Mitt Romney, American Parasite

His years at Bain represent everything you hate about capitalism

Just a few months after being hammered by Kennedy, he set fire to another company.

The Price of Incompetence

The move was classic Bain. Before buying Georgetown, Romney had purchased the Armco steel mill in Kansas City, Missouri, which had been in business for more than 100 years.

A Bain partner told author Josh Kosman that higher-ups frequently discussed cutting workers. Job growth “was never part of the plan.”
Lyric Cabral
A Bain partner told author Josh Kosman that higher-ups frequently discussed cutting workers. Job growth “was never part of the plan.”

"We were setting a lot of records for production at that time," says employee Steve Morrow. "We were making a lot of money because we were getting profit sharing."

Bain combined Armco with the mill in Georgetown and foundries in Tempe, Arizona, and Duluth, Minnesota, to form the newly christened GS Industries.

Romney purchased Armco with just $8 million down and borrowed the rest of the $75 million price tag. Then he issued bonds—basically IOUs—to borrow even more to pay himself and his investors $36 million.

Within a year, he'd already made four times his initial investment while barely lifting a finger. But he'd also run up a staggering $378 million in debt on GSI's tab.

Steel is an infamously cyclical business, a worldwide commodity prone to the same wild price fluctuations as oil. The Kansas City plant forged parts for equipment used in mining gold and copper, leaving it susceptible to the instability of those markets as well.

Yet the smartest guys in the room thought they could run the plant better than the people setting production records.

"They were getting rid of old managers and hiring new managers that didn't have any steel experience," Morrow says. "Some of the guys were nice guys and everything, but they didn't have a clue what was going on."

Many of the new supervisors were ex-military, people who believed that grown men and women are best motivated by punishment. Before Bain, says Morrow, "everybody got along."

Afterward? "They wanted to run the plant like a disciplinary environment. They wanted to discipline people for getting hurt on the job. They wanted to put us in an environment like a war, where we were always fighting with them."

Romney was charging GSI $900,000 a year in management fees to run the company. The Kansas City mill received $900,000 worth of ineptitude in return.

Although Bain borrowed $97 million to retool the plant so it could also produce wire rods, it left the rest of the facility to rot.

To save costs, Bain went miserly on everything from maintenance to spare parts and earplugs. Equipment deteriorated. Because the new managers didn't know how to repair it, "they'd want to rent a new piece of equipment out instead of maintaining what we had," Morrow says. The waste and inefficiency was breathtaking.

Bain's plan all along was to streamline the company into greater profitability, then reap the rewards with a public stock offering. But the exact opposite was happening. Even Roger Regelbrugge, whom Bain installed as CEO, knew the debt was crushing GSI from within, according to Reuters. If a public offering didn't materialize, the company would collapse.

Steel was about to enter a periodic downturn. Countries around the world were locked in a war of tariffs and government-subsidized production, creating a glut and driving down prices. Romney's strategy of the flip was never meant to endure difficult times.

Workers saw the end coming; they were particularly worried that Bain was badly underfunding their pension plan. So they went on strike in 1997, bringing a traditional Rust Belt flair to the festivities by littering the streets with nails and gunning bottle rockets at security guards.

When it was all over, the steelworkers union agreed to wage and vacation cuts in exchange for extra health and pension safeguards should the plant close.

Yet GSI was now hemorrhaging money, says David Foster, the union official who negotiated the deal. He claims that Bain cursed the company by placing its own interests above those of customers or long-term stability.

"Like a lot of private equity firms, Bain managed the company for financial results, not production results," Foster says. "It didn't invest in maintenance or immediate customer needs. All that came second to meeting monthly financial goals."

It would take a few more years of bleeding, but GSI eventually fell to bankruptcy.

The Kansas City mill closed for good; 750 people lost their jobs. Worse, Romney had shorted their pension fund by $44 million. The feds were forced to cover the difference, while workers saw their benefits slashed in bankruptcy court.

The battered Georgetown plant and the foundries in Arizona and Minnesota ultimately were bought out of bankruptcy by new companies. Their workforces were halved.

Still, Romney walked away unbruised. All that debt was technically GSI's, not Bain's. Because he'd repaid himself and his investors just months after the purchase, Romney pocketed millions for running the company into the ground.

