Mitt Romney: American Parasite

Mitt Romney’s years at Bain Capital represent everything you hate about capitalism.

Not true.

Private equity companies like Bain rarely buy anything but profitable firms for one very compelling reason: The patient must be healthy enough to be force-fed all that debt. So it's something of a misnomer for Republican opponents to slur him as a "vulture capitalist."

"Romney is not a vulture capitalist, as Rick Perry says, since vultures eat dead carcasses," notes Josh Kosman, who's written about the private equity business for 15 years. He's "more of a parasitic capitalist, since he destroys profitable businesses."

Steelworkers union member David Foster says Mitt Romney's Bain Capital pioneered the system of private equity buyouts that wrecked the economy.
Jayme Halbritter
Steelworkers union member David Foster says Mitt Romney's Bain Capital pioneered the system of private equity buyouts that wrecked the economy.
Josh Kosman, an author and critic of private equity firms, says Romney is not a vulture, but a parasite.
Josh Kosman, an author and critic of private equity firms, says Romney is not a vulture, but a parasite.

Judging by the title of his book — The Buyout of America: How Private Equity Is Destroying Jobs and Killing the American Economy — it's safe to assume that Kosman's no fan of the industry. But he concedes that the business isn't inherently wicked.

The game works like this: Big-money investors write checks to people like Romney, who pool that money to buy or invest in other companies. Internal company documents show that a year before Romney left Bain in 1999, one of his funds had reached a massive $10 billion.

Though Bain requires a $1 million minimum for a seat at the table, its investors don't just come from the wealthiest 1 percent. They also include college endowments and teachers' pension funds.

Jon Burgstone, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley's Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, sees private equity as essential to the economy. He may be a member of President Obama's National Finance Committee, but he's still an admirer of Bain.

"Generally, private equity companies invest in larger firms that need reorganization, or in smaller companies that need growth capital," he says. And their management can usually benefit from "very bright Bain consultants."

That feeling is shared by Steven Kaplan, among the foremost scholars in the field. The University of Chicago finance professor says that, statistically speaking, firms like Bain improve a company's cash flow while providing investors with a better return than the stock market.

There's no question that Romney had a gift for minting money. In 1986, he bought medical-equipment manufacturer Calumet Coach for just $1 million, later flipping it for $34 million. He made 16 times his initial investment in the Gartner Group, a technology research firm.

In what was perhaps his crowning achievement, he bought a money-losing Wesley Jessen Vision Care for $6 million in 1994. Seven years later, it was sold for a dazzling $300 million.

Kaplan argues that critics rarely mention these success stories, preferring to "cherry-pick" deals that paint Romney as unmerciful and gluttonous. "I think it's quite unfair," he says. "He was extremely successful at Bain generating returns for his investors. Bain Capital had a tremendous track record. When you invest in dozens of companies, some of those deals don't work out."

But if critics are quick to disregard Romney's triumphs, defenders are equally swift to rationalize his catastrophes. They'll note that for all Romney's bankruptcies, most were rescued by new companies and survive today. It's the final dollar tally that matters.

Yet they seem strangely incurious about the ruin he's delivered across the country. Take Kansas City, for example.

The Armco plant closing involved more than the torching of 750 jobs, Morrow says. Contractors and suppliers collapsed. Workers' children and widows lost health care and pension benefits. And while Bain received millions in tax breaks — paid for by the very people left holding the bag — Romney walked away millions richer.

So one might forgive everyday Americans for feeling they're on the wrong end of a rigged game, one where the wealthy always win — no matter how inept — and the little guy is left to hack through the debris.

Bain is a private company, meaning it has no obligation to reveal its practices. It's never made public a list of companies it's purchased. (Nor would Bain or the Romney campaign comment for this story.)

So in January, The Wall Street Journal did its best to piece together Romney's track record, reviewing 77 investments made under his direction. It turned out that nearly one in three of the companies experienced severe financial trouble. One in five wound up in bankruptcy.

The more telling figure: Of Romney's 10 biggest moneymakers, he ultimately destroyed four of them, leaving bankruptcy judges to clean up the mess.

As Foster sees it, Romney was an early pioneer of gaming the system. It would take another decade before large banks used many of the same principles to detonate the mortgage industry.

