Ronald Reagan’s budget director David Stockman tore into Mitt Romney today at The Daily Beast, painting him as emblematic of a decades-long trend in promoting high finance over legitimate business.
Mitt Romney claims that his essential qualification to be president is grounded in his 15 years as head of Bain Capital, from 1984 through early 1999. According to the campaign’s narrative, it was then that he became immersed in the toils of business enterprise, learning along the way the true secrets of how to grow the economy and create jobs. The fact that Bain’s returns reputedly averaged more than 50 percent annually during this period is purportedly proof of the case—real-world validation that Romney not only was a striking business success but also has been uniquely trained and seasoned for the task of restarting the nation’s sputtering engines of capitalism.
Except Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses. He did not build enterprises the old-fashioned way—out of inspiration, perspiration, and a long slog in the free market fostering a new product, service, or process of production. Instead, he spent his 15 years raising debt in prodigious amounts on Wall Street so that Bain could purchase the pots and pans and castoffs of corporate America, leverage them to the hilt, gussy them up as reborn “roll-ups,” and then deliver them back to Wall Street for resale—the faster the better.
In the long piece dismantling Romney’s record like a Lego set, Stockman says Bain Capital was “a vehicle for leveraged speculation that was gifted immeasurably by the Greenspan bubble,” claiming that much of Romney and Bain’s success was only made possible because of reckless fiscal policy rather than good old-fashioned ingenuity
Stockman implies that presenting Romney as a “entrepreneur and job creator” is an embarrassment and a farce. And indeed it is.
If we had a more responsible media establishment that valued the truth more than the bottom line and insider access, Romney would be too publicly shamed to make the claim that it is he who really cares about American workers. An idea that should offend everyone.