More on Bain Capital and Romney

As I mentioned yesterday, Reuter’s article on Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital shows his record as a dynamic business leader and visionary job creator is mixed, at best.
The article focuses on a Kansas steel-mill company Bain Capital bought in 1993. The company badly mismanaged the mill (bringing in new management with no knowledge of the industry) and saddled it with a big debt load and it went under a decade later. Reuter’s makes it clear that might have happened anyway, but also makes it clear the company welched on the guarantees it made to cover workers’ health costs and increase the pensions. While Bain owned the company, it also underfunded the pension account; the federal government ponied up $44 million in taxpayers’ money to cover the regular pension deficit but not the promised boost.
The workers lost out. The taxpayers lost out. Romney, unsurprisingly, made big bucks during this period.
Hence my view yesterday that comparing criticism of Romney’s record to charges that John McCain is brainwashed or Tom Foley is gay (I don’t consider being gay a slur, but that’s how it was intended) is well, bullshit.
Not only that, but as the Daily Howler points out, the Washington press corps loves digging up incidents that (allegedly) reveal a candidate’s carrier. The NYT’s Gail Collins,for instance, has mentioned repeatedly in her columns that Mitt Romney once took a cross-country family trip with the family dog in a strap-on doghouse on top of the car because it’s revealing. Yet amazingly she hasn’t offered any opinion on what the steel mill incident might say about him.
Of course, writing something like that would take work and research (check Reuter’s and see). Endlessly repeating anecdotes about a 20-year-old family trip is a cakewalk (further thoughts on a similar topic here).
In related matters, Digby points out the absurdity of Gingrich ripping into Romney when he was bragging not long ago of how he can take some of the credit for Bain’s success. Roy Edroso reports that Gingrich has already apologized for his criticism and explained that Obama made him say it. Romney himself says that all this criticism is just about envy.
And Glenn Greenwald points out how little taste the media have for criticizing or even fact-checking people in power. Slacktivist adds more. Both posts were sparked by an NYT editor’s column on whether the paper should verify statements by politicians are, you know, true.
Oy, vey.

5 Comments

Filed under economics, Politics

5 responses to “More on Bain Capital and Romney

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