Mitt Romney, American Parasite

His years at Bain represent everything you hate about capitalism

Even a company Romney cites as one of his greatest achievements—Steel Dynamics, where he was a minority investor—was practically launched by corporate welfare. Indiana taxpayers gave the firm $77 million to open a plant. Residents of DeKalb County actually had their income taxes raised solely to help Romney and his friends.

Tad DeHaven calls it "theft and redistribution."

He's no yammering Trotskyite; DeHaven is a former budget adviser to Republican U.S. senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Yet he notes that firms like Bain often get governments to subsidize their raiding parties.

The smartest guys in the room: Members of Bain Capital with Romney, center, who managed to destroy four of his 10 biggest moneymakers
Bain Capital, 1984
The smartest guys in the room: Members of Bain Capital with Romney, center, who managed to destroy four of his 10 biggest moneymakers
David Foster, a union official at Kansas City’s Armco steel mill, says Bain drove the mill into the ground by placing its own interests above customers’.
Jayme Halbritter
David Foster, a union official at Kansas City’s Armco steel mill, says Bain drove the mill into the ground by placing its own interests above customers’.

The feds take $100 billion a year from everyday taxpayers and send it straight to companies like Romney's, says DeHaven, who now works for the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank.

But like most good Republicans, he's reticent to single out the candidate for criticism. "It depends on what he knew and Bain's involvement in obtaining subsidies," DeHaven says. "I don't know if it makes him a hypocrite or not, but he should answer questions about it."

The President of Russia

Those answers won't be forthcoming. Romney refuses to discuss most of the companies he purchased at Bain, nor will he release his tax records from those years. As a result, voters are left to make their own call on his catalog of creative destruction—and what he might be like as president.

Romney has professed his admiration for Ronald Reagan. But judging by his business history, the president he most resembles is Vladimir Putin. Romney has devoted his life to ensuring that every last penny rises to a few hands at the top. And like Putin, he has never shown much concern for the countrymen he tramples along the way.

"The word 'oligarchy' comes to mind," says Michael Keating when asked to envision a Romney presidency.

Keating is a former business consultant and executive at Bertelsmann, a multinational investment firm that operates in 63 countries. He asserts that men like Romney "hide their antisocial actions behind a rhetoric of free-market capitalist platitudes. But in the end, it's all about the bottom line—and only their own bottom line . . ."

"I don't think Romney is so much dangerous as he is unimaginative," Keating adds. "And in the world we live in, that amounts to the same thing."

pete.kotz@villagevoicemedia.com

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