Chris Christie

Chris Christie's Family Pulls in $700,000 a Year, But Isn't "Wealthy"


Over at The Daily Beast, Olivia Nuzzi catches up with regular-guy Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), who is running for the GOP presidential nomination and whose sense of reality is cloudier than the water at good ol' Ideal Beach in the summer of '13.

"I don't consider myself a wealthy man," Chris Christie said Friday in New Hampshire. That would be the same Chris Christie who, according to his tax returns, made $698,838 in 2013 – $160,054 of which he earned as Governor of New Jersey, and $475,854 of which came from his wife, Mary Pat Christie, who works at a New York investment bank.

Well, sure, cough, cough, New Jersey is an expensive place to live, with one of the very highest combined state and local tax burdens in the country, a terrible business environment, insanely high property values, and all that. And if feeling "wealthy" is all about relative status, then Christie, who has flown in the personal jets of friends and kings (literally), may be feeling sads that when he takes helicopters to check out his son's high school baseball games, he doesn't own the aircraft (worse, he eventually even has to pay for part of the ride).

But compared to the average jamuck in Jersey—and everyone else on the planet—he's doing pretty damn well:

Christie's income is nearly ten times New Jersey's median, which in 2013 was $71,692; and well over $539,000, the amount necessary to qualify as one of the top 1% of earners there.

Buh, buh, buh… Nuzzi transcribes Christie's own explanation:

"Listen, wealth is defined in a whole bunch of different ways, and in the end, Mary Pat and I have worked really hard, we've done well over the course of our lives – um, but, you know, we have four children to raise and a lot of things to do, so, no, I don't, I don't consider myself and I don't think most people think of me that way."

Read the whole thing here.

Hmm, he could really benefit from the non-phased-out, non-paid-for superfantastic expanded child tax credit in the Rubio-Lee tax plan!

Last year, I predicted that Christie won't play well outside the borders of New Jersey (the greatest state in the Union) for all sorts of reasons. First and foremost among them: The very personal attributes necessary for success in the Garden State, especially the irradiated political clam bed that is Trenton politics, will make it hard for him to figuratively cross the Delaware.

As Tony Soprano (played so memorably by the late Jersey native James Gandolfini), could tell you, the same forces that spur ambition and success also carry within them their own demise. It quickly becomes difficult to know when serious lines are being crossed or the wrong messages are being sent to the people around you.

Going on about how you're not "wealthy" despite a $700,000 annual household income is definitely one of those latter moments. This doesn't rise to the level of French aristocrats playing at being peasants before the Revolution, but it certainly is annoying and shows not just a tin ear but a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of what most Americans take home, how hard they work (or think they work) and how they struggle to cover their month. Christie and other "wealthy" pols should never apologize for their money. But they also shouldn't goof around with idiotic definitions of rich either.

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  1. I wonder how much the fat bastard spends on food a week.

    1. He has no idea.

    2. Well, that depends on if you count the domestic help or not.

  2. A bridge too far?

    1. “Hey, fatty! I’ve got a movie for ya: A FRIDGE Too Far!”

  3. Damn 1 percenter. Not like poor Hillary. She was dead broke.

  4. Yo, fuck Chris Christie.

    1. Ewww. no.

  5. Chris Christie is the progressive media’s idea of what a Republican should be.

    1. You first.

  6. A wealthy person is always someone who has more than you.

    Though technically “high income” and “wealthy” are not one for one interchangable concepts.

    1. Yes. But for Christie, I’m sure he qualifies under both defintions.

  7. A wealthy person is always someone who has more than you.

    Though technically “high income” and “wealthy” are not one for one interchangable concepts.

    1. “Though technically “high income” and “wealthy” are not one for one interchangable concepts.”

      True. So long as he pisses it all away, you could stay ‘not-wealthy’ on a $700K income. Politicos would be prime candidates to do so, given the way they handle my money.

    2. Sure, they could be living paycheck-to-paycheck. But still, there’s a lot more slack when you have that type of cash flow, and you can always cut back without feeling it, unlike, say, a family of four with a 35K income and some debt.

      1. Problem is cashflow and income are not guaranteed

      2. I do not disagree, just a little annoyed at the conflation between income and wealth when Gillespie and the headline writer should know better.

      3. You’re wealthy if you can maintain your lifestyle without depending on your paycheck. If you depend on your paycheck to maintain your lifestyle, you’re still part of the middle class.

    3. At $700k/year, he has about $350k after taxes. Even if he manages to save half of that, it would still take him probably two decades to save enough money to be considered “wealthy”. And most likely, they haven’t been making that kind of income for two decades.

      Unless he has a lot of money stashed away, $700k/year (plus a few million in retirement savings and home equity) makes you upper middle class.

