The Corner

Regardless of New Jersey’s Budget Insolvency, Politicians Can’t Oppose Teachers’ Unions

New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney has declared that he will not run for governor of the state, leaving the 2017 Democratic primary as practically a coronation of Phil Murphy. A major reason why Sweeney is withdrawing so soon is that he put budget solvency over the demands of New Jersey’s teachers’ union.

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is the most powerful influence on elections in the state, and Sweeney drew their ire when he blocked the senate from voting on a constitutional amendment that would protect government workers’ pensions. The state’s wide-ranging budgetary problems put it last in long-term solvency, and in August Sweeney specifically said that until an impasse about transportation funding is resolved, “we can’t in good conscience put a constitutional guaranteed pension payment on the ballot.”

As a result, the measure will not be on the ballot this November. This small victory for fiscal responsibility has naturally led to vicious attacks on Sweeney.

The NJEA showed it was willing to play hardball. When Sweeney stopped the amendment from being put to a vote, the union threatened to withhold all funding from Democratic candidates over his actions, which he called “extortion.” Naturally, Murphy, who was competing with Sweeney to earn the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, fully supports the amendment, received the endorsement of the NJEA, and is positioned to easily win the governorship next year.

When the teachers’ union is the largest contributor of political money in your state, you acquiesce to their demands or get burned.

Most Popular

Education

On College Campuses, Where Are the Adults?

Last week, political scientist and author Charles Murray spoke at a dinner in Manhattan about the death, as he calledit, of the American Dream. The “Disinvitation Dinner,” is given annually by Lauren Noble’s William F. Buckley Jr. Program to honor a speaker who has been kicked off a college campus for ... Read More
Sports

Hurray for the NBA

Last month, just before the Final Four, I did a Q&A on college basketball with our Theodore Kupfer. Teddy K. is back, by popular demand, joined by two other experts: Vivek Dave, an old friend of mine from Michigan, who has long lived in Chicago, and David French, National Review’s Kentucky Kid, now ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More
U.S.

Joy Reid Denies Writing Homophobic Blog Posts

MSNBC personality Joy Reid's former blog, The Reid Report, published a series of anti-gay posts, which she claims were added to the site after it was shut down, by a hacker intent on destroying her reputation and nascent cable-news career. Reid, who discontinued the blog roughly a decade ago, apologized in ... Read More
World

On Trade, No One Is Waiting for Washington

President Donald Trump’s flips and flops on trade are now as ubiquitous as his 5:00 a.m. tweets. Many predicted that trade-expansion efforts would come to a standstill and world commerce would suffer amidst all the uncertainty. Instead, the precise opposite has happened. In the last few months, it’s become ... Read More