"The great irony is that his entire management experience at Bain Capital is buying companies and loading them up with debt and then looting the balance sheet," Foster says. "It's the very model that drove the American economy off the cliff, then left other people to manage the wreckage."


The Job Assassin

Renee Fry doesn't recognize the tin man she sees on TV, the candidate so congenitally wooden that he makes Al Gore seem like Flavor Flav. She was Romney's deputy chief of staff when he was governor of Massachusetts. The guy she served was warm and considerate, quick to distill data and seize the big picture.

"I'm lucky because I know him from the day-to-day Mitt," Fry says. "He liked going out and talking to people and learning from people. The Mitt I know had a real appreciation for people."

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172 comments
Iguitarzan
Iguitarzan

I had a nightmare about Mitt, he was chasing me around and trying to squish me like a bug.

workingpoor
workingpoor

I don't care about Mitt I am voting for Ron Paul

Cat5 KVM
Cat5 KVM

I'm figuring it will only take another 10 years or maybe less, for humanity to tire of this and start the extermination. Lobbyists or Republicans, who knows which will be first to go!!!!

Rudy2shoes
Rudy2shoes

Free Market is not Capitalism, it is chaos and doesn't work. True Capitalism needs to be heavily regulated and Capitalism, the economic system, not the capitalist, is the primary consideration.

We are the worst possible example of what could be an ideal economic model.

donf
donf

great article, would love to see these points raised in a debate between the candidates.

biffula
biffula

Hey owen, here's to new concept to you intellectually lazy libs, try looking out for yourselves.

biffula
biffula

The real villain wasn't Romney or his kind, but the original owners who cashed out and threw their company to the wolves.

Dexterruez
Dexterruez

Josh Kosman is a media hack. His biased one sided stories are the worst sort of journalism, lies and distortions. This is why he writes for the Dallas Observer. His tripe is more suited for the National Observer. His source is a disgruntled union member. Kosman leaves out that Romney left Bain Capital 2 years before GS Industries filed bankruptcy. Or that Bill Clinton's kneeling lip jobs to the Chinese and union greed killed the US steel market leading to several steel companies going belly up including Bethlehem Steel.

GBC
GBC

More BS by the socialist Observer, hey earth to Observer, this is a CAPITALIST economy, (sort of at least it use to be) Socialism doesn't work, witness Russia, Europe and China that is now more capitalistic than we are! (and they are rubbing our faces in it!) We are now in a world economy and it's either compete or perish. The days of big labor are over with, if you don't believe it look at Europe. With the recent events in France look forward to it only getting worse.

Jyskyhy
Jyskyhy

what the hell is wrong with you?youve read a story about man whose job was to shut down businesses (which put people out of work),move it to mexico and write himself a fat check and wants to be president and all you can do is finger point which political part did what or is worse! theres no difference between the parties because they are all rich like romeny.most of you are pathetic and contribute to the problems you complain about!

Jessie Johnson
Jessie Johnson

Long story, but worth the read. It just goes to show that because you have money and you know how to make it, it does not mean that you are right to lead this country. We need someone who will restore the country, not the same old BS where the politicians look out for thier own pocket books instead of looking out for the people they represent. Ron Paul 2012!

pbluett
pbluett

And perpetual politician and "waitress sandwich" womanizer Teddy Kennedy was not a parasite? You guys are pathetic... (lol)

Thomas_Avit
Thomas_Avit

The Republican Party needs a transformation. This country needs to get away from Corporcrat rule, which is what Mitt Romney and Obama are all about. Young people, the future of our country, recognize someone who can direct us back in the right direction - - towards true LIBERTY for its people. RON PAUL has the right message to reinvigorate the Republican Party. Mitt Romney is its doomed past.

Zamora Carl
Zamora Carl

what Ruth explained I am dazzled that some people able to earn $8833 in one month on the internet. did you see this webpage makecash16.comONLY

Strib
Strib

Wow, what a great article. Can't wait to vote for Romney.

Lori Buhler
Lori Buhler

Wow. I was going to vote for Romney. Looks like I have more reading and research to do. Interesting story. I may still vote for him.If it ends up Romney versus Obama; I will definitely vote for Romney. He is the better of the two evils.

