Across the land the cry is heard: “String up the bankers. Make ’em pay for America’s suffering.”
In other precincts, other villains are targeted: “The real crooks are in government. They’re to blame for the disaster.”
Humbly, I nominate a candidate to satisfy both appetites.
Let Jon Corzine pay the piper for all our sins.
Corzine is the perfect poster boy for what’s ailing America. He went from Wall Street to politics, then back to Wall Street, and left a trail of wreckage everywhere. Yet he keeps failing upward, raising at least $500,000 for President Obama this year amid talk he could be named Treasury secretary.
Now he is under investigation for bringing down MF Global, a broker-dealer firm whose bankruptcy is the largest in the financial industry since Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008. With the FBI on the case, he jumped ship Friday and lawyered up.
Corzine used his connections to get the low-watt company admitted to the exclusive club of “primary dealers” of government debt.
He quickly borrowed billions and ramped up risky trading in European government bonds, assuming he could make a killing when they are bailed out. He can tell it to the judge and shareholders.
Corzine first made a fortune as a Master of the Universe at Goldman Sachs before being pushed out in 1999. He took his gilt and, running as a liberal Democrat, bought himself a seat in the United States Senate from New Jersey. He quickly tired of Washington and bought the Jersey governor’s chair.
All told, he spent about $100 million of his own cash on the two races, but that was a pittance next to the billions of taxpayer dough he wasted.
He nearly drove the Garden State into bankruptcy before voters tossed him out after one miserable term.
Republican Chris Christie defeated him and is winning bipartisan support for cleaning up the Corzine mess. Now the courts and G-men will have to clean up the MF Global mess.
If he dodges prison, retirement would seem the smart bet for Corzine. And a welcome relief for America.
Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. To read more from Goodwin on other topics, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and protesters in Zuccotti Park, click here.