  8. Chris Christie will never be president.

    1. I’m counting on this being the case

      1. So much this.

      2. It’s just not worth seriously considering, I don’t think. He has zero chance.

    2. Though he’ll do his best to hand the office to Clinton.

    3. Unlikely, but possible if he gets the veep slot on the ticket and something bad happens.

      1. That seems pretty unlikely too. The only reason to do that would be to get votes and I don’t see NJ voting for a republican in the general election in any case.

    4. He still might run as a democrat when Hillary flames out.

    5. True. Besides his irritating personality, he’s fat and ugly. And you can’t achieve the Presidency in the modern TV-driven age of media image and mass appeal when you look like he does. Yes, once upon a time, Taft was elected but nobody ever really saw him.

  9. Fuck him – but he is right in this case. And I bet his wife has the enjoyment of paying NYC and NY state income tax too.

  10. “insanely high property values,” Nick? Are you saying that the market is “insane”? Sorry, dude, markets are rational. They’re places where buyers and sellers come together and make mutually advantageous agreements, which are called “contracts”. If they weren’t beneficial to both parties, they wouldn’t exist. Property values are higher in New Jersey than in, say, Mississippi, because a lot of people want to live there. They’re a reflection, really, of a sort of spontaneous order that emerges out of itself. Just like New Jersey.

    1. Alan Vanneman|4.20.15 @ 10:18AM|#
      “”insanely high property values,” Nick? Are you saying that the market is “insane”? Sorry, dude, markets are rational.”

      Yes, and they can yield ‘insanely high’ prices if they are distorted enough by gov’t interference.
      Or were just here to show off your pedantry?

      1. That’s all he is ever here for.

        1. Maybe we could get Vanneman and Hihn into a conversation. Peak Derp beckons!

    2. The property values are market driven – the property taxes are insane. I’m in a middle class neighbor hood and pay $1K a month in property taxes – and still pay to send my kids to better private High Schools because the public one sucks.

      1. Property values are also distorted by government policies which affect interest rates, among other things.

        1. You can add zoning regulations, construction regulations, height and density regulations, open-space regulations, ‘community involvement’, etc. Come check out RE costs in San Francisco, for example.

          1. Only someone as disingenuous as Vanneman would think the housing market is what libertarians would think of as a free market.

    3. Property values are higher in New Jersey than in, say, Mississippi, because a lot of people want to live there.


      *draws deep breath*


      Ohhhhh, you slay me.

      1. Yeah, I think Vanneman may have an inaccurate estimate of how many people want to live in New Fucking Jersey.

        It’s especially laughable given that New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the country so it’s ludicrous to argue the cost of property is entirely driven by the market when a good portion is driven by government taxation.

        1. NJ does have a lot of people that “want” to live there, especially in the 1/4 that should be part of NYC because it’s so (relatively) inexpensive. Those places that are fairly close to the city and have good schools cost a ton to buy into, and anything that hits the market sells within weeks (trust me on this, I just went through it).

          it’s ludicrous to argue the cost of property is entirely driven by the market when a good portion is driven by government taxation.

          You’re thinking of cost of living. The cost of the property is high before taxation is factored in; the high tax rates exacerbate the issue.

          The high taxes actually depress housing values. The same house on the same lot on the SI side of the Outerbridge used to be about 60% more expensive than one in Woodbridge or Edison, mostly due to taxes.

  11. “Last year, I predicted that Christie won’t play well outside the borders of New Jersey”

    Nick, you’re going to have a hard time finding anyone to take the other side there.

    1. Hey, we elect smug assholes all the time here in NY. That’s “outside the borders of New Jersey”, isn’t it?!

      1. Yeah, and now that you mention it, CA is certainly “outside the borders of New Jersey”.

    2. I’ll take the other side of it.
      I have family in NJ and they all hate the fat bastard.

  12. Yeah,he’s just a regular Joe. How would you afford your orphans on such a pittance?

  13. Nothing says libertarian moment like harping on inequality and demanding means tested welfare, two hallmarks of Nick’s fiscal ‘conservatism.’ Even worse is making me defend Christie.

    1. “Even worse is making me defend Christie.”
      I don’t know why you’d have to do that in this case; Nick’s just pointing out his hypocrisy.

      1. Nick’s hypocrisy? That was my point. Yes, I know what you meant. Christie is certainly a hypocrite but not this time. Nick is keeping his prog credentials polished, tho.

    2. Nick isn’t criticizing Christie for being wealthy, he’s criticizing him for false populism based on the lie that he isn’t rich.

      In fact, here’s the last two sentences:

      “Christie and other “wealthy” pols should never apologize for their money. But they also shouldn’t goof around with idiotic definitions of rich either.”

      Gee – saying Christie shouldn’t apologize for his wealth kind of makes it seem like Nick is saying the exact opposite of what you’re claiming he’s saying.