"They were clever and ruthless enough to pay their own investors back at a really high return rate," Foster says.

This was the beauty of Romney's racket. Even if he killed a company—and he tended to kill them fairly often—he still made out, leaving others to take the hit.

The Parasitic Capitalist

On the campaign trail, Romney describes his work at Bain as resurrecting distressed companies. In this version, he's the white knight lifting troubled firms from the precipice of failure.

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182 comments
Richard1980
Richard1980

Romney's current supporters, many of whom distrusted him up until he clinched the nomination, think they're defending capitalism. But what Romney represents isn't the real capitalism of Henry Ford, Andrew Carnage or David Sarnoff, whatever flaws those men may have had, it's closer to the likes of Ken Lay or Bernie Madoff. Romney is a much bigger threat to the free enterprise system than Obama could ever be. This totally misses the point on Mitt Romney and Bain. All CEOs are legally obligated to lay off workers if it's in the interests of their shareholders, but what Romney did was much, much worse. Bain's business model wouldn't have worked without the use of corporate bankruptcy as an "escape valve" so they could keep their profits and impose their losses on unwitting creditors. If Romney had to pay back all the creditors that Bain stiffed, he and his family would have qualified for food stamps. http://www.protopage.com/bestsigs http://www.protopage.com/green-coffee-bean-max http://www.protopage.com/buy-electronic-cigarettes-online http://www.protopage.com/cure-toenail-fungus http://www.protopage.com/zigaretten-kaufen-online

hross2923
hross2923

This is the scariest thing that could happen to our Presidency! Only time will tell? I am for impeaching him if he gets into office? Are there anyone else with me?

marthaannwheeler
marthaannwheeler

a cold hearted snake....and he thinks he is going to be president

brads_406
brads_406

ROMNEY ... IS A COLD BLOODED GREEDY REPUBLICAN... PERIOD..

 

car_del99
car_del99

So , in other words , Romney is like a virus in a computer , once he gets inside he destroys it from within..

 

car_del99
car_del99

Romney is to business... as cancer is to a person...

 

JCSF
JCSF

Peak Capitalism, like Peak Oil, is now on the horizon and heading toward us. The central mechanism which the 1% use to increase their cash holdings is to gain temporary control of an object (property, corporation, government, etc) and then attach debt to that object, pocket most of the value of that debt as cash into their account, then release control of the object. The end result of this is that every object on the planet becomes burdened with debt beyond its value. All objects, even the most unexpected, eventually become available to this mechanism through ‘programs’, such as programs to allow unqualified properties to get a mortgage, or programs to get unqualified nations an international loan. As long as huge numbers of new consumers arrive into the economy each year, the (false) pretenses of this mechanism are still believeable to the players. But with a period of zero growth in the developed world upon us, the facade is melting.

paulpine44
paulpine44

I recently worked as an executive for a company that was owned by a PE firm - not Bain, but with many personal connections to Bain and one that appears to operate similarly.

 

This article does a good job outlining how these PE firms tend to work.  In my experience:

 

1)  With the money of its investor pals, the firm purchases a company in whatever condition (it may be a profitable company or a struggling company, depending).  The investors want a return quickly - usually within 3-5 years - so there is little incentive for long-term decision-making.  And as anyone who has ever run a company can tell you, you can do plenty in the short term that destroys the long term.

 

2)  The PE firm immediately begins earning "management fees," whether they are active in the business or not, and whether the company's performance improves or not.  This money comes out of the company, which is to say that money that we might have invested in product development or customer service or marketing is instead first going to the pockets of our owners.  The PE firm often brings in their management consultant pals who also earn exorbitant fees; I can say from experience that there are few things more enjoyable than having a 26-year-old business school grad who knows nothing about your industry tell you how to run your business.  Also note that a PE firm with a broad portfolio cannot possibly be expert in all the industries in which it competes, and so the success of these businesses is often in spite of the PE firm, not because of it.  (That clearly doesn't stop Mitt from taking credit himself.)

 

3)  As soon as the PE firm can flip the company, it usually does so.  Again, the sale is often based on numbers that are propped up for the short-term.  The skeptic will ask, How can the PE firm find buyers if everyone presumably knows the game?  The answer: You'd be amazed how stupid some MBAs are, and a sale requires a single sucker.

