What is Bain Capital? First, a near failure Bain almost shut down, a tiny, local venture firm reportedly with a host of Salvadoran investors that struck it rich with Staples to offset a lot of flops, then a second-tier hedge fund and hotbed of controversy with partners since Romney wanted to outdo Dad and didn’t focus, including his Olympics paid absence. How these results make Romney a jobs wizard is more magic than logic. In any event, deal analysis hardly qualifies someone to manage a recalcitrant Congress and powerful special interests, or run an administration. Further, Bain’s big success was post-Romney, but its Romney-era bankruptcies and failures were high relative to deals done. Yet it all does sound sophisticated and sexy, and remember that classy, Ivy-league picture of Bain people with money coming out their ears.
Even if Romney wasn’t exaggerating, it’s not just jobs expected of a Superpower but to lead by example on many fronts, not by dumbing down science, trashing the middle class or promoting vaginal probes. So, strike one is how Romney tricks-up making deals into macroeconomic savvy, and strike two is how Romney sees the aforementioned dross as constituting leadership.
And to be clear. Bain job creation is disingenuous and utter nonsense since a restructuring cum process consulting firm sheds or outsources jobs; only venture portfolio companies themselves create jobs – and Bain wasn’t a lead venture firm so didn’t do the start-up business plans, know how to hire the people, manage the operation or execute the mission, it simply provided money.
To be sure, Romney would love the jobs mantle as much as any Emperor loves his New Clothes, but it doesn’t withstand scrutiny, and we need substance, not mass hypnosis because history tells us leaders with vision made our prosperity: like Truman, rescuing Europe and Japan; Eisenhower with infrastructure expansion and restoration of a peacetime economy; Johnson by strengthening the social safety net and integrating American society; Reagan by restoring self-confidence and pride; and Clinton with prudent policy and fiscal discipline.
And Romney’s vision is what? Paid for how? Oh yeah, smoke, mirrors and childlike trust.
I can’t say Obama is a person of vision. Obama is smart, likeable and iconic and may yet rise to the office but surely chose poorly with Geithner, Sommers and the half-ass stimulus program that Geithner and Sommers overpowered lesser known economists on his staff to force on him. That wasn’t Obama’s best moment, but can you imagine “I don’t know much about the economy” McCain and “Dancing With The Stars” Palin doing better? Romney fans, McCain/Palin was the choice of you savvy Republicans, and remember, McCain beat Romney.
So now thank whatever god you think should get credit that McCain wasn’t elected. Except, of course, those of you who would prefer an empty vessel so it can be filled with whatever big donors mandate, aka trickle down economics, aka crumbs from the table.
Now to consequences. The U.S. isn’t a managed economy and therein lies the problem. Anyone who does more with spare time than pick their nose recognizes paradigm shifts through history, most recently the information revolution. One benefit of this information revolution is that the roles of labor and capital are shifting, largely because of robots which are now on the cusp of fighting wars, manufacturing complicated products, and easing the tedium of our daily lives.
The challenge is profound – what do you do with the unskilled, or even the semi-skilled? The ratio of labor input to manufacturing output will diminish such that unions and less-developed countries could/will be seriously disadvantaged. Should there be sufficient capital, and there is, wealthier nations using sophisticated robots will be able to manufacture more efficiently than even the busy-fingers workplaces of the third world, China, and India. It is for that reason, among others, that the Apple victory over Samsung was so profound.
It is also for that reason that attacking the middle class with threats of European socialism is so mendacious. The attackers want something just as European – something akin to feudalism, you know, where those native-born who failed the meritocracy exam work menial, retail or service jobs, oh, and a “warrior” class to fight political and religious wars. Think this isn’t a reasoned assessment, like the Republican threats of Death Panels and Sharia Law? Let’s hear you explain Citizens United, corporations as people, hollowing out the middle class, cuts to education, etc.
So, are Independents smart and thoughtful enough to recognize that Romney is no more than Warren G. Harding Redux (in a fanciful but empty suit), trading on a reputation as Governor that was undistinguished but for ObamaCare, on a reputation as a Mormon leader that is hardly ecumenical, and on a reputation as a capitalist that was more miss than hit? Or will Independents expect Obama, like Roosevelt and Lincoln, to get a second wind in a second term now that he’s learned not to be timid or rely on so-called pillars of the financial community whose vision was no more than the “need for greed” of the Wall Street environs from whence they came.
I believe Obama got more from his experiences in life, race and politics than Romney ever will. Obama seems to have learned to govern, Romney only to pander.
Betcha my learned friends think otherwise.
The Plains, Virginia