No one's b.s. meter is working at 100% all of the time. Not even here in good ol' cynical New Jersey. We have smart people taken in by the grandparent scam, the IRS scam, not to mention crooked politicians and ponzi schemes. Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

Here are 10 times that came close to proving Lincoln wrong. 10 lies New Jerseyans bought hook, line, and sinker.


1) Tolls were only temporary

When they built our toll roads, the promise was the tolls were only temporary and when the original bonds were paid off the toll booths would come down. In fact shortly after the NJ Turnpike opened there was a brochure available to the public called Interesting Facts about the New Jersey Turnpike. It included the explanation that once the roads were paid for "the law provides that the Turnpike be turned over to the State for inclusion in the public highway system." Yeah, right.

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2) War of the Worlds broadcast

We all know the story. Orson Welles was so good at what he did on October 30, 1938 for The Mercury Theatre on the Air that all of New Jersey believed an alien invasion was really underway. Grover's Mill, an unincorporated village in West Windsor Township was the site of Martians landing on earth.

Hulton Archive, Getty

3) Jim McGreevey happily married

Jim McGreevey married Dina Matos in 2000. Two years later he would be elected our 52nd governor. Two years after that both his term as governor and his sham marriage ended when McGreevey admitted to the world he was "a gay American." The real scandal here should have been that he appointed his lover Golan Cipel as his homeland security advisor when he was completely unqualified. He was later threatened by Cipel with a sexual harassment lawsuit which led to the famous resignation and outing of Governor McGreevey.

Former Gov. Jim McGreevey (Michael Loccisano, Getty Images for HBO)

4) Abbott vs. Burke would mean better education

Property taxpayers statewide are familiar with the debacle of the Abbott districts. Poor school districts represented in a landmark case in 1985 that established extra state funding. It was supposed to improve everything and provide quality education for those students. More than 30 years and nearly $100 billion later and virtually nothing has changed. One of the most expensive New Jersey lies ever.

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5) Traffic circles were a great idea

At one point it seemed like there were as many traffic circles in the Garden State as there were diners. Now they've fallen in popularity. Engineers sold us this bill of goods as a way to keep traffic constantly flowing. It's been nothing but a headache. Remember when the Somerville Circle had so many accidents that they finally decided to 'improve' it with the overpass system? And do you remember how at first that actually meant an increase in accidents? If you're still clinging to the lie of traffic circles being a good idea, may I remind you of what was in the New Jersey driver's manual. The manual recommended that traffic in a circle yield based on "historically established traffic flow patterns" and that there were no set rules. Brilliant.


6) Casino gambling would save Atlantic City

Oh yeah, this one was a whopper alright. For awhile we all bought it. The casinos came in and so did the money and the tourism. Problem was it never improved the neighborhoods as was promised. Ten years, then fifteen years after the casinos arrived you stepped a block or two into the city away from glitzy lights and it was the same old decaying, crime ridden town. Now you have Icahn having shuttered the Taj Mahal, the Revel failure, and three other closed casinos not to mention the state takeover of Atlantic City.

Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. (Getty Images)

7) State jobs meant secure retirement

State workers once counted on their promised pensions and had little reason to doubt. Then governor after governor underfunded the pension system as it became more and more top heavy. Even as Christie has done a better job at making pension payments than most governors who've come before him, he has warned us all that this system cannot sustain itself. Unions don't want to hear it and state workers feel they've made enough concessions. Clearly the promise of a secure retirement for state workers is one of the grand lies many still believe.


8) Self-serve gas is bad

Self-serve gas was once so popular here that it led to pissed off competition going to the legislature for relief. Irving Reingold began offering cheaper gas if you were just willing to pump it yourself. Cars lined up for blocks at his 24 pump station on Route 17 in Hackensack. The other gasoline retailers first got violent. When that didn't scare Reingold away they lobbied lawmakers who passed the ban on self-serve gas in 1949. New Jersey slowly came to believe in this lie that self-serve gas would be the worst thing to ever happen to the state.

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9) Beach fees are necessary

People accepted long ago that beach fees are necessary to maintain nice beaches in New Jersey. Hawaii, Florida, and a lot of other coastal states manage to maintain beautiful beaches and don't charge a penny to use them. Interestingly enough, a lot of beach towns here in Jersey have taken money they've collected through beach fees and used them for general funds, something they're not legally allowed to do. Do we complain? Fuggetaboutit.

Asbury Park beach and boardwalk (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

10) The concept of Central Jersey

Come on people. Is there a Central Dakota? A Central Carolina? For years we got along just fine thinking of New Jersey as North and South. North had subs and sprinkles on ice cream and Yankees and Giants fans. South had hoagies and jimmies, Phillies and Eagles fans. At some point some existentialist nerd had to dream up the concept of there being a Central Jersey. Please. You can't even tell us where it begins and ends yet we all bought into it?


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