New Jersey Government Shutdown?

What is the best joke I saw today? It is the shutdown of the New Jersey government. I sent the Chinese version of the news to Wendy immediately I saw it and shared the news with my friends when we had hot spot at dinner. “How can this happen?” I asked.

I know it is not a joke for people in the U.S., especially in New Jersey. I mean no offense at all. It is just something I could never imagine to happen in China. This shows a very different function of the government, and the way the government is organized.

I don’t know too much about this event – why it happened? Why the governor has the right to shutdown the government? What does the State look like after the State government stops all major services? When it will be back? I have no idea about the answers. Anyone can help to explain? Let’s just take it as a case study.

No Street Light in Saratoga

My other favorite case study of how government works in U.S. is the city of Saratoga, CA, U.S.A.

When we stood at the top of the mountain in Cupertino (Thanks Carroll and her husband) at night and looked to the east, we saw the dark area in the bright landscape. It was Saratoga. They wanted to keep the semi-rural feeling and keep commerce out of the city, they don’t have street-light. That is the reason the area is dark, although it is one of the richest area in the valley.

Saratoga also has a zoning code comparable to that of Los Altos, which requires that houses must be spaced farther away from each other and that trees must be properly taken care of to preserve a semi-rural appearance. Saratoga emphasizes its semi-rural appearance by foregoing street lights and sidewalks on most residential streets. This, in addition to the excellent schools, causes Saratoga to have very high housing costs. (Source: Wikipedia)

This case is quite eye-opening for me.

Disclaimer: I don’t think it is right to make decisions about which form of government is just the good way or the bad way. The series of articles I write on “West Meets East” are to discover the difference and explorer the reasons behind it, so people understand each other.

35 thoughts on “New Jersey Government Shutdown?

  1. The funny part is that government shutdowns like this always involve “non-essential” workers. If the workers are not essential, why do they even have jobs? If you can shut down the government for a couple of days and nobody dies, maybe that means they were spending too much on government in the first place.

  2. IMHO, it’s the vivid reflection of captalism. No money, no business, even true for government. UN was almost closed down due to lack of money, and another sample is that congress has to lift the credit limit of US federal government so that the Administration can borrow more money to run the country. otherwise…

    don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing, and i believe every business should have a finite budget to run with ( and as a side note, i think everything is a business :-))

  3. True, running government is like running a business, and more complicated things and aspects to worry about. NJ will be fine…

  4. Jian Shuo

    what are you talking about anyway? just a couple of weeks or so ago you had most of Shanghai completely shutdown for a big ‘pow wow’. Shanghai was on lockdown.

  5. This happens all the time. Remember when the federal government shut down in 1996, when Bill Clinton and the Republican controlled congress could not agree on a budget?

    My state (Virginia) almost had a government closure. The law makers barely avoided that by passing a budget on June 30.

    This reflects the fundamental way the government was set up. The Constitution requires a separation of power between different branches of the government so that no one branch is too powerful.

    The executive branch (President/Governor) proposes a budget. The legislative branch changes the budget, votes on the budget, and sends it to the exective branch. The exective can either sign that into law, or veto that budget and send it back to the legislature. The legislature can over-ride the veto with a 67% vote.

    Or in NJ’s case, they can’t get 67% of the votes, and the budget is stuck. The people (voters) of NJ will not like this situation. They will pressure the politicians to make a compromise.

  6. Joshua Allen:

    Essential employees include state police, prison guards, child welfare workers, etc. All other state employees are considered non-essential. Can you imagine a state without highway engineers, tax collectors, maintenance workers, safety inspectors, city planners, etc?

    In this case, Governor Jon S. Corzine proposed increasing the state sales tax from 6% percent to 7%. The State Assembly and the Senate oppose the sales tax increase, and preferring to increase property taxes instead.

  7. Government shut down? sounds worst then it is. People still are able to go and do their daily routines. Life will go on! Its just example of Democracy at work! In this case it is called “separation of powers”. This separation of powers is derived from the Constitution of United States. I think in Chinese is called “Tian Fa”, not only applies to federal government but also applies to State and City level government as well. In this case, Governor and Legislative branch of government showing their strong disagreement. Both Sides temporarily comes to an impass. But like many of your visitors of your blog commented., that.. this can’t last forever, eventually there will be a compromised reached. Don’t forget, that this headlines like government shutdown will bring regular peoples attention to the situation, and there will be more debate and talk on the subject. Which is a good thing by the way.

    JS. can you tell me an example in China federal or state level where Executive branch and Legislative branch both disagreed? and they both wanted to “Flex their muscles” or exercise their powers like the government in NJ did? Since your Blog is about exchange of East and West? I don’t want to sound biased., but I don’t think The peoples’s congress or other legislative branches in chinese government can Publicly disagree or criticize with President Hu Jintao?

    At least not to this level of disagreement anywayz, Stand in front of CCTV and publicly say it on TV? All I see on CCTV is People clapping after each pause in his speech?

