Sunday, August 12, 2012

Romney spins his Bain career as shared loss with those whose jobs he destroyed

Mitt Romney articulates a fantasy version his career at Bain Capital in an interview with Josh Tyrangiel for Bloomberg Businessweek (Exclusive Romney Interview: On Humility and Tax Returns 08/09/2012):

Great executives often say that early failure is essential to their eventual success. Aside from not winning a Senate seat in 1994, your record seems almost unblemished. Have you ever massively, embarrassingly failed at anything?

Well, I can say that the investments we made at Bain Capital did not all succeed. There were occasions when after long study and analysis, we concluded that the idea was good, that the management team was the right team. We invested in the business with hopes that it would grow and be successful, and despite our best preparation, we were disappointed with the result. And those results being typically: You lose your money and people can lose jobs. That’s always devastating. And I learned that not every business will be successful, even those that have been carefully selected and thoroughly evaluated.
But that's the thing about Bain's leveraged buyout (private equity) business: the acquirer can arrange to make money even when the acquired business goes under. Which is why LBO deals are often more financial shenanigans than constructive investment.

Cenk Uygur explains how this works and how the tax system is rigged to encourage it in How you can stop paying so much in taxes -- just like Mitt Romney 08/10/12. The segment begins with a fraudulent tax-avoidance scheme that an Obama commercial had accurately connected Romney with:

Here's another segment from The Young Turks online show that also deals with the tax-avoidance scheme raised by the Obama ad, Mitt Romney 'Son Of Boss' Ad 08/10/2012:

Tyrangiel says in one question, "you’ve promised not to cut defense or Social Security." Is Romney really committed to opposing cuts in Social Security benefits? That would have been a question worth pursuing. Romney doesn't mention Social Security in the interview.

The last segment of interview is intriguing. It sounds to me like the magazine wanted to communicate that Romney was being an arrogant twit by not wanting to even stay for the full interview time to which he had agreed. And Tyrangiel does ask him about those annoying tax returns, letting Romney once again make clear that the mob doesn't need to know about them:

Speaking of small business ...

I’ve got to leave and go to work here ...

[Romney adviser informs the governor that the campaign had agreed to a longer interview.]

Ask one question. But I’m holding up traffic in Chicago trying to—I’ve got the Secret Service and all the press and we’re stopped in front of a place of business. So shoot.

Let’s frame the issue around your tax returns in a slightly different way. If you’re an investor and you’re looking at a company, and that company says that its great strength is wise management and fiscal know-how, wouldn’t you want to see the previous, say, five years’ worth of its financials?

I'm not a business. We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency which candidates are required to meet. I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns. This happens to be exactly the same as with John McCain when he ran for office four years ago. And the Obama team had no difficulty with that circumstance. The difference between then and now is that President Obama has a failed economic record and is trying to find any issue he can to deflect from the failure of his record. Thanks, guys. Goodbye.
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