 

In the end, the PE firm and its investor pals get paid a ton of money, while jobs are often lost and companies weakened.  Needless to say, this is a great system if you're one of the very few making money... and a horrible system for everyone else involved and for the economy at large.

 

Is this the kind of "management style" we seek?  Because it's the future of our nation we're talking about now.

pangolinx
pangolinx

So it looks like Mitt Romney created the Rust Belt ruining dozens of viable companies and putting thousands of american workers out of jobs. Why should this asshole be allowed to walk free much less be president?

C Bald 71182
C Bald 71182

Useyourheadnow... You are a phucking retard sympathizer for the devil that is "etch-a-sketch" Romney! He, thru Bain, crippled American steel production!! No wonder 99% of all building steel comes from China now. You probably sit behind a cubicle drumming to a keyboard all day...you obviously know nothing of labor you arrogant sycophant! I live and breath skilled labor and have seen first hand what he did to GST in Kansas City because thats where I live and work! So... Open your blind ass eyes and realize a candidate who made millions in the private sector while destroying THOUSANDS of lives is NOT the answer to this countries problems, he will only make matters worse!

Wvsarafan
Wvsarafan

He should be in federal prison.

Sue
Sue

To John Kessler, who reacted to my tale of wealthy senior citzens who tried to give their Social Security checks back to the government: I fully agree that SS should be kept as an entitlement for all, no matter how wealthy. You are right that is would soon become a different sort of program if SS were doled out on a needs basis. My point is that many wealthy senior cirizen I knew finally ended up having their checks automatically directed to the cause or charity of their choice, usually in addition to whatever other philanthropic giving they were doing. The poin ti they realized they had far more than they would ever need, More of the wealthy should be so aware and stop ging money in the tons of millions to manipulate elections, which is how Romney will be elected if he is elected. Romney, the parasitical president (and worse)! And we had better start thinking about that as a real possiblilty

John Kessler
John Kessler

I'd like an example of a manager who went to prison for not firing unproductive workers. Plus, where did it say these fired workers were all incompetent or unproductive? In fact they seemed perfectly capable of doing their jobs and making money for their companies before Baine came along and broke things.

John Kessler
John Kessler

Social Security is a benefit all should receive regardless of wealth or need. The reason is that it is an insurance program that all workers pay into so we all can receive benefits when we need them or when we reach the appropriate age. Excluding wealthy people from receiving benefits is the first step towards converting Social Security into a welfare program. Once that happens it would become easy to justify benefit cuts.

Jay Grosflam
Jay Grosflam

No, it is called republicanism - redistribution = tax cuts for the 1%.

Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet
Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet

No. That's called Communism. Or the old, " Can't you share with your brother?" We already know the answer to that which is called Cain Killed Abel. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet

Latitude3527
Latitude3527

If you want to learn a little about Mor(m)onism, read "Banner Under Heaven".... The Mor(m)on "religion" is a hate-based theologic miss-mash of extra-terrestrial and earthbound fundamentalist beliefs, and, like most other organized religions in the US relies on inculcating fear and guilt from cradle to grave. The last thing we need is a Mor(m)on President who, as a Bishop in the church, has vowed to obey directives from the President of the Mor(m)on church (who claims to have a direct conduit from god and literally uses this fallacy to control church members) over all other laws of the land, including the US Constitution.

Ken Struck
Ken Struck

Gutting stockholder equity, robbing pension plans, shipping jobs overseas, is not creating job. MItt took the money and hid it in the Caymen Islands among other places.

Manny T
Manny T

I love how this article ignores everything even Obama's team member says about Romney. Of course he did everything to get money for the shareholders. He has an absolute LEGAL obligation to do that. If he kept on a few deadweight employees because he was feeling nice and it was revealed to the SEC that he could have dumped a few to make profits better he would be in prison for willfully deflating company value (which people have made a fortune on before) If you own a publicly traded company and don't do everything possible to increase shareholder value and further do things that you know will definitely hurt shareholder value, you will be imprisoned and/or fined. No ifs ands or buts about it. Furthermore, as 'bad' as some of this may look, I look at what Obama has done and think 'Well we already know what the worse option looks like' and remember why I won't be voting for the 8+%, downgraded credit rating president who STILL hasn't pass a budget despite having total control of government for 2 years. Good job, dummy.

