Jon Corzine
Governor (D-New Jersey)

Jon Corzine’s Grassroots Solution to the Economic Crisis

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Gov. Jon Corzine explains that individual economic actors, above industries, are the engines of growth.

Jon Corzine

Governor Corzine began his career on Wall Street in 1975 when he was recruited by the New York investment firm Goldman Sachs. After taking a job with the firm as a bond trader, he and his family settled in New Jersey. Corzine was named a partner in 1980, became a key player in crucial strategic decisions, and was eventually named chairman and chief executive officer in 1994. Three years later, Corzine was named as chairman of a presidential commission to study capital budgeting as a means of increasing federal investment in schools, technology, and infrastructure. During Corzine's tenure at Goldman Sachs, Fortune magazine named the firm one of the 10 best companies to work for in the United States, and Corzine was named by Time magazine as one of the top 50 technology executives in the country in 1997. He left Goldman Sachs in May 1999 after converting the investment firm from a private partnership to a public company – a bold move that yielded handsome profits both for stockholders and Goldman employees. Shortly after his departure from Goldman Sachs, Corzine entered public services upon election to the United States Senate in November 2000. While serving in the nation’s capitol, Corzine was the driving force behind a forward-looking, progressive agenda. As senator, Corzine served as a member of the Committees on Banking, Intelligence, the Budget, and Energy and Natural Resources, and parlayed his position in leadership to advance numerous initiatives beneficial both to New Jersey and the nation as a whole. As a member of the United States Senate, Corzine co-authored the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a piece of legislation designed to crack down on corporate malfeasance crafted in the wake of accounting scandals surrounding Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, and other major corporations. Corzine was also a sponsor of the Start Healthy, Stay Healthy Act, which expands children’s health care and expands coverage for pregnant women. He supported legislation outlawing the practice of racial profiling and, with Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, was chief sponsor of the Darfur Accountability Act to address genocide in the Sudan. Corzine was also only one of 23 members of the Senate to vote against the Iraq War Resolution. Corzine entered the New Jersey governor’s race in 2005, and shortly after his Election Day victory, resigned from the U.S. Senate to take the oath of office as New Jersey governor on Jan. 17, 2006. As governor, he has continued to build on his reputation as a progressive, yet fiscally-responsible public servant. Corzine is a 1969 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves until 1975. He received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.

Corzine: Our economy is really nothing more than the aggregation of the decisions of every human being that’s a part of the country. So if you’re not actually impacting the lives of the people that are making that economy run, then you’re not really addressing the problems. That’s what has, in my view, been the problem with most of the so-called bailout efforts that we’ve had so far. It had been more of a trickle down approach going up to the outcomes. The lending practices of the banks and their accumulation of debt in packages was a reflection of something that happened in the base level economy, at the roots of the economy. And we attacked the upper level problem, hoping it was going to trickle down to the real economy when, in fact, I think you needed to work with those individual units. And the same thing goes with regard to mortgages or college loans or small business. We need to give those individual business units, economic units, human beings the ability to operate in the economy. If we don’t do that, then, I think, we’ll never fix what is happening in the financial wholesale marketplace.