I wonder whether Mitt Romney was surprised to hear that Newt Gingrich has criticized him for taxing the blind. Or did he just shrug and say, “So?” the way Dick Cheney did when a TV interviewer pointed out that many Americans question the wisdom of invading and occupying Iraq.
Like Cheney, Romney is not susceptible to remorse. To him, imposing a $10 fee on certificates of blindness (when he was governor of Massachusetts) was business as usual.
Writing in Mother Jones magazine, Andy Kroll reminds us that Bain Capital, the investment company that made Romney hundreds of millions of dollars, grew fat by picking the bones of vulnerable businesses. In the process, thousands of Americans lost their jobs. Here’s a passage from the article.
Private equity firms like Bain are known for raising money from outside investors; using that money to buy up struggling companies; restructuring the companies (think layoffs, slashing worker benefits, and selling off pieces of the business); and finally selling the (supposedly) leaner, meaner businesses for a profit. One particularly infamous type of private equity deal is the leveraged buyout, in which a private equity firm will borrow a huge amount of money to buy a company, thereby weighing down the purchased company with debt….
In the case of Dade International, a medical testing company acquired by Bain and Goldman Sachs in 1994… Bain cut 1,600 jobs from the company between 1996 and 1999 after merging the company with several others as part of Bain’s restructuring plan. In 1999, Bain and Goldman sold Dade International, as it was later called, for a profit, but left the company buried in debt. It filed for bankruptcy in 2002.
Then there was the case of American Pad and Paper, an Indiana-based office products company. Bain bought the company in 1992, and seven years later, when Romney left Bain, American Pad had seen two US plants shutter, lost 385 jobs, and was hobbled by $392 million in debt.
Romney appears strangely unmoved by the suffering he has caused. I suppose that in his mind, he performed a useful service, the way a hawk performs a useful service in culling vulnerable victims from a flock of birds.
As a rich man’s son who became even richer, Romney cannot relate to the suffering of the poor. He has never known deprivation and obviously does not have the heart to imagine it.
Nothing he says or does dispels the image of a cold-hearted hatchet man with disdain for the hardships of the less fortunate.
He emerges as a ruthless globalist who firmly believes the world economy should be designed to accommodate efficiency without regard to the human cost. In such a world, manufacturers take advantage of the poorest populations and sell their products in the most profitable markets. The consequences of such an economy are already proving disastrous for Americans, and in a Romney presidency, these consequences would be drastically exacerbated.
So when Mitt Romney declares that President Obama “does not understand” the economy, it’s not just crazy talk. I am sure that President Obama does not “understand” Romney’s economic approach. With his background, Obama sees the world economy as a tool to enhance the lives of human beings, not as a heartless money-making machine in which Romney and his ilk prosper at the expense of downtrodden millions.
And that’s a much more complex vision – one that Romney cannot possibly be expected to understand.
Photos above show (left) Mitt Romney as a baby with his parents and (right) a ski home in Deer Valley, Utah, which Mitt and his wife Ann listed for sale at $5,250,000 a couple of years ago. It was one of four mansions they owned at the time. They are currently bulldozing their 3,009-square-foot beachfront house in La Jolla, California to replace it with an 11,062-square-foot property.