Ted Gonzo
Ted Gonzo

Cory Booker should read this Village Voice article to know the real Mitt Romney.

jovan1984
jovan1984

The GOP has always been job killers across South Carolina. It is 2012 and the state is still voting for these fascists!

SC needs to finally wake up from its 36-year slumber and vote for anyone but GOP for a change!

Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet
Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet

Mitt pretended to be Delilah. If we turn from ours and join his, he will be Delilah.

Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet

Cynthia Sue Timko
Cynthia Sue Timko

If President Obama is "required" to explain his faith and relationship with a Liberation Theology pastor (God sometimes "damned" the Israelites in the Bible--look it up-- it's all over the Old Testament---- for their wrondoings in order to set them straight and make themselves an example to the world) through one of his best speeches ever, 45 minutes on race 4 years ago, and explaining what the Trinity Church did and did not do for him, than I don't think it is out of bounds to ask Romney the same thing about his faith. Obama did not bring up race as a campaign issue. It was a subject forced on him. And he openly and brilliantly spoke on the issue. Can Romney do the same? Ordinarily, I would not ask him too. It's his own business. But I gather from his book, Dreams from My Father, that Obama spent his teen years learning somethiing about himself, sometimes the (very) hard way, and taking it seriously. It helped to make him the man he is. What did Mitt do? Prankster? HAH! Sounds a little like George W. redux.

Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet
Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet

Ever notice how much he looks like a scene from " The Outer Limits" in the photo above. " There is nothing wrong with your computer. Do not attempt to reboot. We have gained control of your media. We can turn your life into a dull blur, or extinguish it with crystal sharp clarity. For the next sixty years, sit quietly an mute. WE shall control all you see and hear."

Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet

kimroc1
kimroc1

What exactly does Mittastrophe stand for? Oh...silly me...he stands for jobs, bullying and $$$! He even defended JP Morgan Chase's CEO J. Dimon and praised Meg Whitman as she laid off 30k people. If people want to vote against their own self interest and put this man in office...then so be it. We already had a POTUS who ran the debt up, had a privatized war and host of other things. Mittastrophe's henchmen are going after the President's religion. But doesn't want anyone to question his religion? Morminism? I can go there, but I'm not. I'm voting for the man we have in there....at least Obama-cares.

Cynthia Timko
Cynthia Timko

Rumour has it that Romney has a mean streak---pretty vague rumours so far, but I can't get the image out of my head of him grinning as he explained that his dog probably had a better time sitting on top of that car (sh*****g diarrhea) than he would have sitting in the car with the family. Or the newest story about leading hs gang to cut off another students hair against his will. I wonder if Mitt had pets as a child...... I wonder how they fared. That is all off the main subject in the article, but this story makes gives me real pause......Who is this guy? Really?

nurrevir
nurrevir

low affect...lack of empathy...

assault and unlawful restraint of a schoolmateisilence as a rally crowd boos a gay soldier

tie the dog on top of the cartoss the gay staffer inder the bus 'cause he won't ride in a box on top.

knots on the same thread

Journal
Journal

ok, so he is a tool - what is the solution? ban ill though out business decisions?

Ramiro Carrasco
Ramiro Carrasco

people suffer mitt gets and gives bonuses morman?conservitive?the only thing people like him worship is ego,money.how is burning people considrd succesful.thats beyond greed.thats pure evil.hes acually got a chance at being potus WOW

Ramiro Carrasco
Ramiro Carrasco

sounds alot like the donald buy drain bankrupt fire people this is succesful?

MRjimvinbur at TOUT
MRjimvinbur at TOUT

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liz_imp
liz_imp

Mitt Romney: vulture capitalist pig, asset-stripper and destroyer of jobs!!! THIS is a presidential candidate?

MRjimvinbur at TOUT
MRjimvinbur at TOUT

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JEV1A
JEV1A

"And we know where the "Smartest Guys in the Room" are Now!

Dana Seilhan
Dana Seilhan

Yeah, great. Ron Paul. The dude who wants to deny freedom to fully 51 percent of the American population. Pass.

Actually, the GOP should just quit nominating people. It's obvious they want Obama to serve a second term or they'd have nominated someone sane and honest by now.

