Saturday, January 14, 2012

Growing Bains


So Mitt Romney and his “defenders” are fighting back against the Bain attacks by Newt Gingrich and the Left by saying that Bain Capital was not only nothing like the reckless speculators who brought about the Great Recession of 2008, but in fact was responsible for the “creation” of thousands of jobs and the salvaging of dozens of companies from financial oblivion, and that any criticism of him and it amounts to an all-out assault on the very essence of capitalism.

To which I say, poo.

While it is certainly true that the dynamics behind the financial crisis and what Bain Capital did during the years Mitt Romney ran it are different, the essence of both are frighteningly similar.  To suggest otherwise is to ignore some rather painful realities of what capitalism has become in America over the last several decades.

For all the talk about entrepreneurial spirit, the sad truth is that the work ethic that made this country what it was – so espoused and beloved by the defenders of the faith – has gone the way of the dinosaur.  The driving engine behind the economic system of the U.S. is controlled not by the workers or even the small business owners, but by a precious few individuals who wield billions, if not trillions, of dollars like it was confetti during a celebration and in whose hands all of us nervously rest.

Speculation and venture capitalism now have more to say about how economies are run and, sadly, how they are sometimes wrecked.  The belief that you can invest $100 and turn it into $1,000 or even $10,000 is now at the heart of what is wrong with America.  Hedge-fund managers promise the world to unsuspecting investors, many of whom end up losing most of their investments while the investment firms rake in billions of dollars and the traders secure golden parachutes when the bubbles they helped inflate burst; corporate raiders “invest” in vulnerable companies, sell off most of the assets, fire most, if not all, of the employees and make a small fortune for their cronies in the process. 

If you’ve ever watched the movie Pretty Woman, you know exactly what a corporate raider is.  Take a closer look at Mitt Romney.  Isn’t he just an older, less charming version of Richard Gere?  Yes, Staples and Sports Authority are profit making enterprises and thanks to people like Romney, tens of thousands of people have the privilege of breaking their backs for $7.25 to $9 an hour working there.  If that’s what a successful business in America looks like today, I shudder to think what a failure would look like.

Middle class, meet your destiny. This is the vision of capitalism that Mitt Romney wants to bestow on you and your children.  A world where a few vultures enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us, and then when we have the temerity to ask questions about our lot in “paradise” are made to feel ungrateful or accused of engaging in class warfare.  After all, only an ingrate would bite the hand that feeds it, right?

Over the last thirty years the gap between the über-rich and the middle class has continued to grow.  Not since the early twentieth century have so few controlled so much.  The Great Recession of 2008 was brought about by unscrupulous traders and bankers who peddled garbage as value and destroyed the lives of millions of unsuspecting people in the process.  In the former Massachusetts governor they finally have the perfect ally: a man with no principles, who will say and do anything to get elected president.  The consummate businessman for today’s cannibalistic economy; a true champion of the 1%.  

I have often referred to Mitt Romney as the used-car salesman from hell.  I now realize that was being too kind.  The collateral damage caused by an unethical used-car salesman is limited to the customer who got duped.  The stakes are far greater and the potential damage far more exacting this time around.  Imagine a President Mitt Romney repealing Dodd/Frank and replacing it with nothing.  That would be like rebuilding the Titanic and letting it leave port with no lifeboats at all on board.

That’s one helluva lemon if you ask me.

1 comment:

Anthony said...

Good post, though, if forced to do so, I would say that Mitt Romney is a better choice than either Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, or Rick Perry (and maybe Newt as well). At least Mitt has demonstrated the ability to think rationally now and again. He is also more of a pragmatist than the aforementioned individuals, though that is not saying much.