Y
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) March 11, 2015
So where is the bullshit?
Look at the fine print. The state employee data is the expected premium cost* of a 62 year old with family coverage. The comparison cost is the average privately covered employee in the state of New Jersey.
The average private sector New Jersey worker gets a family health plan with approximately an $18,000 per year total premium. That is roughly $1500 per month. The typical private sector plan will be a high Silver or a low Gold. The state of New Jersey is offering high platinum plans for a total premium of under $1,800 per month for a family.
There is one technical piece of bullshit. New Jersey is self-insured, it pays all of its medical bills and bears all the medical risk. It contracts with two insurers for administrative support only (ASO) contracts to run claims and deal with member complaints. If New Jersey was fully insured, it could get a per age band price as it has to offer roughly the same plans to all eligible employees. The young subsidize the old to a far greater degree in employer sponsored coverage than on the Exchange.
Now the flaming pile of bullshit is far greater. It is the age comparison. 62 year olds are expensive to cover as they have the pre-existing condition of being old. The average covered worker in the New Jersey private sector is probably in their late 30s or early 40s. As I explained earlier today, case mixture is important for any side by side comparisons. Age is driving the vast majority of the difference in total costs.
Let’s look at Health Sherpa for some examples for relative pricing depending on age. It won’t be a perfect comparison, but it will put us in the neighborhood. Family 1 will be a pair of 62 year olds, a 17 year old and a 15 year old. Family 2 will replace the adults with 41 year olds. All will be non-smokers. All plans will be the least expensive Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield if possible, as they are the low cost ACO for the New Jersey state employee plan. If not, I will take the lowest cost plan in the metal band.
State Employee Horizon 15 $1,793 for Family A or B
Newark Family A: Silver $1,733, Gold $2,369 Platinum (not offered by HBCBS,) Oxford plan $2,642
Newark Family B: Silver $957, Gold $1,308, Platinum (not offered by HBCBS) Oxford plan $1,459
Trenton Family A: Silver $1,733, Gold $2,369 Platinum (not offered by HBCBS,) Oxford plan $2,642
Trenton Family B: Silver $957, Gold $1,308, Platinum (not offered by HBCBS) Oxford plan $1,459
As you can see, just changing the ages of the adults from 62 to 41 basically cuts the plan premium cost by 40% to 50%. A 62 year old state employee costs the state of New Jersey a lot of money because s/he is old not because they are ripping off the state or the taxpayers. Those costs are covered by the twenty and thirty somethings while the forty somethings basically cover the other people who don’t quite want to admit that they are middle aged.
Let me finish this post off by revisiting the greatest blog post ever:
Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance. I was first made aware of this during an accounting class. We were discussing the subject of accounting for stock options at technology companies….
Our lecturer, in summing up the debate, made the not unreasonable point that if stock options really were a fantastic tool which unleashed the creative power in every employee, everyone would want to expense as many of them as possible, the better to boast about how innovative, empowered and fantastic they were.
We also learned in accounting class that the difference between “making a definite single false claim with provable intent to deceive” and “creating a very false impression and allowing it to remain without correcting it” is not one that you should rely upon to keep you out of jail. Even if your motives are noble.
This argument makes perfect sense, but until you get it down to 140 characters, the truth won’t mean much.
@Mike J: Old people expensive, average cost average. Christie lies
I got plenty of characters to spare.
I’m shocked that Christie would use an apples and oranges comparison.
that’s a given regardless of topic.
TELL IT, MR. MAYHEW!!
My wormy apple = your juicy orange (lies Christie). See http://bit.ly/1BxMEgU
[that leaves almost half a tweet on the table]
@pluege: And I think that’s under 140 characters.
@Richard Mayhew: Also very good. Do you have a Twitter account?
Jack the Second
Eh, that’s the least of the sins here.
1. Health benefits are part of your total compensation. What fraction is “covered” by your employers and what fraction you “pay” for is all bullshit at the end of the day; it’s all compensation, no matter how it is reported on your paystub or what the tax benefits are of writing it one way or the other.
2. It’s all pay-shaming. Republicans explicitly believe rank-and-file government workers should not be fairly compensated for their labor, and are trying to incite jealousy from rank-and-file private sector workers who are not being fairly compensated for their labor. Why should the goal be to compensate public-sector workers less, instead of compensating private-sector workers more? They always want to drag down instead of lift up.
