To the Editor:

Gov. Phil Murphy is at it again with a second ad from "New Direction New Jersey" where he repeatedly claims that his administration has made New Jersey "fairer."  Every time Gov. Murphy makes that claim I think of the 1987 movie "The Princess Bride." Specifically, the scene when Vizzini (played by actor Wallace Shawn), is in shock that Westley (played by Cary Elwes), hasn't been killed despite Vizzini's best efforts and Vizzini keeps uttering the word "inconceivable" to describe his shock; to which Inigo Montoya (played by Mandy Patinkin) responds with the now-famous line: "I do not think that word means what you think it means."

My fellow New Jerseyans, every time I hear Gov. Murphy utter the word "fairness" in relationship to his administration's handling of the New Jersey economy, I want to tell Gov. Murphy that I don't think the word "fairness" means what he thinks it means.

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New Jersey continues to have the largest wealth gap in the nation and it disproportionately is concentrated in minority communities. For example, less than 5 percent of children in communities like Millburn, Haddonfield and Chesterfield live in poverty. Meanwhile, over 25 percent of children in communities like Atlantic City, Newark, and Trenton live in poverty. In fact, the child poverty rate is above 35% in Trenton and above 50% in Atlantic city and Gov Murphy has failed to ameliorate the crushing levels of poverty these mostly minority children suffer through on a daily basis. This staggering difference in the child poverty rate is on top of the staggering racial gap in the median net worth of New Jersey families. Recent analyses show that white families in New Jersey have a median net worth of $309,000 while African-American families in New Jersey have a median net worth of $5,900 and Hispanic families in New Jersey have a median net worth of about $7,000. Gov. Murphy's regressive tax increases and support for legalizing and expanding the marijuana industry will do nothing to alleviate the child poverty rate in urban communities, nor will his plans close the enormous gap in the average net worth that exists between white and minority New Jerseyans. 

Finally, Gov. Murphy touts his handling of the Covid-19 tragedy as an example of how "public health creates economic health" but he failed to mention how his plans devasted our seniors and small businesses. Gov. Murphy specifically barred long-term care facilities from refusing patients with Covid-19. That led to an unnecessary burden on our long-term care facilities and an unnecessary loss of life among our senior community. Then he selectively and illogically closed small businesses which devasted some of New Jersey's strongest industries (ex: tourism and hospitality) and devastated the economic engines that many of our communities rely upon. Those decisions weren't "fair", they were unconscionable.  

Gov. Murphy will continue to describe New Jersey as being "fair" under his failed stewardship, and he will continue to try to con the people of New Jersey despite what the statistics clearly show regarding his poor tenure. But the voters of New Jersey will soon force Gov. Murphy to understand a new word, and that word is "liberty." Because as Margaret Thatcher said: "There can be no liberty without economic liberty."  And in 2021, the voters of New Jersey are going to regain their economic liberty when they vote Gov. Murphy out of office.

Sincerely,

John Giotis

Raritan Township