Dadibaby
Dadibaby

I don't like a lot of his platform. But, anything! is better than King Obama!!!!!

Greg Mercer
Greg Mercer

Mitt's a job creator in the same sense that Lucifer is a soul saver. No more, no less. He helps his friends, which amount to an extremely small group. Everyone else pays a steep price, and Mitt feels no remorse. None at all. If you hope for more than that, you're pipe dreaming. nothing more.

-
-

alot of firms under the tutelage of the Fed sent the country to ruin some don't exist anymore so what is the moral imperative, make Chavez President because we need to do good for the proletariat? Capitalism never ran that way at best trickle down good times after a holocaust No we aren't that big a losers just a little slow sometimes when misguided, if you don't like Romeny then vote for Ron Paul but don't vote for big governement and suppression of entrepeneurialsim unless your an A 1 leach or satisfied on a welfare haul

Jason_gamble
Jason_gamble

You can't trust unions, the govt, or extreme profit minded, ok, greedy corporate types. What's left?

Guest
Guest

After reading this, I don't have much regard for Romney. However, the article makes the companies out to be the victim.

Anyone stop to think that that's what the CEO of said companies were shopping for when they partnered with Bain?

I know when CompUSA went under that's precisely what they had in mind when they liquidated the company. They weren't trying to get back on their feet.

WBG
WBG

Sure, great story, if you take everything it says as the gospel. How about a story regarding how unions destroy companies by draining them for THEIR profit? Union bosses get rich and the workers get the shaft after it's all said and done. Ask auto workers, American Airlines pilots/mechanics, steel workers. But they did one thing good, they provided a great atmosphere for robotics companies to flourish!

Kim
Kim

A must read no matter what side of the isle you place yourself.

Ken Ashe
Ken Ashe

This doesn't look good for Romney.

Resaun
Resaun

What an amazing story of bullshit.

la ley
la ley

Badmann,Corporations of the likes run by Romney are robbing you blind while they distract you w/the fear of losing your liberties! Open your eyes man. Freedom should not come at the price of losing your home, your healthcare, and your job to the 1%!!!

Curtis
Curtis

my roomate's mother got paid $16978 past month. she has been working on the internet and moved in a $438100 home. All she did was get fortunate and profit by the instructions leaked on this website (Click on menu Home more information) http://goo.gl/gpzIo

Badmann
Badmann

Thinking progressively? If you mean thinking like a progressive, you are wanting us to reach the end of the road we are now on rather than turning around and taking a different course. Progressivism means you have no natural rights. That means you only have rights that the government allows you. I hardly think surrendering our liberty is the way to prosperity.

Rudy2shoes
Rudy2shoes

Your conversation style is akin to kicking over trash cans and running, skipping, holding hands and giggling with your playmates.

Franciscojbarquero
Franciscojbarquero

did you not read the article? profitable companies with hard working employees are bought and guys like Romney use the company to get credit (which they can because the company WAS MAKING MONEY) they pay themselves and then leave the company to rot and to pay all the debt. Can someone please explain me how the F@#CK can you call that good capitalism

Rudy2shoes
Rudy2shoes

Assuming they knew that Romney's raiding party was intending to destroy them. A more likely scenario is that they were promised enhanced security and performance only to find out later that they had been violated-- legally.

Only in America.

Rudy2shoes
Rudy2shoes

People who actually read the article came away with the knowledge that all of these companies were profitable and had been for many years because of their labor force, not in spite of it and their understanding of their industry. Your "union boogy-man" hysteria is robotically childish.

Jim Grab
Jim Grab

I agree that what Romney did was wrong and stictly meant to fatten his pocket. BUT, he did this to individual companies while Obama wants to do it to the entire country. Romney is no saint but between two evils I will take the lesser!

Jim Grab
Jim Grab

Go down thru history and you will find many, and I believe more than Republicans, presidents were Democrats and rich before taking office. They made their money off the sweat and misfortune of others Cleveland, Van Buren, Monroe, Clinton, Tyler, FDR, Johnson, Madison, Jackson, Jefferson, Washington and least but not last JFK. They may have been pricks in business but not all ran the country in to the ground as president like Obama will do given 4 more years to complete the job!

