He asked for it…Mitt Romney and the Men Behind The Mannequin demanded that the American people take a good, long, hard look at his work with Bain Capital. They implored us to see the success at the Salt Lake Winter Games. They demanded we recognize the economic progress made in Massachusetts during Romney’s term as governor.
So we have.
As a venture capitalist, Romney led Bain into some very successful arrangements with the entrepreneurs that started Staples and The Sports Authority. Those firms have created almost 90,000 jobs during their existence; the emphasis, of course, being properly placed on the entrepreneurs that started those firms. After all, when we celebrate the success of entrepreneurialism in our economy, we are celebrating the visionaries that put it on the line, not the bankers that hedged their portfolios according to the capital asset pricing model. But Romney and his advisers want that success, so let’s grant him his “100,000” jobs created through 2012, and move on to the implications.
First, there is the little problem of Romney wanting to pretend that he wasn’t with Bain after 1999. Mitt seems to want the “job creation” that comes from Bain, but not the accountability for job loss (and other related issues). The fact that he was with Bain, as supported by these SEC filings (here, here, and here), and this statement (here), is typically Mitt; it both supports his narrative and contradicts his story. It could mean that he might plausibly claim job creation success, but would mean that he would have to assume the cons that came with those pros.
Even assuming that the Mannequin could have his cake and eat it too, he runs into a very large problem of private equity. Venture capital is, like the capital markets themselves, a good and proper element of a capitalist economy. The Rational Middle is a proponent of venture capital. Private equity, however, is the bastard child of venture capitalism. PE tries to realize value for shareholders by milking it from vulnerable firms. There is never, ever, any notion of the cost to workers or communities related to actions taking by PE firms, nor should there be. They exist for the shareholders first, second, and always. And PE is how Mitt Romney earned his car elevator.
This is the tight-rope that the Men Behind the Mannequin try to walk today; how do they presume to demand credit for “job creation” that Bain had a stake in, but no direct responsibility for, while absolving Mitt of his direct responsibility for job-losses at closed or downsized firms that Bain bought? They walk the same tight-rope with the Salt Lake Olympics, an event that Mitt “saved” by harnessing billions in taxpayer dollars. The Salt Lake games cost U.S. taxpayers twice as much as the Atlanta games (a much larger event) cost just 6 years earlier. Contrast that with the inflation in federal cost between the Los Angeles games of 1984 and Atlanta (a 12 year gap) of a little more than 9 times the cost, and it is quickly apparent that Mitt can be a hero with other people’s money.
Not exactly conservative credentials, but what the heck.
Finally, there is the Massachusetts tight-rope, which might be Mitt’s toughest act. The health reform in that state, which has been quite successful, is built on the same principles as ObamaCare. But Romney, toeing the conservative line, wants to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. Replace it with what, is a question that no conservative (or Romney) has an answer for. To be sure, most conservatives repeat their one and only fall-back phrase, tax-credits, but if a family or business doesn’t earn enough in the first place to pay a bill, a tax-credit does them no good. Mitt wants also to point to his Massachusetts success in job creation, something the Obama Campaign has been quick to jump on.
Now Mitt has defenders, David Tuerk wrote in the Boston Globe that:
This claim is misleading because, first, it relies on data that has been picked to show the worst possible result, and, second, because it rests on an unrealistic standard for measuring job creation at the state level.
After careful study, Mr. Tuerk determined the truth:
This simple recalculation raises the state to 32nd in job creation.
Wow! That is fabulous. He, along with the Men Behind The Mannequin are upset that Romney is being evaluated using the same standards as those they use to evaluate the President. And in their defense, using their own cherry-picked data, the best they can do is tell Mitt to tell us that he passed ObamaCare in Massachusetts (but doesn’t like it), and led that state into a bottom third job-creation position.
Now that is Winning!, Charlie Sheen-style.
The Rational Middle is listening…