@Violet: bjdickmayhew on twitter
@Jack the Second: Re: your second point–of course Republicans think government workers shouldn’t be compensated as much as private sector workers. Government jobs aren’t real jobs. Government workers are leeches. Except the military of course, who are The Greatest Heroes In The World (but don’t come crawling to us for health benefits when you get injured in some war we sent you to). Etc.
Why didn’t Christie just hide his sources? Trying for cross-over appeal to the wonks?
More GOP outreach fail.
@Richard mayhew: Great! Thanks!
@Violet: I think that gives the GOPers too much credit. The GOPer pols know very well that government workers do real work, and that if that work does not get done, the pols’ asses will be on the line at the next election.
Thing is, the GOP pols in government have to pay government workers for real work on the pols’ dime, and the pols don’t like that. It violates their sense of ethics, and reduces the take.
Someone needs to tell Governor ‘Big P***y’ Bonpensiero that the Slightly Cross-Eyed Dullard from Wisconsin is a lot better at kicking state employees than he is. He’s got the yelling down pat, but until he starts going on TeeVee to tell Great-Grandma about the death threats he’s been getting from janitors and kindergarten teachers, he’ll never make it to The Show.
So what if public employees get a better deal? People should have access to better and more affordable health care, not less. Private sector can do whatever it wants, an idea no conservative has ever seemed to have an issue with, except when it comes to public sector employees. It’s too bad so many voters buy into the demonization of public employees, but glob forbid someone points out the vast income gap between the 1% and everyone else, and suddenly your a commie.
@Jack the Second:
This x1000. They don’t want honest comparisons because it would prevent the pay shaming from being effective. They want to pretend that it’s reasonable to compare the costs between employees doing different things, so that the relatively high pay of government employees is a sign they’re overcompensated, not that they’re being paid appropriately for doing work that is more challenging and responsible than the average job.
The example I keep going back to on this is an ongoing campaign to attack the pay of employees for the Los Angeles DWP. I have seen numerous articles that talk about their pay and benefits in absolute terms, but I have yet to see a single comparison between them and workers at comparable jobs for other utilities, either public or private. I’m pretty sure that’s because those comparisons would show that their wages are normal for their jobs, and the complaints about how much they’re making are BS pay shaming.
Since when are benefits not part of the whole compensation package?
Do the employees not work for compensation? Would it be better if they got more pay per hour and paid more of the health cost?
As governor Christie gets better health insurance than snow plow drivers and I’d wager they have more stressful daily work
Well, hold on a second there. What is “fair?” To cite a not-so-hypothetical example, a GS-14 lawyer at the Office of Chief Counsel of the IRS with experience in a technical area that is valued by BigLaw/Big 4 can reasonably expect to double his/her base salary, and get comparable benefits, if he or she spins the revolving door. Should GS-14 salaries be twice what they are, or does that GS-14 salary accurately monetize the differences in working conditions, stress, and job security between Gubmint and BigLaw/Big 4?
That’s an easy one, because there is a big fat comparable right around the corner. DWP employees, from the lowest to the highest, should make exactly what a comparable SCE employee makes. Period, full stop.
Except for Republican government workers. I work with a whole county full of them. The wingnuts among them are convinced they’re the only county employees who are productive. You just marvel at how they manage to square this whole worldview while working for the government. Backflips. I don’t even say anything. They conduct both sides of the conversation.
One of the most resentful, bitter anti-government worker wingnuts in this town is a lawyer who was married to a public school teacher (she’s deceased) and both of his grown daughters are public school teachers. Doesn’t matter. The other public employees are all lazy and overpaid. Just his family members excepted.
There is a wonderful book called The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. I didn’t know I was often lying with charts and data until I took Edward Tufte’s classes and read his books. It is often easy to lie with charts and not even know you are skewing the data.
@burnspbesq: Which doesn’t really contradict what was stated. Any salary paid by the government is by definition too high, according to Republicans.
Working for the government is a bit like going through life wearing Judge Smails’ hat. You have to patiently tolerate all kinds of Rodney Dangerfields trashing your hat until those folks realize you are standing there – at which point they still look straight at you and tell you “It looks good on you though”.
