Avarice, the spur of industry.
- David Hume
A greedy father has thieves for children.
- Serbian Proverb
Yes, it’s propaganda designed by supporters of Newt Gingrich to paint Mitt Romney as an evil, venal, capitalist robber baron. I get that…but when you strip away the ominous music, the dramatic camera effects and edits, and the sonorous timbre of the narrator, the nature of the source of Romney’s vast wealth is apparent. Romney’s financial empire has been built largely by destroying the hopes and dreams of thousands of middle-class Americans.
No reasonable person would deny that a business exists to make a profit. Left unspoken, though, is the question of what sort of moral responsibility a business has- to employers, to communities, to stockholders, to vendors. IS a business in power solely to make a profitable, or does it have responsibilities that extend beyond mere bottom line concerns? Certainly, the business of business is to make a profit…but those profits can’t be realized without people, employees who make the products and provide the services. Are people just units of production, then? Are people useful only insofar as they’re usable? Once a company has milked a person for every bit of value they can, are they then within their rights to jettison that person? Should business justifiably be meant to be that cold and ruthless?
The propagandistic intent of this film is obvious. That said, once you get past the tug at the heartstrings moments and the lack of balance in the production values, there are some legitimate questions that remain. The bulk of Romney’s at least quarter-billion-dollar fortune was without a doubt built through destroying profitable companies and laying off workers. Those who refer to Romney’s line of work as “vulture capitalism” are probably closer to the truth than they know.
Now that Romney is running for President as the presumptive GOP nominee, does his claim of being a “job creator” hold water? The methodology for obtaining the number of jobs “created” is nonsense; even his own staff admits that the claimed number of jobs created is nonsensical. A cynical person might take this to believe that Romney’s as dishonest and he is heartless…and they might just have a point. This was a man was who was pro-choice and pro-health care reform before he discovered that running for President as a Republican meant having to disavow both positions. Romney was a moderate Republicans while he was Governor of Massachusetts…but a moderate Republicans has a snowball’s chance in Hell of securing the GOP nomination this year. Mitt Romney is a chameleon, a soulless politico with no convictions other than his own self-aggrandizement.
Clearly, Romney knows how to make a buck, but he knows nothing about creating jobs. His business model is and has been all about DESTROYING jobs, decimating companies, and then selling the rotting corpses for a healthy profit. Yes, it’s good business in that Romney’s company, Bain Capital, has been fabulously profitable. What’s impossible to deny is the reality that those profits were achieved by destroying the jobs, and in some cases the lives, of thousands of working-class Americans. Evil comes in many forms; in this case it’s wearing a $1500 suit and sporting perfect hair.
No reasonable person would argue that a company “owes” a living to a worker, but if that workers has made a commitment in terms of years of service to a company, it stands to reason that the company has a similar responsibility to recognize and validate that commitment. No company has ever made a profit by itself; it takes people to run the machines, drive the trucks, and perform the myriad other tasks necessary to make a company successful. Mitt Romney neither knows nor cares about that reality. To Romney and his colleagues at Bain Capital, workers are overhead, units of production to be maximized and squeezed dry and then cast aside. That workers are people with hopes, dreams, and families to raise and feed means nothing to a man who already has more money than he could hope to spend in 50 lifetimes.
I don’t begrudge Romney his success. What I object to is his lack of humanity and his complete lack of concern for Americans far less materially successful than he is. Even now, I suspect that Romney cares about Americans only insofar as he needs their votes to win the Presidency in November. Once he’s achieved his goal (and I fervently hope he won’t), the evidence shows that he will abandon his promises to the middle class and return to protecting and enriching those who, like him, occupy the upper 1%.
A corporate raider is not a job creator, and Romney should know the difference. Romney is a corporate parasite, a vulture capitalist par excellence. He may be fabulously successful as a businessman, but as a human being he’s an epic failure. If Mitt Romney deserves to be President, then I’m the Queen of England.