The Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger reports that Mitt Romney steered Bain Capital to invest heavily in companies that were “pioneers” of outsourcing jobs overseas, according to SEC files. He founded Bain Capital in 1984 (ironically) and,
“Until Romney left Bain Capital in 1999, he ran it with a proprietor’s zeal and attention to detail, earning a reputation for smart, hands-on management.”
Bain’s decisions were Mitt Romney’s decisions. With Romney at the helm, Bain actively encouraged outsourcing and invested in companies that practiced it.
Hamburger outlines a number of examples of Romney’s zeal for outsourcing during his tenure as CEO. Bain Capital invested in a number of American tech companies born out of large business mergers which created jobs in Australia, Ireland, France, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Later, a spin-off company from the same group created jobs in Mexico, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.
Bain Capital invested deeply in a bicycle production company in 1993 after which, most of its labor was moved to China. An electronics company sent jobs to Ireland and Mexico after Bain invested in it in 1998. Bain invested in a computer chip company that did most of its business with US companies but did most of its production in China and South Korea.
Alex Seitz-Wald at ThinkProgress reports that Romney recently boasted at a fundraiser that while running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games, he commissioned American flag lapel pins to be sold at the games. The pins were made in China.
Obama’s campaign adds that, as governor, Romney vetoed a bill that would ban companies from shipping jobs overseas if they did business with the state.
According to nonpartisan political fact checker PolitiFact, that veto resulted in Citigroup, contracted by Massachusetts for $160,000 a month to run a customer call center for a food stamps program, outsourcing the call center to India.
“McKinsey Global Institute estimated in 2006 that $18.4 billion in global information technology work and $11.4 billion in business-process services have been moved abroad.”
Bain Capital was deeply invested and one of the prime movers in this process of transferring tens of billions of dollars of business from America to other countries. Romney was not merely a participant in this process that killed possibly millions of American jobs and hollowed out whole industries and communities. He was one of the first business leaders to actively encourage it and continuously encouraged it in business and government for decades on an almost unrivaled scale. It is not hyperbole to observe that Mitt Romney is one of the principal reasons so many companies have laid off their American workers and hired workers in countries with cheaper labor in the last 30 years.
Romney’s campaign responded to the Post article by calling it
“a fundamentally flawed story that does not differentiate between domestic outsourcing versus offshoring…”
The difference between the two is that in outsourcing, a primarily American company starts a business in China and in off-shoring, an American business moves to China. For a worker the difference is that if your company moves offshore you get to keep your job as long as you’re willing to move to China and accept the labor conditions that entails. Romney appreciates the subtly different tannins of business as only a connoisseur could. That, or he delights in reminding the American people that he’s never had to worry about feeding his family or his tax-deductible horse.
But the Romney campaign’s tinny response is not only pedantic, it’s also false.
Hamburger reported that
“In addition to taking an interest in companies that specialized in outsourcing services, Bain also invested in firms that moved or expanded their own operations outside of the United States.”
The Post article does indeed differentiate between the two and reported that while running Bain Capital, Romney gobbled up both sweet sources of cheaper labor like a kid in a candy store.
The Romney campaign’s response also said
“Mitt Romney spent 25 years in the real world economy so he understands why jobs come and they go. As president, he will implement policies that make it easier and more attractive for companies to create jobs here at home.”
In psychology, this is known as ‘projection.’ The GOP is blocking the American Jobs Act. The president’s proposal would create jobs for public workers like teachers, police and firefighters. It would create jobs for construction workers to rebuild our roads, bridges and airports. It would create jobs for returning soldiers to use the skills they gained in the military. It would offer tax cuts for small businesses that add jobs. The Wall Street Journal—that lefty rag—concludes that
“Republicans in Congress are the only thing that is preventing these measures from putting more Americans back to work right now.”
The President has issued a “To-Do List” for Congress, which includes repealing tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas and adding tax breaks for companies that bring jobs back to the US. President Obama is trying to reverse the culture of encouraging outsourcing and off-shoring and encourage a culture of creating jobs here in America, both in government and business.
The Republicans’ response has been to mock Obama. They have promised to block his plan to bring jobs to the US. This measure is likely to be voted on before the November election and the American people should watch this showdown closely.
Romney also mocked the President, saying Obama’s To-Do List is to divide the American people. Because asking billionaires to create a few domestic jobs here and there is the same as marching on their castles with torches and pitchforks, apparently. Romney said
“My to-do list is written on my heart, and the first three entries are these: jobs, jobs, and jobs.”
Romney is willfully ignorant of what is in the To-Do List, because the contents of Obama’s list is also jobs, jobs, jobs. Also, Romney wrote “jobs” on his heart? He’d better get his heart checked before the check engine light comes on.
