Wednesday, March 03, 2004


U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine seems excited to the point of irrational exuberance about a John Kerry presidency.

Bloomberg News is quoting Corzine -- a former bond trader and co-chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. -- as saying that Kerry “is going to put our fiscal house in order. I think that will underlie improvement in the investment climate for the long run that I think will create wealth, not unlike what we had seen in the growth in the 1990s.”

It seems like a bad way to stump for a favored candidate. The decade, it’s generally agreed, was full of poor business models hurting vulnerable people because investment firms lied to make money. It was a decade of vulgar excess that, long term, led to a damaging lack of confidence in our economy.

Not to slam Kerry or Corzine; it’s just not an image to throw about recklessly, and it seems the only reason Corzine did so was to counter the enormous amount of good will, and money, flowing between Wall Street and President Bush.

“The president, who has raised more than $130.8 million for this year’s campaign, has broad financial support from the financial sector. Among his corps of 350 elite six-figure fund-raisers, one of every five comes from the financial sector, including several top Wall Street executives,” The New York Times said on Jan. 9, quoting a Center for Public Integrity report:

Mr. Bush has championed several initiatives that were applauded by the financial community, including cuts in dividend and capital gains taxes.

One subject the study focused on was Mr. Bush’s interest in introducing private investment accounts into the Social Security system. Many financial companies support the idea because the boom in investment accounts from any such change “could generate untold billions of dollars in annual fees and commissions for Wall Street firms,” the study said.

Kerry may consider Wall Street a lost cause, but he and his supporters may need to engage the voters on the topic. Just not by waxing nostalgic on the 1990s, eh?

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