    Last point i want to make is, That if you don’t have disagreement? Someone to Challenge the Correctness of the policies., How to you

    know it is the correct one?

  8. Maybe it would be easier to understand how local goverment works in the U.S. if you think of it as the 物业公司 of your 小区, and the Congress as the 物业委员会 of your 小区.

    then what happened to New Jersey and Saratoga may not be that difficult to understand at all.

  9. “Disclaimer: I don’t think it is right to make decisions about which form of government is just the good way or the bad way. ”

    It’s a shame for a staunch commie such as wangjiaoshuo to resort to moral ambivalence like this to justify Beijing butcher’s hold on power. For wangjianshuo, there is no censorship in China (What a crap), and the Shanghai government corrupt to death is as good as Stockholm city hall.

  10. bellevue,

    don’t spit your fire at sth you only knew partly or only from your perspective, background etc. it’s meaningless to comment on sth where the writer wants to be objective while you are being so subjective.

  11. Very funny it is. Carrol and his husband. I am just wondering why HIS. :))

  12. Bellevue: I don’t think Wangjiaoshuo is a commie. China is communist in name only. The problem with China is one party rule. There is competition, disagreements and compromises between parties (or parts of the government) in a Democracy. That does not really exist in China.

  13. China is communist for goodness sake. There is no argument towards this. However, tings are starting to change. Only starting….

  14. Dave: Correction: Wangjiaoshuo WAS a card-bearing communist, and is a staunch supporter of Chinese Communist Party (He has been a Communist Youth member since his high school years). So far no evidence about his current party affiliation. Yet his blog usually echoes Xinhua News Agency, which is CCP’s mouthpiece.

  15. All I know is that in China you’d all be getting flogged, arrested or killed for criticizing the government at all.

    When your government evolves to that level, then we’ll have something to discuss.

  16. what kind of government would support, aid and back regimes such as the ones in North Korea and Iran? answer: only a lousy one. Shrek7

  17. Jian Shuo mimics the controlled news media over there. That’s his job as a controlled and monitored puppet.


  18. Government shutdown is common in the US. The shutdown is not complete shutdown. They only shut down the non-essential functions.

  19. Bellevue:you siad “He has been a Communist Youth member since his high school years”.

    I’m afraid that you don’t know how Communist Youth League really runs. In China here, most of students in high school are members of CYL, and we don’t treat it as political stuff. To be a member of CYL is like to watch the funeral of Deng Xiaoping, they are both requirement from the school authority.

    Maybe this is convincing: As a member of CYL for more than 10 years, I never know any leader of CYL

    Hope it helps.

  20. Shrek7:

    What kind of government would support, aid and back regimes such as Saddam Hussein’s government? answer: The United States.

    How about America’s war in Iraq? More news are coming out all the time: the US Army murders innocent Iraqi civilians!


    “Hello_World” makes a good point, been a member of CYL is almost a requirement for going to school.

    I was a member of CYL for years when I grew up in Shanghai. I know I am not a commie.

    – David

    US Customs and Border Protection

    Department of Homeland Security

  21. hello_world & Dave: I can confirm that US immigration people actually share your point of view. For exemple, one of my college classmates informed the naturalization service that she was a CYL member, and later on INS people interviewed her and assured her that her membership would not get in the way of becoming citizen. Isn’t America an incredibly generous nation?

    I guess no one has a problem with the US generosity, which is in the nation’s chemical makeup, but I wish those new immigrants be more forwardcoming like my former classmate did. Many of them fail to disclose their affiliation to communist organization. We are now in post-911 era and shouldn’t we be more careful?

    Didn’t those Chinese immigrants once vow to “fight for Communist cause all my life” (为共产主义事业奋斗终身)? Didn’t you, Dave? Doesn’t that ask for a complete destruction of the United States of America? Now Dave, you either committed a purjury to your Chinese Communist comrades, or lied to US federal agency. Maybe you did both.

  22. Perjury? If that’s called a perjury then I guess GW Bush should be jailed by now … preferrably in Gitmo. He said Iraq had WMD ….. so he invaded Iraq….. How many innocent people have been killed / raped because of that? and where the f are the WMDs?

  23. bellevue: I have no reason to lie to anyone. DHS does not care about what you did before the age of consent. They don’t care that you were a “communist” when you were 12. For my security clearance, they did a background investigation for up to a 10 year history.

  24. Dave G.: Thanks for pointing out a big loophole of homeland security, which should be closed up. BTW, the youngest age admittable to CYL is 14.

  25. Dave G.: Thanks for pointing out a big loophole of homeland security, which should be closed up. BTW, the youngest age admittable to CYL is 14.

    —it sounds that you are the one who are in charge of the homeland security policy. but baby, I just think you are a Chinese who never put his feet in USA.

  26. Government shutdown in the United states it’s a common one. The governor has the right to shutdown the government, please don’t compare with china.



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  27. its obviously right. its not new in US. its meaningless to comment..



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