The Bain Capital Debate in a Nutshell

More than 20 years ago, the Norman Jewison film Other People’s Money quite neatly described the fundamental contours of the debate that may be about to unfold in the GOP race concerning the nature of Mitt Romney’s dubious yet highly profitable endevours as a vulture capitalist:

The question now is whether Republican critics of Romney’s ingenious method of rapacious wealth extraction will see fit to vigorously pursue the populist line of attack against him. After all, at first blush it would seem to run directly counter to their fabulist laissez-faire notions, everything they pretend to hold dear about the “free market” and, of course, their preternatural inclination to cap hobos in the street.

Should be a challenging ideological tight-rope the Republican candidates will be treading in South Carolina over the next week or so…

6 Comments

Filed under 2012 U.S. Election, Populism, Republican Party

6 responses to “The Bain Capital Debate in a Nutshell

  1. It’s a fascinating development, isn’t it, this recently espoused line of attack–and one I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t anticipated. I expected more of an attempt to paint Romney as a vapid, too-smooth-by-half, over-coiffed stuffed shirt (a la Gary Hart or John Edwards). But I genuinely never thought he’d be attacked as a multi-millionaire and a (gasp!) capitalist.

    I guess even I had underestimated the extent to which Americans, deep down inside, loathe the wealthy they officially admire and despise the wealth-creation techniques their elites have convinced them are components of the natural law. When it comes to the politics of envy, Americans are outdoing just about every Western European social democracy I can think of.

  2. Pi Twentytwosevenths

    Mitt and Danny. Today’s “Twins”

  3. SF: I’m completely with you there. I certainly didn’t see this particular line of attack coming from Romney’s Republican confederates.

    I just hope the valuable discussion about the questionable nature of “the wealth-creation techniques their elites have convinced them are components of the natural law” that could arise from this doesn’t get drowned out by blowhards like Rush Limbaugh who would prefer to deceitfully characterize it as a reckless assault on Capitalism per se or neutralized by Romney’s allies who presently are attempting to dismiss it as nothing more than the product of “envy”…

    Should either of those dimwitted views prevail (which, sadly, I expect they will) then Americans will have missed an instructive opportunity to better understand one of the key reasons why their country’s manufacturing base has been steadily hollowed out over the course of the past 30 years.

  4. You expect Americans to connect dots from 30 years ago ?! They could not connect the dots from 2003 in 2004 ….

  5. Mike Armstrong

    They got control of companies, then forced the company to take on massive debt, not so the company could buy new equipment or do R & D or any of the things that most people would think of when a company borrows money. No, instead Bain Capital forced these companies to borrow millions of dollars and then Bain Capital took that money away from the company and put it in their own pockets, leaving the company to try to pay it back.

    This is how Bain Capital and Mitt Romney got rich. This is the infamous Dividend Recap. or as Mitt Romney and the other financial insiders like to say, “getting our bait back”.

    They swept in like vultures onto vulnerable companies that were trying to weather the storm, making good products and providing good jobs to American citizen. Many of these companies could have stayed in business, but because of the huge added debt burden imposed on them by Bain Capital, they eventually shutdown. This is debt the company did not need.

    Once Bain Capital had control of the company, they forced the company to borrow money, not to be used by the company, but for the sole purpose of paying that money to Bain Capital executives and shareholders. What Mitt Romney and Bain Capital did to many companies is corporate raiding, pure and simple. These are the types of predatory financial activities that have contributed to massive corporate debt, lost jobs, and the shipment of jobs overseas to countries like China.

    I think that when most people think about venture capitalist, they imagine a VC company investing in a company and taking a risk that that company will succeed. If the company succeeds then the VC company makes a profit. What a vulture capitalist company like Bain Capital did does not fit this model. They took no risk at all. They plundered companies for millions of dollars and then watched as they struggled to pay back the massive debt and eventually went bankrupt. This is not the capitalism that made this country great. This is not the kind of capitalism that the Republican Party should be defending. This is the kind of financial industry corruption that led to the financial crisis and the degradation of the US economy.

    What I am afraid of as a Republican is that this will start to become much more clear to the American people after Mitt Romney becomes our nominee, but before the general election.

  6. Mike:

    If Romney serves a purpose by exposing corrupt capitalism, then maybe he will be the best nominee for American after all …

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