But Romney has made it clear that what his little heart really wants is the Ryan plan. Romney wants to cut spending on the middle class and cut taxes for the rich to the tune of $5 trillion and repeal laws that regulate Wall Street.
In his first lengthy interview since clinching the nomination, he said that under no circumstances would he ever raise taxes. Buried amid nearly 20 minutes of vacuous platitudes, one of the only things he takes a strong stance on is the tax rate for the rich. He would never, ever increase the share of the “burden” that the top 2% of earners carry in the tax code. Asked how he would then pay for his $5 trillion in tax cuts, he said he would go through the process with Congress. The implication is Ryan, the Tea Party and the far right will get whatever they want. The middle class will pay 5 trillion dollars to the rich. Just like they did under Bush. He said it would have no long-term effect on the economy because
“Our banks have a much stronger equity base and capital base than they did before the economic crisis.”
If there’s one thing that’s right with America it’s the big banks.
Investigative journalist Robert Draper recently wrote that in 2009 a group of Republican Congressional leaders met to plan their strategy for defeating Obama and the Democrats. The strategy they agreed upon was to block all legislation related to jobs. They agreed that they should damage the economy as much as possible and blame it on Obama. They are willing to keep millions of Americans out of a job in order to get the job of one man whom they have despised since before he set foot in the Oval Office.
This claim that the Republicans plan to sabotage the economy and blame Obama may seem outlandish, but it is corroborated by other sources. Congressional Republicans have threatened the Federal Reserve that it would face unrelenting criticism if it does anything to help the economy between now and the election.
Romney has asked governors in swing states, particularly Florida, to stop talking about the fact that jobs are growing in their states between now and the election. If Republicans can’t successfully tank the economy, they certainly don’t want anyone to know that it’s beginning to turn around.
This is just one example of Romney’s hypocrisy on this issue. Detroit is beginning to create jobs, particularly in technology. To be certain, the growth is tepid, and unemployment remains higher than the national average. But even sluggish growth is far preferable to what would be happening today if Obama had followed Mitt Romney’s advice in an op-ed he wrote in the New York Times in 2008 to “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” If Romney had been president in 2008, the US auto industry would have been vaporized. Tens of thousands of former auto workers would be unemployed, competing for other jobs, contributing to poverty and crime, and straining government assistance programs. Today, Detroit would be in a depression rippling out across the Midwest and the country, not producing a trickle of tech jobs.
Romney’s hypocrisy on job creation is also evident in a new ad he is running in Ohio. In the ad, he pledges to stand up to China to level the playing field for American businesses and workers. This ad launched the same day the Post published its story revealing the extent to which Romney is personally responsible for the exodus of jobs from America to China.
The advisers he chooses reveal his hypocrisy as well. One of his top financial advisers is Gregory Mankiw who was also a top Bush adviser. Mankiw became infamous in 2004 when he said outsourcing is
“a plus for the economy in the long run”
“a new way of doing international trade”
Giving Americans’ jobs to foreigners is exciting new financial wizardry! What will they think of next?!
This is the advice Romney is getting while the wheels on his bus go round and round as he makes the rounds through the Rust Belt where he bounds up onstage, unbuckles his belt, pulls his pants down, presses his ass up against the microphone and tells the hard workers of America’s heartland he’ll get their jobs back from China. The same jobs he sent to China.
As he travels around America, measuring the trees, asking bakers what doughnuts are and where their cookies come from, relating to Nascar fans since he knows a few Nascar team owners, doing a little car talk about his fleet of cars, and asking black kids who let the dogs out, woof, woof, he constantly has trouble speaking to the American people through the silver spoon lodged in his mouth since birth.
One illuminating example of this came in Iowa in December. A local woman
“told him that she had to endure a five-hour commute to work because her company moved out of state. How could he help keep good jobs in Iowa, she asked.”
Romney patiently explained to her
“that businesses often invent new, more efficient ways to compete.”
“‘The term is called productivity. Output per person,’ he said. ‘Our productivity equals our income.’”
This tone-deaf response reveals that his gut response is to talk to a middle class woman weighted down by the economy like she’s a child who doesn’t understand money. Businesses need to make money and your job was no longer profitable, so your owner moved it. I think she realizes that, Mitt. One wonders if he then tossed her a nickel and patted her on the head. He is so lodged in the firmament of wealth that he can’t understand or relate to the question.
His answer—and his career—reveals that he cares only about money, not about people. I would like to give an adequate response to Romney’s callous and patronizing answer to that Iowan woman:
Mitt Romney, you made millions and millions of dollars in your career. Congratulations, honestly. But you would have us believe that you made all that money simply because you’re a shrewd trader. In fact, as a businessman, you pocketed that kind of money by selling out millions of your countrymen to foreigners. You did what you could and you let us suffer what we must while you laughed all the way to the bank. You, sir, are not a trader. You are a traitor.