@Tommy: Long before Tufte, there was (and still is) the classic text “How To Lie With Statstics”. Cherry-picking population subsets is an old technique.
I wouldn’t go that far. I could see them negotiating for lower wages but better benefits, or even LADWP being willing to offer better overall compensation in the hopes of attracting superior employees. From the sounds of it, the local municipal utilities have done better at responding to crises like massive wind storms bringing down large numbers of lines, than SCE has, and as a customer I’d be willing to pay more for better quality service. But instead of making that kind of comparison, the people trying to tear down LADWP employees are going to straight pay shaming, which I take as an admission that the comparisons to other utilities don’t support the argument that LADWP workers are grossly overpaid.
@Belafon: I think my father was a GS17 at the end of his life. Made around $120,000 per year. One of my best friends graduated at the top of his law school class at the Univerisity of Michigan. Enforcement lawyer at the EPA for 20+ years. I don’t know what he makes but assume it isn’t a small amount of money. Yet if he wanted, as my father could have done, they could have made a ton more in the private sector. If you want the best of the best to serve our government you have to pay them a little above poverty wages.
I once got into an argument with a NC wingnut who was whining about his fucked up county school system. You see, he KNEW how messed up the system was because a whole bunch of his family had been working in it and on the school board for 15 years.
Dollars to doughnuts would’ve been my guess on Christie’s preferred metric.
Because public sector employees are the enemy, right Christie?
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
There’s your problem right there. Why would a Republican want the best to serve the government? Makes getting away with the grift harder.
That… that probably gets you lots of followers.
Who pays Chris Christie’s salary?
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I live in a district where we pay our teachers a nice wage. Our schools are the best in the state if not the best in the nation. We are proud of our schools. These are public schools. Part of the public record I can see what we spend. Often $70,000 for a teacher and I don’t know a single person upset about it.
A lot of disappointed followers.
Just One More Canuck
@Richard Mayhew: almost a haiku
@Kay: Republican exceptionalism!
mai naem mobile
This is the same Gov Christie who has spent multiples of the money spent on security on Gov Corzine. Also used a helicopter to get to his kids sports event. Also used limos and more expensive transportation when he was.the NJ US AG instead of using cabs. Stayed at the Four Seasons instead of a Hilton. Christie doesn’t bother try to save taxpayer $$$ when it comes to his spending. Fuck him.
I don’t have a twitter account but I’m hoping those that do add a tweet. There are so many good comments and who knew that there were so many ways to say liar, liar.
@Jack the Second: Yep. That’s how I read it as well.
Deflecting from this:
And if you don’t want the best of the best serving our government because you believe that government is terrible, you’ll offer them poverty wages, complain about the quality of employees you get, and use this as proof of how worthless government is. That seems to be the wingnut plan.
With Christie around, I don’t know that the doughnuts would last long enough to make a helpful comparison.
Is he running for president yet? Has he made an official announcement?
@Roger Moore: doughnuts? He eats small game. Rabbits, birds, an occasional rodent.
Above the table, I assume it’s the taxpayers of New Jersey. Under the table, I’m pretty sure he’s getting something from Exxon Mobile.
He’d hardly be a Republican otherwise.
Better keep him away from Donald Trump and Rand Paul at those Presidential debates, then, or something really ugly might happen.
There are a dozen cookies. Republican politician and his CEO buddies grab 10. You get one, and government employee gets one. Then Republican politician exclaims, “Hey! That government employee took one of YOUR cookies!”
Both excellent books.
I bet that if every registered voter in New Jersey who voted for the Lap Bandit were asked to apologize, most of them would.
On another note, the headline of the March 11, 2015 New York Times editorial on the letter to Iran’s leaders signed by 47 Republican Senators is “Republican Idiocy on Iran”. Is that the first time the editorial board has used the term “Republican Idiocy”?
If so, what took them so long?
shorter christie: 62-year-olds are a drain on our society!
@Roger Moore: As crusty old real conservative John Adams might put it ‘the Republican idiotocracy’. If he didn’t coin that term, he sure did love to use it.
Though, that is unpossible, because Mr. Brooks has told us that our stalwart forebears were self-reliant non-frivologists, with moral fibre.
‘varmints’, if you will.
