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Corzine 'Not Going to Say Never' to Treasury Position

     Who’s going to be the leader of the financial world in the role of Treasury Secretary under President Obama? It may be Democratic New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, who has pushed for an additional economic stimulus package to the tune of $300 billion to support infrastructure projects.

 

     CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla asked Corzine outright on “Squawk Box” if he would accept a job in the Obama administration as Treasury Secretary. “If it’s offered, governor, will you say no?” Quintanilla asked.

 

     “You know, I’m not going to say never to anything,” Corzine said Nov. 5. “The reality is there are a lot of good people.”

 

     “Squawk Box” co-host Joe Kernan encouraged Corzine to consider accepting the job if offered, even as the former U.S. senator expressed his contentment as governor. “You could save the world” as Treasury Secretary, Kernan said.

 

     Corzine, who used to run Goldman Sachs, did talk about the economy and specifically spoke to the new jobs numbers that will be coming out Nov. 7.

 

     “I think the loss of confidence that’s broadly occurred that’s built on reality – of declining home values, the loss of jobs, the lost value in 401ks which are now 201ks – I think is very dangerous on the job front and that tends to be reinforcing,” said Corzine.

 

     Corzine focused on problems a Treasury Secretary might address.

 

     “We’re going to have to restructure what we’re doing in the housing market. We’ve got to get into the housing market. We’ve talked about this around here. I don’t think you can do it at no loss for the financial institutions. But somehow or another in both the mortgage and in the physical housing market we’ve got to do something real,” Corzine said.

 

     Corzine also pushed for an “influx of or an inflow of resources into an infrastructure program across the country.”

     The governor testified before Congress Oct. 29 saying that a $300 billion economic stimulus package was needed to put people back to work.

     "We need federal help to get through these tough times so that New Jersey and other states don't take actions that offset any stimulus you all provide, or that we further compound shrinking demand for our flailing economy," Corzine said, according to Reuters.

 

     So, how would federal money put people back to work? Insfrastucture programs funded by taxpayers.

 

     "The nation's construction industry is on its back, our infrastructure is deteriorating, and in too many cases, compromised," Corzine said in a statement Oct. 29. "Let's put people to work, build roads, bridges, tunnels, schools, wastewater treatment systems."

 

     “The governor has long, deep ties to Obama after having been an early advocate for the president-elect's upstart campaign for U.S. Senate in 2004. Though Corzine backed Obama's opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the Democratic primaries, the governor quickly moved to renew his relationship with Obama after the president-elect had secured his party's nomination,” The [New Jersey] Star-Ledger reported Nov. 5.

 

     Corzine has been criticized for his economic policies in New Jersey. In “New Jersey’s Tax Hikes: Sowing Disaster in the Garden State,” Sam Batkins, a policy analyst and deputy press secretary for the National Taxpayers Union, argued in 2006 that Corzine’s tax increases would only prove to hurt New Jersey.

 

     “Corzine’s budget is merely the culmination of what has been a dreary history for New Jersey taxpayers. Over the last several years they have endured a plague of tax and fee increases to drive record spending growth,” Batkins wrote in National Review Online June 20, 2006.