Archives for: July 2012, 13
Mitt Romney created a hundred thousand jobs through Bain Capital. We know this because he told us so himself.
The number was not simply pulled out of the air. When pressed, the Romney campaign came up with specifics.
Staples: 89,000 jobs created
The Sports Authority: 15,000 jobs created
- Domino's: 7,900 jobs created
Well, you have to admit that totals over 100,000 jobs. Of course, half the story is only ... well ... half the story.
It is also true that Bain Capital did some pretty terrible things, from the perspective of employees who lost their jobs, or simply took major pay cuts. Their jobs were outsourced or just eliminated. When they also lost health and retirement benefits they thought were guaranteed, they pointed out that Bain made millions by raiding them. Mitt Romney became wealthy on top of those lost jobs and benefits.
The Romney campaign has a pretty good defense. He had retired from Bain in February of 1999 to perform charitable work as head of the US Olympic Committee. A lot of the bad things to good people happened after February, 1999. Hard to argue with that.
Thing is, he was signing official documents, declaring himself 100 percent owner and manager of new companies created by Bain, listing himself as owner, manager, CEO, and President of Bain Capital. This went on for a few years, into 2002. He signed papers. He swore in filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But it isn't just Mitt Romney and the Romney campaign saying he isn't responsible for the damaged workers. Bain has also said that Mitt Romney was not actively managing the firm or its many entities. Anything bad that happened after 1999 occurred after Mitt Romney wasn't there. He and Bain both say that the filings were technically correct but were, in a practical sense, merely a formality. He was in charge, but only on paper.
It is also hard to avoid the millions that were pouring into Mitt Romney's bank accounts during the time he was technically and formally, but not practically, in charge.
One philosophical, and moral, and political question is whether one can benefit from horrible actions to the tune of millions of dollars and not be held accountable in some informal and non-technical sense. Should voters hold him accountable for actions that stuffed millions into his pockets?
It could be he was innocent of any knowledge of what was happening at Bain Capital during the purely technical phase of his tenure. That would expose him to another question. Should he be presumed to be willfully ignorant? Most of us might reasonably be curious at wealth flowing into our accounts, no matter where those accounts were kept.
On the other hand, there is another hand. Even if Mr. Romney is to be held responsible, and Mr. Romney insists he isn't, for the occasional harm that may have happened after 1999 through to 2002 at Bain Capital, life is filled with balance, isn't it?
Those workers harmed, their health and retirement benefits having disappeared, left out of work, for many out of realistic hope, those worker must be weighed against those who were helped. That's the sad and the happy reality of equity capital, indeed of most of the free market. People and corporations act in their own best interest. Others are hurt or helped pretty much as a side effect. The purpose of Bain was to make money. Other results were collateral.
Not all effects were bad. In fact, it's hard to argue with 100,000 jobs created.
Staples with 89,000 employees as of December 31, 2010
The Sports Authority with 15,000 employees as of July 2011
- Domino's with 7,900 new jobs through to January, 2012
As far as the bad things, the people hurt? Shouldn't we give Mitt the benefit of the doubt, in spite of official signings and SEC filings? All that technical stuff?
Shouldn't we just admit that Mitt Romney was not responsible for anything that happened through Bain Capital after February, 1999?
Nothing at all. Nothing.