Lindsey Graham, Real American, Real Man, Running for President:
Capitol Hill – FEMA CAMP!
Obama’s failure to use the military domestically has been a big disappointment.
So President Graham would “literally” use the military to confine Congress in Washington DC. Is this constitutional or is the Constitution no longer a thing with Republicans?
@srv: I kind of like the idea of holding them till they do their job for a change, e.g. passing appropriations and confirming or denying Presidential nominees.
Can’t remember the names, but back in the day a Pope died and the cardinals couldn’t agree on a successor. This was when the Pope was an important figure in secular politics, so after a year or two with no Pope the local prince got fed up and ordered the cardinals locked in and fed only bread and water. They picked a Pope a couple of days later. I believe the prince’s approach could be profitably applied to Congress.
@beltane: hmm .. they certainly know about the first and second amendment, or so they say.
or at least their interpretations of the first and second amendments
@beltane: The latter, I think.
@srv: He wouldn’t lock up the Congressional bathrooms and liquor cabinets first? Tyrant!
Edit: all he has to do is hide Boehner’s smokes and things would get done real quick.
Never start a land war in Asia.
Never forceably confine a group of people who have the power to impeach you.
It’s tragic, but there are far too many members of Congress who should be kept under confinement for the simple reason that their derangement poses a threat to themselves and others.
@Baud: This means that Bill Kristol will successfully persuade the next Republican president to place Congress under armed guard.
@beltane: And to start a land war in Asia.
@jl: Or lock them in the liquor cabinet.
@Baud: He did that already. But Asia’s a huge continent with plenty of land to start more wars on.
‘ Never start a land war in Asia. ‘
Bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran! (from a song by The McCains, and olde tymey song and dance group).
‘ Never forceably confine a group of people who have the power to impeach you. ‘
And who is he military going to obey, Comander in Chief Graham, or a bunch of Congresscritters messing their britches and Boehner crawling around on the floor, rummaging through desks for smokes?
@jl: I have a feeling that when the U.S. military finally gives up on civilian government, it won’t be for President Graham.
i believe that Graham was a JAG in the military. He will explain the Constitutional nuances to the troops and they will follow orders.
Actually, I hope that if the grifter, cynic and nutjub GOP pres hopefuls keep letting the crazy and the BS flow, it will shave off enough few points in the general to doom their nominee in the general, whoever it is.
What a stupid thing for him to say.
Iowa Old Lady
In my daydreams, the Rs nominate Bush, Cruz launches a third party run, and much entertainment follows.
@Cervantes: They seem to think they can keep ramping up the nutso for the base, and it won’t harm them at all in the general. I hope they keep operating on that premise.
@Iowa Old Lady: My daydreams are much more extreme.
What feverish dreams they must have, can you imagine?
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:
They don’t. Except for “policy intellectuals“, as Andrew Bacevich calls them, who are always in high demand in order to justify whatever the state wants to do.
You know, people like this guy, a legend in his own time for being described as “the dumbest fucking guy on the face of the planet” by Tommy Franks, no Mensa candidate himself.
There’s always a place in government for people like this.
@Cervantes: Sadly, I can.
This is some really low grade crapolla. It’s not as if Lindsay Graham is powerless to do something about Congress being a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings. If he really feels strongly about needing to stay in town and legislate more, perhaps he should say something about it on the Senate floor, maybe when his fucking majority leader makes a motion to recess.
@jl: Is not was. He’s a fucking flyboy.
Mike in NC
@Baud: I well remember how within a few hours of Obama’s first inauguration, right-wingers were discussing how the time had finally come for America to have a military coup. Wonder why that was?
I think somebody on the front page needs to do something with this image.
On that race to the bottom why do Cal Trans workers make more than the day laborers outside Home Depot?
The Gray Adder
We should be better liars. Enough of this unilateral disarmament.
Thanks for following up on this. It was such obvious BS–incompatible data sources graphed against each other for purposeful deceit.
Governor Christie is engaged in outright deception and bullshit.
Governor Christie is a Republican
Christie lies every time he opens his mouth. This is not a fact in dispute with anyone except the Fat Man and his enablers. I do hope we will soon see the last of this blowhard, and I get down on my knees every day to give thanks that I do not live in New Jersey. He’s a crook as well, and I look forward to him going to jail.