New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fears America may soon become a "paternalistic entitlement society" where people sit on the couch, waiting for their next government check.
Christie made the remarks Tuesday during a daylong conference on tax policy in New York. The event was hosted by former President George W. Bush and attended by sever prominent Republicans, including Henry Kissinger and some current GOP governors from around the nation.
Christie focused mostly on New Jersey budget issues during his 30-minute speech. But he also touched on national policy, saying this is the least optimistic period he's ever seen.
"It's because government's now telling (Americans) to stop dreaming, stop striving, we'll take care of you. We're turning into a paternalistic entitlement society," Christie said. "That will not just bankrupt us financially, it will bankrupt us morally.
"When the American people no longer believe that this is a place where only their willingness to work hard and to act with honor and integrity and ingenuity determines their success in life, then we'll have a bunch of people sitting on a couch waiting for their next government check," Christie said.
Democratic leaders in New Jersey criticized the remarks, saying Christie was catering to his conservative audience at the expense of working-class New Jerseyans.
"It's amazing that even as the governor is caught up in his frenzied efforts to curry favor with the far-right element in the Republican party ... he still finds time to express his resentment and anger towards regular working people," state Sen. Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, told The Star-Ledger of Newark.