      1. Please. Nick spends the entire piece playing the populism card and one off-handed acknowledgement that somone is alliwed to make as much as they can makes up for it? Yeah, no.

        1. How on Earth is saying Christie should stop lying about not being wealthy ‘playing the populism card?’

  14. Hey, Nick, the word is JAMOOK.

  15. He’s also paying for a household employee according to his tax return. Poor guy.

    1. I’ve got a great tv show idea: Christie gets into a car accident, and the man who hits him is sentenced to be Christie’s butler, as he has no insurance.

  16. Technically Nick you are falling to the same moronic trap that most liberals do conflating income with wealth.

    Wealth is an accumulation of assets, income is your current cash flow

    Christie and his wife probably ARE rich but income does not equal wealth and I can easily see how a family in New Jersey with $700k in household income could only afford to live a relatively normal lifestyle that while a little nicer. Nicer home in a nicer neighborhood, nicer car, little bit better vacation, etc. but nothing that would in principal be beyond the grasp of someone earning just double the median..

    Of course none of that would likely apply to Christie because it would primarily be small business owners who would be in that situation and Christie by virtue of his position can do things even fairly wealthy New Jersians can do.

  17. It is possible to have a large income and not be wealthy if you blow all your money on stupid stuff. I’d bet he is what I would call at least somewhat wealthy, though. Certainly very comfortable.

    1. I believe there is a term for this phenomenon.

      via urban dictionary

      1. Now I know that you’re the reason for the trolls.

        1. probably I never said I didn’t deserve the trolls.

          1. i meant more or less the collective commentariat.

            1. I know.

              What you provided a link to is troll-summoning material. And quite racist as well.

  18. A wealthy man would make $700,000 a year in investment income, not from salaries. Why? Because your investments, unlike your employers, pay automatically, they don’t require you to meet arbitrary performance standards, and they can’t fire you.

  19. Various estimates (google it) places Chris Christie personal assets at $5 million. Bitchtits is wealthy.

  20. But hes not, you know, Kardashian- Wealthy, and as an average american who pulls in my average american middle middle class salary, I completly get it.
    As a Coloradoan, I also dig his super uptight stance on marijuana, and i approve of his plans to shut this shit down, because we dont really need the school money, and the 12,000 folks Cannabis employs in this state would be better off jobless than sucking on the teat of a person who is wishing to purchase an agricultural commodity with thier hard earned money!

  21. Who gives a shit? I’m glad he makes all that money. Good for him and his family. Does it matter whether he considers himself a wealthy man or not? No, it doesn’t. He’s expressing his state of mind. Would you prefer he shout “I’m rich, bitch!” He isn’t claiming he’s “dead broke” like that other lying politician. And just because you or your wife had a couple of nice years, income-wise, doesn’t make you the Monopoly Man. It can be gone before you know it.

    1. The point is he’s a dishonest hack who has no real conviction to letting other people make money honestly. Of course, it’s New Jersey, so it’s hardly all his fault, but he’s just another slimy populist with empty rhetoric.

  22. What an odious cunt. His wife is probably a nice enough person, although her judgement is suspect.

  23. When you factor in non-cash compensation (is Christie paying rent to live in the governor’s mansion? I doubt it) where does he fall in economic ranking terms? What would you or I have to pay Blackwater for the level of security services enjoyed by the governor of a state like New Jersey?

    He may not “feel” wealthy. Most insane people don’t feel crazy, either.

    1. Most insane people don’t feel crazy, either.

      There is a very good example of this in this thread. (besides me)

      (laughing hysterically)

  24. *throws flag*
    “Fifteen yards for BULLYING!”

    1. Your comments trigger me, P Brooks, get yourself to the nearest re-education center post haste.

  25. Half million at an investment bank? What does she do? Make the coffee? Seriously, an investment banker not making 5 million dollars is a failure. Anyway, half the guidos in Jersey with their own cash businesses easily make 700k/yr.

  26. Half million at an investment bank? What does she do? Make the coffee? Seriously, an investment banker not making 5 million dollars is a failure. Anyway, half the guidos in Jersey with their own cash businesses easily make 700k/yr.

  27. Whether you’re “wealthy” depends on your net worth, not your income. Generally, you start being considered wealthy at around $10 million.

    This confusion between income and net worth is the same b.s. we get fed by progressives about “the 1%”. Making $700k for a few years doesn’t make you wealthy, and most people who make that kind of money only make it for a few years. Even making $700k/year for 20 years wouldn’t let you save enough money to have a $10 million net worth.

  28. The NY Times recently ran a story which contained the remarkable statistic than almost 9 out of 10 Americans consider themselves to be middle-class. If middle class status comes from knowing someone with more money than you and not having so much or so little money that you can avoid calling yourself rich or poor yourself, that result isn’t surprising. Still, it makes “middle class” rather a useless sort of a term.

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