For years, New Jerseyans have pleaded with Trenton politicians to run the state like a business. And for years, governors have said, yes!, you're right, I will take a business-like approach. I will strive for efficiency, I will eliminate waste, etc. Yet no one has been able to actually deliver on this promise.
The problem, up to this point, is that government is not set up to be run like a business at all. Every business operates with the knowledge that they may go "out of business" at any time. They are constrained by this premise in everything they do - borrowing, investing, spending, expanding, and bargaining.
State government has always operated as if they can't go out of business, and everyone knows it - the special interests, the unions, and the politicians themselves. Promises made today can be figured out tomorrow. There's always tomorrow - no one is going anywhere.
Until now. Decades of taxing and spending and borrowing, combined with the current recession, may have actually, finally, brought politicians to the realization that New Jersey CAN go out of business.
The temptation is to say, so what? Better to go bankrupt, or get a federal bailout, than to upset the status quo.
With the 2012 budget, Governor Christie is leading with the opposite approach. We MUST upset the status quo, It is actually NOT better for New Jersey to bankrupt itself.