Friday, October 8, 2010

New Jersey's Blockhead

Becky and Charlie are ten year old twins.  They sometimes play well together, but there’s also an element of sibling rivalry.  Both enjoy playing with wooden blocks, and (pardon the stereotyping, but I’m using it to make my point) Becky likes pink blocks while Charlie likes blue ones.  Their family is about to go on a long vacation, and the twins and their parents are scurrying to pack the minivan in order to get on the road.

Becky is busy helping Dad prepare lunches, and Mom calls out to Charlie for assistance.  “The minivan is getting full”, she said, “but here’s a box to take for you to fill with blocks for you and your sister.”  Charlie takes the box up to the bedroom and realizes that not all the blocks will fit in the box – so he has to choose which ones to take.   He knows he likes the blue ones while Becky plays with the pink ones.  What does he do?

If he’s a spoiled selfish kid, and doesn’t care about his sister, he will fill the box with blue blocks which would give him lots to play with on vacation.  Maybe he’d throw in a couple of pink blocks to placate his sister and his parents.  He’s looking forward to being able to brag to his friends how he got all the blue blocks he wanted.  A more mature ten year old would realize that by sacrificing half of his blue blocks, and filling the box half blue/half pink, both he and his sister would have enough to play with, even though neither gets as many blocks as they would like.

Now fast forward, and suppose Charlie is Chris Christie.  Clearly, he would fill the box with blue blocks – things that promote his own political self-agenda, curry favor with his cronies and millionaires, and say to hell with his sister and brother citizens of New Jersey.

When there are choices to be made with limited resources, no doubt tough decisions need to be made, and sacrifices need to be shared.  A mature ten year old would realize this.  A self-centered, bratty ten year old would not.  Balancing budgets is more complex than apportioning blue and pink blocks, but the general approach is similar.  I wish our governor would recognize that fact, and not act like a bratty ten year old.

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