Rudy2shoes
Rudy2shoes

This is not a partisan conversation, it is about the rape of a country which relies on an economic system that, when respected, is the greatest in the world. Both political parties are complicit in enabling huge holes in the protective wall around our economy that allows unscrupulous people to "game" the system at the expense of hard working owners and workers in the American business community. You'd really have to read the article to figure that out though and, well, it does have a few big words in it.

Franciscojbarquero
Franciscojbarquero

Other's action can not be used to rationalize evil deeds. I don't who else did it. It is just wrong period.

Frank
Frank

Mr. Kosman, and David Foster talk like typical union people(yes I am one also) If Romney is a parasite, and vulture, then please tell me just what is Obama? He is a communist, and never worked a day in his pathetic life. Community organizer, Ha! what a laugh. Even now as president he has a hard time working like a president should, vacation after vacation. I agree I can't wait until election so I can vote for Romney. I agree with Thomas_Avit. The Republoican party does need a transformation, and people like the tea party people are trying to do just that, by getting rid of all the old moderate conservatives like Richard Lugar and others. I like RON PAUL but I don't like his foreign policy. Mr Avit needs to read more history. Ron Paul is an isolationist---That is exactly what got the world into WWII. The world let Hitler go too long without trying to stop him. Don't wait on the young people to lead the U.S. out of this mess, they tend to go for guys like Obama. YOU Mr. Avit probably would not vote for the right person to lead us back to a strong nation. Tell me,Did you vote for Reagan? I'll bet you didn't.

Jessie Johnson
Jessie Johnson

A vote for the lesser of 2 evils is still a vote for evil. There is always another option, people just need to come together and vote for that other option. MY opinion that it is Ron Paul, but the American people need to wake up and get out of this cycle we are in.

Crichfree
Crichfree

Hello!!! Ron Paul is the only choice

Guest
Guest

that would be a great topic if this story was about Unions. Its not. Stick to the topic. Your boy is a pariste. deal with that on election day.

Bill Denaro
Bill Denaro

Last time I checked union members elected their leaders, don't cry when you do nothing to change the folks at the top, then complain when they continue to do the same thing over and over again.

FedsMadeSarahPalinClick4Proof
FedsMadeSarahPalinClick4Proof

After the coup and cover up we have a state run media. The truth can no longer be reported, only Psyops stories with Psyops comments to spy on Americans and provide disinformation.

Lyonheart1980
Lyonheart1980

Yep, it's that darn 1% with the guns and tanks that take away liberty. Darn them to heck.

jess
jess

What a dumb person you are. You must be wealthy too and have done the same thing costing people their jobs, homes, cars and way of life and you think that's okay. And you even called that working... The president worked many days of his life and the only sorry, useless person in this scenario is Mitt Romney a destroyer of families and their dreams so he could be wealthy. A disgrace to mankind.

auntiecairo
auntiecairo

Did you even read the article? - eg Romney - like so many private investors and big corporations - used taxpayer money to fund their investments - paid themselves and walk away after taking the companies. Being a CEo doesn't mean someone is a good President. Both our parties work the system - but Republicans are the biggest hypocrites because they take government money and then badmouth it as if they don't. And President Obama isn't a communist - do you even know what that word means? Apparently most Republicans are either over the age of 60 are not well educated -- their points of reference - Hitler; Nazis'; Marxism -- are outdated and irrelevant. And it was Nixon and George Bush Sr. who proudly opened up the doors for our country to do business with China - Bush Sr. turning his head as tanks ran over students in Tieaman Square. People like Romney criticize China - yet all do business with them - and they ARE communists. At least Democrats pretend to want to help people - wherewas Repbulicans try to blame everything on the poor, unemployed and workers who actually make our economy work. If our minimum wages was higher, then our gov't wouldn't have to help as many people. It's the Mitt Romneys of the world - who are born rich but yet take tax money to continue to line their pockets - who are the true "evildoers." As for Reagan - he was the cause of our gov't deficit -- if you actually can read - go back and you'll discover that when he cut taxes for the rich - our gov't deficit began. And the results of that were why George Bush Sr. had to raise taxes and was voted out of office. The same is hapning now -- Baby Bush tanked our economy and now the Republicans try to blame President Obama - some things never change. But ask yourself -- if things are so bad - how is it the 1% have made even more money even during the worst recession in a half century?

 
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