While appearing for Jon Corzine, President Obama actually said last night that “New Jersey now has a governor who’s bucking that trend, who’s refusing to go along with business as usual.”
It’s strange to attack “business as usual” in a sales pitch to reelect the incumbent, but I suppose what he said is accurate, in that the deterioration of quality of life in New Jersey over the past four years goes well beyond any normal development in state politics.
Foreclosure rates in northern New Jersey are doubling from last year. The FBI is literally arresting corrupt politicians by the busload. For the last four years, the state has been ranked among the highest in the nation for number of residents moving elsewhere. At one point, 49 percent of residents said they would rather live somewhere else.
In 2000, when he was running in a Senate primary against Jim Florio, Corzine attacked his opponent (who had been governor from 1990 to 1994) for a record of failure in dealing with unemployment, the uninsured, and auto-insurance rates. Today New Jersey’s unemployment rate is the highest in 33 years. It was 7.7 percent in October of the year that voters ejected Florio from the governor’s mansion.
New Jerseyans lacking health insurance? Under Florio, it was an estimated 800,000 uninsured in a population of 7,880,508, about 10.1 percent. Under Corzine, it is estimated at 1.4 million out of 8,682,661, about 16.1 percent.
Auto insurance rates “out of control”? The state has the third-highest insurance rates in the country, with eight insurers proposing additional rate hikes this year, some more than 15 percent.
I grew up in New Jersey. Business as usual in the late 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s was that it was a nice place to live. Jon Corzine wasn’t alone in ending that, but he’s had a big hand in it.