Romney and the pathology of Bain

Gary Weiss writes: No one can make Mitt Romney look good — not even a crazy man with a program that’s slightly to the right of Juan Peron. Ron Paul, currently the second most popular Republican presidential candidate, may be nuts but Romney is arguably a lot worse: the standard-bearer of the worst aspects of borderline sociopathic, bottom-feeding American capitalism.

I don’t mean to call people names. I speak as a bona fide expert on these subject, having covered business and written a book about a sociopath and having known many professionally through the years. I’m merely trying to provide a dispassionate analysis of Romney’s life and career, especially (but not exclusively) his record as a job-destroying corporate warrior at the Bain Capital buyout firm.

Romney’s tenure at Bain, which he ran from 1984 to 1999, is currently being raked over the coals in the media and in a TV spot paid for by the stunningly hypocritical Newt Gingrich, but I’m not seeing much about what this says about him as a human being.

Here’s one of the better brief digests of Romney as a corporate job-destroyer, written by Josh Kosman, who wrote an excellent book in 2010 on the buyout industry called “The Buyout of America: How Private Equity Is Destroying Jobs and Killing the American Economy.” This book is required reading for anybody who wants to understand what Romney did for a living at Bain. He is the living embodiment of how the “job creator” Republican meme is grotesquely misleading, if not an outright lie.

You can’t really blame him. It was his job. Or as Don Vito Corleone once put it, it was “strictly business.” Romney was taught at Harvard Business School that the purpose of a corporation is not to “create jobs” but to create profits for its owners by, among other things, keeping the cost of labor at an absolute minimum. Job creation, if any, is incidental and entirely expendable, sort of the way oil-drilling rigs burn off natural gas. If profits are to be enhanced by job destruction, so much the better.

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One thought on “Romney and the pathology of Bain

  1. delia ruhe

    I finally got round to reading the long piece at *Vanity Fair* last night, and I must say I quite agree that Romney is the last person the vast majority of Americans would want in the White House. The guy comes across as an automaton. Creepy.

    Krugman’s last column outlined why the US does not want a gung-ho capitalist for a prez, but as I think I’ve said before, Krugman has written a pamphlet called “A Country is not a Company” (available at Amazon, even as a very cheap ebook) for anyone who wants to go further into the question.

    I personally don’t think that Obama’s re-election is a slam-dunk — or anything close to it. He’s lost half of his youth base — that half will no doubt stay home on election day. He’s passed too much draconian legislation WITHOUT EXPLAINING WHY to make him attractive to many of those independents who voted for him in 2008. A slick, successful, patriotic billionaire businessman is bound to look like an attractive alternative to many independents. And, to boot, it looks like Bibi has got Obama cornered so that if he fails to go to war on Iraq, the fundys will abandon him completely; and if he does go to war, the peaceniks and all the rest who are sick to death of war will abandon him.

    Obama will be very lucky — VERY lucky — if what he gets is a squeak-through and a Congress that looks a lot like the one he’s presently got.

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