Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Still The Same

In his article about the assault a young Mitt Romney led against John Lauber at Cranbrook School, The Washington Post's Jason Horowitz writes of the guilt-ridden prefect, who should have stopped the attack, and of the aftermath of the incident:

Friedemann, guilt ridden, made a point of not talking about it with his friend and waited to see what form of discipline would befall Romney at the famously strict institution. Nothing happened.

Romney learned well.  In January, Reuters reported

... in October 1993, Bain Capital, co-founded by Mitt Romney, became majority shareholder in a steel mill that had been operating since 1888.

It was a gamble. The old mill, renamed GS Technologies, needed expensive updating, and demand for its products was susceptible to cycles in the mining industry and commodities markets.

Less than a decade later, the mill was padlocked and some 750 people lost their jobs. Workers were denied the severance pay and health insurance they'd been promised, and their pension benefits were cut by as much as $400 a month.

What's more, a federal government insurance agency had to pony up $44 million to bail out the company's underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees.

The steel company declared bankruptcy in 2001.   Mitt Romney headed Bain from its founding in 1984 until the end of 1999, aside from 2000 to 2002, when he took a hiatus to run the Winter Olympics.     And he made out just fine and has "received dividends from Bain after his departure. He accumulated a personal fortune of between $190 million and $250 million, according to campaign disclosure forms."

Daily Kos' Jed Lewison is skeptical that the former governor will address criticism of his activities at Bain, whether the dismantling of GS Technologies or other companies.    He remarks

The issue isn't that GST collapsed or that its workers lost their jobs.   It's that Romney and Bain Capital made enormous profits on the deal despite the failure of the company.   They loaded it up with debt, bankrupting the company and destroying its pension fund, walking away with millions- leaving employees out of work and taxpayers on the hook for the pension fund guarantees.

Newt Gingrich, displaying the consistency and commitment to principle which has characterized his personal and political careers, has begun campaigning for Romney.    Back in January, however, he asked "I do draw a distinction between looting a company, leaving behind broken families and broken neighborhoods and leaving behind a factory that should be there...I think it’s a legitimate question about exactly what happened. Where did the money go? Who got the money? What happened to the people involved?”

A lot of the money went to Mitt Romney, off to a Swiss bank account and to the Cayman Islands.   A lot of the people lost their jobs, but Mitt Romney became governor of Massachusetts and, he plans, President of the United States.    And he is still the Willard Romney of the tony private school in Michigan, still doing as he pleases with little accountability.

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