The Audacious Mendacity of Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney casually asserted in Ohio, “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back,” he told an Ohio television station Monday. “My own view is that the auto companies needed to go through bankruptcy before government help. And frankly, that’s finally what the president did. He finally took them through bankruptcy.” In so doing, he showed he has no regard for the truth and no shame in campaigning.
Although Mitt Romney advocated a managed bankruptcy, he was not the only person who had such an idea. Furthermore, he staunchly opposed the $81 in federal funding that enabled Chrysler and General Motors to survive during the bankruptcy process. There was no other conceivable source of such funds. Without the federal money, the now thriving companies would have been forced to go out of business and liquidate. Consequently, Romney deserves no credit for the turnaround and his proposal for private financing during the reorganization was an absolute fantasy, and Mitt’s current attempt to “take a lot of credit” for the industry’s comeback is an absolute fraud.
This fraudulence is nothing new for Mitt. He has simply taken it for a higher level. For some time now, Romney has tried to portray himself as a job-creating venture capitalist. This is neither true nor accurate. Mitt and Bain Capital should be more informatively described as vulture capitalists. Venture capitalists invest early in start-up firms with the hope they will grow, succeed, and prosper. Vulture capitalists invest in struggling or failing companies in the hope of profiting from restructuring the businesses or stripping them and selling their assets. This business model often adversely impacts the firm’s workers and the communities where the firms are located
Mitt Romney bases his candidacy on the assertion that he knows who to create jobs, but is a slash and burn vulture capitalist truly a skilled job creator? Let us remember the business Mitt Romney led followed a business model that relies on firing thousands of people to achieve its true goal of maximizing return on investment. Marc B. Walpow, who worked with Romney for nine years at Bain, said the mission was clear. “I never thought of what I do for a living as job creation.” He further stated, “The primary goal of private equity is to create wealth for your investors.”
So Romney is not by any reasonable definition a skilled or even an intentional job creator. Furthermore, his experience as a Chief Executive Officer [CEO] is not especially relevant to the Presidency. A country is not a corporation, and the challenges of leading a nation are far more complex and nuanced than those entailed in managing a company. Corporations have no need to deal with poverty, disease, terrorism, education, civil liberties, civil rights, hunger, education, science, and diplomacy unless they can make a profit while doing so. Even then the concern of any corporation and any CEO is far more narrowly focused than that of a country and its leader.
Additionally, the profit for profit’s sake mentality and the practice of crunching numbers to maximize short-term gain are diametrically opposed to the mindset and method needed for sound presidential leadership. Presidents must consider the effects of their decisions not just on the present American populace, but on their posterity as well. Deregulation and tax cuts may spur the creation or accumulation of wealth, but they do nothing for people struggling to survive and they do nothing to protect the environment or keep workers safe from abuse by corporate management. Romney views every issue through a financial prism even if money is neither the cause nor the cure. For social issues like voting rights and women’s rights and strategic issues like foreign relations and climate change a financial fixation would be disastrous. Finally, the Bain model of buying businesses and loading them with debt and bleeding them of cash would wreak havoc on critical sectors such as health care and education. Our social service institutions are not cash cows and treating them as such will impoverish us as a society and weaken us as a nation.
Furthermore, the CEO model is based on high reward for [short-term] performance, which can backfire in the political arena. In the business world, compensation is based mostly on short term profits. What this means is that a president who comes from a pay-for-play milieu with the resultant mindset is more likely to make policy decisions for short term partisan gain rather than for the longer term and more genuine interests of the country. Such mercenary, short range thinking and decision making may be beneficial for Wall Street, but it is destructive for governance.
Our biggest priorities and most precious goals, like education for our children, health care for senior citizens, scientific progress, and socio-economic equality — cannot accurately be measured in monetary units. These things are invaluable and priceless. The Republic is a nation of 300 million people with varying needs and interests, not to mention a complex and precious heritage, and an evolving role in history. Therefore it needs a broad-minded statesman to lead it, not a single-minded CEO with only one mandate. Willard may not be the worst candidate ever to seek the presidency but neither does he have a sound resume for the job. The American Constitutional Republic is not a corporation and should not be run as one. Neither should it be led by a man whose major professional achievement is making money rather than making progress.
Tags: CEO, corporations, country, expertise, Larry Conley, leadership, Mitt Romney, outreach director, Republic