K.L. South writes in the famed Furthermore Blog that the issue with Mitt Romney’s behavior at Bain is a question of character, not capitalism:
There is a huge difference between capitalism and ‘predatory capitalism’ or ‘corporate raiding’. The latter is more of a chop-shop mentality of ‘creative destruction.’ It is still a form of capitalism, sure, even if not held in high regard. That is not the issue. And, I agree most capitalism is moral… the problem is that people defend ALL OF IT equally. You cannot. But, the court of public opinion doesn’t do nuance very well.
No rational person would defend ALL matters of transportation equally; drunk driving, car hijackings, exploits of TSA agents in airports; are abusive or exploitative practices. As is a car salesman who knowingly sells you a lemon where the car will predictably break down 6 months later. Hereto, it is a free market transaction, right? It is capitalism, too.
Mitt Romney has been a rank opportunist throughout his political career. Mitt Romney was a clever money-making opportunist throughout his business career. The leveraged buyout business, which does not have to be an evil business, is a business that is ripe for heartless exploitation of vulnerable companies and individuals.
What about Romney benefiting from a $10 million federal bailout and pocketing $4 million dollars directly? It’s not difficult to understand why Romney is not against federal bailouts, having been the beneficiary of them. Perhaps Romney should explain to us how TARP and federal bailouts are free-market capitalism? Romney’s main accomplishment in his one term as governor was RomneyCare, which openly funded abortions for a $50 co-pay. Do Romney supporters call that capitalism too?
Bain defunded pension funds and kept the money – when companies went bankrupt, the pensions had to be paid out of ERISA – government insurance – paid for by those of us who pay taxes. A federal government insurance agency ponied up $44 million to bailout one of Bain Company’s underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees.
While at Bain, and as Governor, Romney showed an example of the government stepping into the marketplace, picking winners and losers, providing profits to business owners and leaving taxpayers stuck with the bill. Romney’s Bain made avid use of public-private partnerships, something that many conservatives consider being “corporate welfare.” It is a commitment that carried over into his term as governor. Bain Capital has been a corporate welfare hog under Romney’s tenure and beyond. If one can make millions of dollars whether a company succeeds or fails then where is the risk-taking Romney speaks of so fondly?
Bain, at times, pursued a practice of socializing their losses to banks and pension insurers while privatizing their gains in the same kind of Wall Street practice that led to the mortgage crisis. They leveraged government assistance to boost profits. Is it anti-capitalist to ask if an average worker is an expendable line on a spreadsheet as that worker’s tax dollars were needed to bailout Bain and financiers? And let’s note; as a supporter of the TARP Wall Street bailout, Romney’s “creative destruction” applied only to Main Street, not Wall Street.
And this just scratches the surface folks. Read on at Furthermore…