Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Truth About Bain

Newt Gingrich's PAC has new video out about Mitt Romney’s role as the CEO of Bain Capital. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:


It’s obviously a hit piece. But the video is devastating. The bulk of it is regular people describing what Mitt Romney’s company did to their employers and their lives. They also talk about the obscene profits Romney and friends made pillaging these companies.

The counter-argument, that criticism of these kinds of corporate raiders is an attack on capitalism, is simply untrue. People who have ideas, build companies, create jobs, manage organizations, and really build things can be praised and respected. The financiers who don’t do the work, but who do make the investments and provide the capital to make businesses possible are vital. Without them most of us wouldn’t have our livelihood. I don’t begrudge them their big paychecks or their return on investment.

We can praise capitalism and still be appalled by the vultures that reap obscene rewards by preying on it.

The private equity firms like Bain Capital stand accused of not building great companies but of pillaging them. They boosted the stock price by decimating the workforce, routed the companies assets into their own pockets, had the companies borrow heavily to hand the cash over to the new owners and abandoned once-healthy companies to debt and bankruptcy. Making money by streamlining and rebuilding troubled companies is one thing. Making a fortune by gutting them is quite another.

Activities taken in pursuit of obscene wealth are not intrinsically virtuous. We’re all living amongst the wreckage of those who performed selfish acts for personal gain. We know the damage that can be done by financiers untroubled by morality or consequence. It is inconceivable that in the aftermath of the economic crash, and the bank bailouts, that we would choose to elect a ruthless corporate raider as our President.

Maybe there is another side of the story. If so, we need to hear it.

Romney needs to account for his actions at Bain. He needs to tell us the story of how he conducted his business. He needs to get beyond his phony talking points and tell us who Mitt Romney really is. If Romney is going to run on his business experience then we need to know he has experience improving the lives of working Americans and not in destroying them. We need know he’s on the side of the middle class an not just the ruling class.

We are owed the truth of what was going on at Bain Capital. If even a part of Romney’s vast fortune came from pillaging of successful companies, raiding employees’ pensions to scoop up additional millions, and destroying jobs to feed his personal greed, then Romney is unfit to be President.

He owes us the true story. And it better be good.


  1. Extremely well said. I applaud you, sir.

  2. I've been all over the story of Romney's dog on the roof of his car lately. But I've also been thinking, and puzzling about his tenure at Bain Capital. Here's the thing.. it was all "legal." The point to highlight is that a private equity firm's responsibility is to make money for it's investors, not create jobs. So Romney's coming up with job creation by him while at Bain is disingenuous.
    What is the issue is Romney's view of economics, his "destructive economics." It's the Venture Capitalists that made the 99% vs. the 1% gap.

  3. I'm not actually opposed to venture capitalists. I've spent my career working at a variety of companies make possible by venture capital.

    I'm opposed to pillaging - which appear to be among the activities Bain engaged in.

    And I think Romney appears to be woefully out of step for our time. Romney was great at transferring lots of money back to his investors. The question is was his management good for the employees of his companies as well?