Who Is Mitt Romney?
In 2008, John McCain’s campaign staff put together an exhaustive, 200 page dossier on Mitt Romney while vetting candidates for Vice President. That dossier is a major reason McCain didn’t choose Romney, and contains plenty of reasons why Americans shouldn’t either.
Ann Coulter claims, “Romney has had a Midas touch with everything he’s done.” For those of you not up on your Greek Mythology, the term refers to King Midas’s “ability to turn everything he touched into gold”. Just as that is a myth, so too is Mitt Romney’s reputation, both as a businessman and a Governor.
According to Real Romney Record:
Mitt Romney says while campaigning that the successes and failures of individual companies is what gives him “credibility on the economy” and that he took great risk to make businesses succeed. Romney has even said he was sometimes himself worried about getting a pink slip.
But, Romney’s beginning at Bain Capital was risk-free. In a deal that seems unbelievable to most Americans, Romney was given his new job heading Bain Capital with the agreement that if Romney failed, he would get his old job back with any raises he missed. The company would also lie for Romney if necessary, creating a cover story for Romney’s failure. As Romney’s mentor said, “there was no professional or financial risk.”
Here are some bullet points from Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital via the McCain dossier:
• In July 1994, Ampad [a paper company Bain Capital controlled] bought an Indiana paper plant, fired the existing workers, and gave most employees their jobs back at reduced wages and benefits. ( p142)
• Romney sat on the board of Damon Clinical Laboratories, a Bain Capital portfolio company fined nearly $120 million in 1996 due to Medicare fraud. “[R]omney [claimed] he helped uncover the fraud… and hired an outside law firm to investigate it.” (p140) But:
• “[C]ourt documents – and Damon’s admission – reveal that the fraudulent activity was occurring right up until the time Corning purchased the company from Bain and other owners.” ( p141)
• Romney personally made $473,000 when Corning Inc. purchased Damon Corp. ( p141)
• In another venture, Bain Capital … teamed up with the Haier Group, a Chinese appliance maker that has a factory in Iran, in an unsuccessful 2005 buyout effort. The target of their $1.28 billion bid – the Maytag Corp. ( p143)
• “Haier would be expected to move production of most of Maytag’s branded products to China. ( p145) Because:
• “… you can’t compete with workers offshore who are paid $4 a day.” ( p145)
In 1999, Bain Capital became the primary equity holder of Stream International, after borrowing $82 million to finance a leveraged buyout.
From Progress Now New Mexico:
When Bain and Stream came to New Mexico looking to open a new call center in 2000, state and local taxpayers provided Romney with more than $2.5 million in taxpayer funds on their promise to create more than 1,000 career jobs for Grant County residents:
$1.8 million in taxpayer subsidized job training dollars and $652,500 in Silver City taxpayer subsidized rent
However, during Romeny’s tenure as Bain’s CEO, Stream abruptly cancelled plans to open the Wyoming and Idaho facilities and within two months announced plans for new and expanded facilities in Spain, Canada, France, Ireland and India.
Under Romney, Bain Capital took … free rent and free job training, all funded by New Mexico taxpayers. When the free training dried up, Bain packed up and left town taking at least $1.4 million in New Mexico taxpayer dollars and leaving behind a company and a community ideally set to be outsourced to no less than four foreign companies.
In 2003, Stream’s facilities in New Mexico and Montana were closed within weeks of each other, with executives telling a Montana paper, ” ‘[w]e’re definitely restructuring our business and adding capacity outside the United States and North America.’
The overnight layoffs cost Grant County it’s largest employer, spiked unemployment to 9.9% in 2002 and more than a year and a half later the community was still struggling to recover.
Many so-called “fact checkers” have belabored the point that some jobs physically left after Romney’s departure for the Olympic games; however, a business plan is not produced overnight, and all indications are that the outsourcing plan was long in the works before Romney took his leave of absence from Bain.
In the case of Modus Media, another outsourcer of “services like customer order and fulfillment, packaging and hardware assembly to high-tech companies…”, according to McCain’s dossier:
1998: “Modus spokeswoman Donna Tolley said the company is investing heavily in new facilities to fuel worldwide expansion, including operations in Ireland,Scotland and the Netherlands. … She said in the next few weeks the company will be fully-owned by Bain Capital, an original minority investor in Stream.” (p 154)Following the ownership restructuring of Stream International Holdings Inc., a unit of R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company, Modus Media International Inc. is now a privately held corporation owned by private equity investment firm Bain Capital, Inc., Modus Media management and certain other stockholders.” (p155)
Some the Modus Media “highlights”:
• “Modus Media’s total workforce declined by 27 percent between 2000 and 2004, when Bain Capital owned majority stake in the company”
• Modus Media’s business model was contingent upon expanding operations outside the United States –under Bain Capital’s management, overseas revenues grew to account for nearly 70% of the company’s total in 1997… (p157)
• Modus’ Explanation: “We believe we can deliver more cost-effective fulfillment solutions for our clients” elsewhere. (p158)
In his campaign for President, Mitt Romney has done a 180 on outsourcing, as the Denver Post reported (my emphasis):
While economists debate whether the massive outsourcing of American jobs over the last generation was inevitable, Romney in recent months has lamented the toll it has taken on the U.S. economy. He has repeatedly pledged he would protect American employment by getting tough on China.
“They’ve been able to put American businesses out of business and kill American jobs,” he told workers at a Toledo, Ohio, fence factory in February. “If I’m president of the United States, that’s going to end.”
Speaking at a metalworking factory… Romney cited his experience as a businessman, saying he knows what it would take to bring employers back to the United States.
“For me it’s all about good jobs for the American people and a bright and prosperous future,” he said.
One has to wonder how Romney can look at himself in the mirror. How willing would he really be to bring jobs back when so much of his personal wealth is derived from those companies low overseas costs? Why wasn’t he screaming when Republicans blocked the “Bring Jobs Home Act”, which offered tax incentives to bring outsourced jobs back to the U.S.?
I could go on, but it would take me more time than we have left before the election to cite all the ways in which Romney and his beloved Bain Capital have screwed over company owners and their employees… and I have too many Romney issues yet to cover.
Tomorrow: The Romney Recap For Voters, Part 2: The Mythical Governor