« Third claim against Gumshoe Garrity | Main | Romney is not the sharpest tool in the shed »

June 26, 2007



Mitt Romney. It’s a shame that we once again are faced with candidacies that will not provide the dramatic change that most Americans are seeking. Take Mitt for example. Let’s start by referring to Mr. Romney’s father, George Romney, who was born in Mexico but still ran for President. The press hounded him about his early support for Vietnam (Hillary are you listening?) until George said that he was “brainwashed” by the administration into supporting a contrived war in Vietnam. The media crucified George for the comment and he dropped out of the race for flip-flopping on issues and then offering lame excuses. Hmm. I guess this aborted his bid.

We are now being “brainwashed” by his son who is successfully convincing many Iowans that he looks out for the little guy. Mitt is an international investor who created a company that by all accounts is a corporate raider. Corporate raiders look for companies that are going through tough times and pounce on them. They pay off the stockholders and eliminate public ownership. That immediately guarantees that most of their activities will be kept secret from public scrutiny. They then “harvest” the company, selling hoarding cash, laying off employees, and closing plants. Sometimes, like flipping a house, they will sell off the company for a quick profit without any consideration for the impact on the employees or community.

These ruthless predatory tactics have made Mitt Romney one of the richest men in the country and he has spent tens of millions of dollars in his pursuit of power, starting with a failed Senate bid in Massachusetts, a winning bid for the governorship, and now, a bid for the Presidency. His blind trust holdings include a significant chunk of Bain Capital with his estimated earnings in 2006 anywhere from $17 to $69 million dollars. His partners also have been significant contributors to his campaign. A list of his top 10 contributors all trace back to his Bain connection. This company controls or has an interest in 50 billion dollars worth of commerce. Their true influence on commerce is unknown since so much of what they do is designed to be conducted in secrecy.

The Clear Channel connection
It seems to be less than coincidental that in November 2006, Romney’s company, Bain Capital acquired Clear Channel in a deal involving several other private equity investors. Clear Channel has over 1200 radio stations and 41 television stations in the United States, as well as 850,000+ outdoor advertising displays, providing a tremendous resource for a Presidential campaign. His millions have bought much advertising on, you guessed it, Clear Channel outlets.

The Maytag connection
In the early 90’s Maytag knew they were a takeover target and went on an acquisition spree, in part to make them less attractive to predatory companies like Bain. Still, in October 2005, Bain was a partner in a bid that included the Chinese appliance manufacturer Haier that would buy Maytag and export the brand name to appliances made in China. Westinghouse eventually bought Maytag in April 2006 and soon after closed down the Newton operations, throwing thousands out of work and shattering a hundred year old way of life.

We don’t know what would have happened if Romney’s company had not started the bidding war. What we do know is that there is a class of very wealthy people whose strategy for increasing wealth includes a global search for their next score and have no alligiance to the interests of the United States. As the former CEO of Bain, Romney has played a leading role in developing these global strategies.

Sankaty Advisors
One of the most disgusting branches of this predatory company is Sankaty Advisors, 66 people who specialize in managing debt instruments, including distressed debt. Distressed debt is a buzzword for loans that are behind in payments or even in bankruptcy. These Bain people develop strategies for intimidating and coercing money from people who can’t pay off their debts. In November 2007, BusinessWeek exposed one tactic that included seeking debt repayment from people who had been relieved of the debt through bankruptcy, a practice of dubious legal standing.

Some would say that this is capitalism at it’s best, but it is not. Pure capitalism works if it is a fair fight. Democracy works if it is a fair fight. The combination of private equity, hidden agendas, silent partners, inside deals, and exploitation of entire communities is concentrating the wealth of our country into the hands of a few super wealthy families. Cheney/Halliburton move over, here comes the “bain” of Washington. This is the agenda listed in his website:
Lower taxes on big business
Eliminate all taxes on estates so billionaires can pass their royalty on to new generations
Keep reduced taxes on dividends, capital gains and income
Reduce regulation on big business – this includes worker safety, food safety and pollution control
Eliminate civil lawsuits – making it more difficult for small businesses and workers to fight back against big business

This is all done in the name of making America more globally competitive. Yet, his company has shown no interest in promoting American business and is quite willing to dismantle American industry and export it to other countries if it means they can increase the vast wealth they already control. This was demonstrated by acquiring a Chinese partner Haier in the attempt to acquire Maytag.

The best measure of future behavior is past behavior. When Romney’s ads say, “I can’t wait to get my hands on Washington”, he means it.

The comments to this entry are closed.