Most Americans would agree that the only thing worse than a pathological liar is a thief, and although thieves lie to avoid prosecution and the possibility of conviction, only criminals like embezzlers and swindlers use lies to commit a theft. Willard Romney cemented his reputation as a pathological liar throughout the Republican primary, but there was little indication he was a thief. However, by striving to steal credit for saving the automobile industry from President Obama, Willard Romney resorts to the only tactic he knows; lying. For the past few weeks, Romney claimed it was his idea to “let” Detroit go through a managed bankruptcy that he claims would have saved Chrysler and General Motors, but now he is “taking a lot of the credit” for saving the auto industry even though the public record tells a different story altogether.
There has been chapter and verse written about Romney’s statement that giving the auto industry a government bailout guaranteed there would be no automotive industry left in America. Last week this column made the comparison between managed bankruptcy and Chapter 11 reorganization whose purpose is protecting creditors as much as giving a business a less-than hopeful opportunity to succeed, and that a government bailout is not part of the process. Romney, of all people, should know a thing or two about bankruptcy because his former company, Bain Capital, sent nearly 25% of the companies it managed into bankruptcy by leveraging them with debt they could never repay and leaving investors and creditors holding the bag when they failed. That was the outcome Romney advocated for the American automobile industry; failure and loss of millions of Americans’ jobs with suppliers and creditors following suit.
In Ohio this week, Romney said that “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back,” but according to the federal judge who presided over Chrysler’s bankruptcy in 2009, the company would not have survived without the massive government bailout. Perhaps Romney’s pathological lying restricts his memory, but he plainly said in 2008 that, “If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.” Willard also opposed George W. Bush’s bailout of the industry, and in a 2009 interview said, “Bailout of enterprises that are in trouble, that’s not the right way to go. I know President Bush started it with the auto industry. I thought it was a mistake.”
Now, if Romney thought a bailout was a mistake, why is he taking credit just because he suggested a managed bankruptcy would be sufficient to save the industry? What Romney does not say is that there was no option for the auto industry except to file Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 is a court-sanctioned reorganization to protect creditors and Chapter 13 is a company’s death where creditors are left fighting over court-ordered asset sales. Romney recently said private firms would have stepped in to invest in the automobile industry, but his own company, Bain Capital refused to invest in Detroit when the government’s automobile industry task force asked if they would like to invest in GM’s European operations. Bain’s suggestion was closing down dealerships in November 2009, but Romney is not inclined to reveal that embarrassing fact because it is more in line with Bain Capital’s standard procedure of eliminating jobs and shuttering businesses for good than ensuring a successful recovery. The automobile industry can be thankful President Obama believed in American workers, unions, and a potentially successful industry and they certainly are.
The real reason Romney wanted Detroit to go bankrupt and die is revealed in the same New York Times opinion piece that promised a government bailout was the kiss of death. In advocating for letting Detroit fail, he wrote that failure “would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.” The prescient part of the entire opinion piece Americans should heed is that a Romney managed bankruptcy eliminates union labor and pensions besides shifting manufacturing jobs out of the country. It is the Bain Capital method of killing jobs, unions, living wages, and pensions workers pay into their entire working lives. The only winners in a Romney managed bankruptcy scheme are investors.
There are actually several reasons Romney lies about his role in saving Detroit, and they demonstrate the man’s low moral character, but it is more due to President Obama’s success in turning around the economy. For months Willard has travelled around telling Americans the President has made the economy worse than when he entered the White House despite America was losing 750,000 jobs per month, the market was dying, and there was no growth in the economy. The success of Detroit’s comeback cannot be disputed, and instead of being honest and admitting he was wrong, he lies to rob the President of a highly visible success in saving the economy and millions of jobs. Willard certainly objected to the federal government loaning the auto industry money when he would have given it to his wealthy elitist friends, and if he wins the White House, he plans on handing over $10.7 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy, and yet he has the temerity to complain that Detroit accepted $50 billion. However, it is noteworthy that a key reason Romney prefers the Bain Capital job destroying method of “helping” struggling businesses is robbing union labor of good-paying jobs and their pensions. It is most likely why Willard refers to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker as his hero, and it portends a Romney presidency that eliminates union labor, defined benefit pensions, and collective bargaining that Bain Capital managed-firms followed if they survived being leveraged into failure.
There is no end to the reasons Willard Romney attempts to steal credit from President Obama, and besides being a liar, he is delusional for thinking that as an unemployed American, he had a role in deciding the fate of the auto industry. At the time of the bailout, Romney was not an elected official and held no sway over any government policies because he was busy hiding his money to evade paying income taxes. Now Romney expects Americans to forget that, as a private citizen, he was cheering the automobile industry’s demise just because he tells them he is taking a lot of the credit for the auto industry’s success? Romney is a miscreant, but he is also a lying thief for attempting to steal the credit for something he decried as wasteful and a mistake. The only mistake is Willard Romney taking credit for something the American people know he condemned, and as the campaign wears on, there is little doubt he will attempt to take credit for all of President Obama’s successes including ordering Navy Seals to sneak into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden that Romney promised he would never do. By now, though, Americans with half-a-brain are well aware that everything Willard says is false and that there is no end to his lying, but that is what defines him as a pathological liar and now, a thief.