Leftist criticism of Romney’s business history is ignorant, hypocritical, and magically void of similar criticism of Democrats.
Matt Taibbi’s recent anti-Romney screed published by Rolling Stone magazine entitled “Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital” has been the talk of the left-wing media, from the DailyKos and Huffington Post websites to MSNBC. It has also caught the attention of Business Insider, which says that the article “has tongues wagging. And for good reason.”
Taibbi paints a picture of Romney and Bain Capital as ruthless mobsters, or (though he doesn’t use this metaphor himself) as vampires who swoop in on unsuspecting companies, bribe the management to destroy the lives of their employees, saddle the company with debt, and then fly away with incisors dripping and bank accounts brimming as the company’s life-blood drains away. It is an image that is far more surreal than real, but with just enough of a microscopic grain of truth to convince those with little understanding of finance and investing — and helped along by a pre-existing bias against people involved in that field — that Romney’s world, and thus Romney himself, is to be feared.
For those of us who have even a modicum of experience in the world of private equity investing, Taibbi’s article is a caricature that would be laughable if it weren’t so angry, vicious, misleading — and, unfortunately, accepted as at least plausible by many Americans whose personal experience doesn’t allow them to recognize it for what it is: ignorant twaddle little different from the mindset of the Argentine murderer Che Guevara who wrote that “In capitalist society individuals are controlled by a pitiless law usually beyond their comprehension.”
Normally I would rather have a root canal than read Taibbi’s radical ramblings — after all, I can hear the same siren song of ignorance and class warfare by watching Obama campaign videos —but his tirade demands a response because, paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, it includes much that so many liberals know but which isn’t so.
It is difficult to decide where to start with Taibbi’s deceptions, unjustified conclusions, and obvious hateful bias, so let’s just begin at the beginning.
You know that you’re in for a wild conspiracy-theory ride when the writer says that his target is a predatory hypocrite on a gigantic scale who has “somehow managed to keep [it] hidden, even with thousands of cameras following his every move.”
Given how many leftist “journalists” would give a major limb to break the story that in turn breaks Romney’s presidential aspirations, is it even vaguely credible to suggest that there is an unknown flood of damning stories about Mitt Romney being restrained by an invisible reportorial Hoover Dam despite hundreds or thousands of dam-busting muckrakers digging into every corner of Romney’s history?
You know that you’re reading a bitter leftist who senses the end of the nation’s most recent experiment in radical leftist (and associated Keynesian) policies when you find Paul Ryan described as “a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who’d be honored to tell Oliver Twist there’s no more soup left.” But then, petty insult is all the Democrats have left to run on.
You know that you’ve stepped into a pile of ignorant anti-capitalist excrement (and thus well-suited to be mixed into the Obama campaign’s various unsavory recipes to be spoon fed to the few remaining college students still hungry for what he’s selling) when you read that Mitt Romney is part of “the entire sociopathic Wall Street set” and that he was “disgustingly rich from birth.” I wonder how unsuccessful one’s parents must be for a person to earn Taibbi’s approval.
With all the bile and bilge within the first dozen paragraphs of Taibbi’s rant, you know it’s not going to get any easier to read. And it doesn’t.
THE ESSENCE OF THE COMPLAINT is that Mitt Romney is a hypocrite for complaining about the nation’s federal debt since he used debt as part of structured transactions that contributed to his fortune, while not always working out well for others.
Taibbi quotes a “prominent corporate lawyer on Wall Street” — who apparently doesn’t have the courage to allow his name to be used — as saying that after graduating from Harvard Business School, Romney “could have done anything — but what does he do? He says, ‘I’m going to spend my life loading up distressed companies with debt.’” Keep in mind as you hear the left’s constant anti-Bain drumbeat that the companies they got involved with often were distressed to begin with, meaning that they would likely have failed without help. The fact that some failed even with help is unsurprising.
Glaring by its absence is the converse of Taibbi’s thought process: if it was wrong for Mitt Romney to engage in business transactions financed with private debt, why is it right for Barack Obama to saddle future generations with trillions in public debt, the benefits of which, unlike in a Bain capital deal, have zero chance of accruing to those who will be paying the bills? Not surprisingly, the article goes nowhere near that question.
Taibbi next offers a simplistic explanation of leveraged or management buy-outs, complete with the insinuation that Romney and Bain Capital got corporate executives to go along with deals that were bad for their companies by “buying off a company’s management.”
It is true that the word “leveraged” means that borrowed money is used to finance at least part of the purchase of the company from its existing owners. But complaining about the interest owed on that money is like complaining about the interest owed on your mortgage: you knew what you were getting into when you bought the house, you knew what your payments would be, and you determined that the transaction made sense based on your own weighting of the many considerations involved. You knew that you had enough cash on hand for a down payment but not enough to buy the house outright; you were grateful for the availability of a loan, aka “leverage.” You might end up being wrong, but you certainly didn’t aim to harm yourself with the transaction.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?