Cynthia Sue Timko
Cynthia Sue Timko

Romney claims to be a good Mormon. Now I am not picking on Mormons---admittedly I don't know a lot about the faith, but I do believe it is a sort of Christianity or a sort of offshoot.He doesn't talk about it much, but I wonder how his personal morality comes into all of this as HE, himself,interprets its moral code. Is it OK to make a ton of money on the backs of others? Of course I have the same question about many very wealthy right wing milionaires and billionaires who claim they want to preserve the American Christian (White?) way of life by being parasites, making "investments" such as Romney did as a parasite, or many others taking government subsidies (oil, gas, corn, name it) to increase sheer wealth, while giving nothing back, indeed removing that money from their country, our country, to where it is safe from legal taxation for the commonweal.

Mateo3527
Mateo3527

Typical racist reply. Republicons are greedy loud mouths. if you want to know more about Romney, read "Under the Banner of Heaven". Don't wait for the movie Ron Howard is making; it may be too late.

Cynthia Sue Timko
Cynthia Sue Timko

Manny,Obama never had control of Congress except on paper. Remember fake filibusters? Remember Sen. McConnells designating the primary role of the Republican Party to absolutely ruin the President's term right from the beginning? Obama was naive in thinking he could negotiate with the Repubs. That was his major weakness. I think he has learned his lesson......Look what happened to the "grand bargain" he and John Boehner supposed had worked out. The Teabagger put so much negative pressure on Boehner that even that became impossible, though raising the debt ceiling has been pretty automatic through many presidents through decades.

Eschew Obfuscation
Eschew Obfuscation

There is no mention as to why if Georgetown Steel was doing so well did they sell out to Bain. Apparently GS's management was just as greedy and shortsighted as Bain.

Tom Tudo
Tom Tudo

Whew, yet another selfish and brainless one. Do tell how Dr Paul would "deny freedom" to anyone?

Jeannie Clarke
Jeannie Clarke

Good questions, Cynthia. But why just question the motives of "right wing millionaires and billionaires"? Wealth isn't reserved for just the 'right wing'. Don't forget all the left wing millionaires and billionaires who claim they "want to pay more" but never seem to be willing to write the check. Additionally, don't be fooled into thinking wealth is reserved for the right. Odrama isn't selling all those $50,000 per ticket/plate dinners to 'the right wing'.

Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet
Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet

I know. It's like that episode, where the space aliens come down. They need our newly dead to have bodies, in which to move

Angela Garcia as NeonMosfet

Shepherd2121
Shepherd2121

Mr Paul is a free market ideologue, the most enslaving system ever invented. See my my comment three below here.

Cynthia Sue Timko
Cynthia Sue Timko

Of course I feel the same way about any (m)(b)illionaire, left or right, who is obviously parasitical, but I wonder if you know anyone who is wealthy and tried to refuse their Social Security checks, for example? I have, having spent many years working with retiree volunteers. The government won't take the money back. So they give it away. When I went to work in 2008 for my Congressional candidate, now my U.S. House Representive (I'm proud to say), I had no idea he was so wealthy, let alone how much money he gave away in his passion for the best education possible for everyone. I gradually learned of it as I got to know the office staff who had known him for some time. He was the youngest ever Secretary of Education in Colorado before he ran for Congress. He would walk to the office from his small aprtment which he shared with his partner, and I don't know what he drives when he drives, but I am told it is something small and unobtrusive, something I might drive on my lowly budget. The day he picked me up so we could go knocking on doors, it was no Mercedes he was driving, that much I know Through my involvement with election campaigns, I have learned through whispers and rumours that some of the Dems I have worked for were very quietly wealthy and just as quiet about their true philanthropic activities. I have no doubt that the same is true of some on the right. My wealthy retired Senior Citizen volunteers were very quiet about it. I was often astounded at the kind of wealth they had, as well as what they were giving away. As a matter of fact, one of the wealthiest was a dyed in the wool Repub (but not right wing extremist--far from it), was the first to tell me how many people he knew who tried to refuse Social Security. I don't put Mitt Romney the Koch brothers or Donald Trump in his category. My volunteer made them look small, and rather Scroogish by comparison, literally. And Obama has to do something, as do his wealthy supporters, (a sad, sad fact since the Citizens United case) often well known for their philanthopy, to offset the PAC money being raised by Rove and others from mostly unknown donors.

 
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