Remember back in school? Maybe back in college, high school or middle school, there was that arrogant rich kid that no one ever “checked?” (to use a city-bound colloquialism for being “called out”) Maybe the rich kid had the cool toys, the new video games, the new car or the house big enough to throw parties in. Maybe he made snide, snooty or rude comments about regular folks’ way of living, maybe he bullied and picked on people, maybe the arrogant rich kid even acted like the smartest thing since alternating current.
Then, one day, while the arrogant, gilded little bully goes about his regular daily operations, somebody says, “hey man, I think your full of sh-t, and I think you only get away being the way you are because you’re so rich.”
If you’ve ever had that moment to witness the explosive reaction, if you’ve ever seen the red-faced entitled rage of the questioned rich kid bully, you will completely recognize Mitt Romney’s flailing reactions this week to being called out on his track record of wrecking the lives of Americans while enriching himself to obscene degrees (and perhaps even hiding that fact).
Whether in his still active profiteering from Bain’s vulture capitalism or in his promise to continue Bush economics, Romney is having a hard time being called out on the very history he was campaigning on just a few months ago.
And let’s make no mistake about it, in the Romney camp’s reaction to being questioned their most recent attacks in response have had a particularly venomous tinge to them. Mitt Romney, who has promised to do things the “Bain” way, is displaying a very aggressive reaction to the rest of us finding out what exactly that means.
Bain, a sort of financial chop shop, specializes in taking over businesses, increasing profit margins with slash-and-burn economics (that have dramatic human ramifications, often not taken into consideration) and then selling the healthier-appearing company for a higher price. Given that Romney has promised to do things the Bain Way, Romney shouldn’t be surprised that Americans want to know about his time at Bain. We as Americans, and his potential employers, should be surprised that he’s surprised.
We should furthermore be suspicious at the very aggressive reaction to this background-checking from the now-sprawling Romney electoral apparatus. Apparently, much like back in school, the rich kid can afford quite a few yes-men, hype-men and sycophants to do his dirty work for him.
In a rabid propaganda piece with the lackeys at Fox “News,” leading Romney campaign surrogate John Sununu (the chairman of Romney’s national steering committee) pulled every conceivable attack out of the right-wing hat, from socialism to dark whispers of Obama’s college experimentation. In a conference call with the press earlier in the week, Sununu was even more aggressive, going so far as saying “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”
Why all the venom from Romney’s team of yes-men and corporate enablers? Well, even the corporate press had the temerity to ask for the details of his corporatist bloviation. Bain was a success story–a success story for the 1% exclusively. Romney’s Bain Capital (from which he still profits) decimated American businesses to chop them up and sell them piecemeal for a profit.
Back in January of this year, on the eve of the South Carolina primary, in the midst of Romney’s most self-aggrandizing campaigning about his experience as a job creator, local workers angrily responded that his claim was “totally false.” Via Tim Wheeler at People’s World
“The experience we’ve had here at Georgetown Steel contradicts Romney’s ‘job creator’ statement,” said James Sanderson, who started working at the mill in 1974 and was elected president of United Steelworkers Local 7879 in 1988. He said in a phone interview that the mill was doing well, earning profits until Romney’s outfit, Bain Capital, took over.
Under Romney’s leadership, the mill slashed 1,750 jobs, padlocked a division that had existed for 100 years and eventually sank into bankruptcy.
In fact, Bain Capital continues in its practices of vulture capitalism, undeterred by even Romney’s presidential bid. It’s been a few years of constant political and labor struggle, but among the most painful experiences in the recent struggle has been the fraudulent American Airlines bankruptcy back in February that allowed it to rip off thousands of workers. One detail often missed was the corporate power behind this very public demonstration of vulture capitalism. Via John Wojcik
American Airlines announced yesterday that it will take the advice of Mitt Romney’s firm, Bain Capital, and lay off 13,000 workers, end the pension plans for its retirees and for all those remaining and take away the health insurance of its retirees.
The announcement came only seven days after American Airlines hired Bain Capital to guide it through a bankruptcy procedure for which the airline had filed last November…
“[Romney]’s talking about creating jobs,” declared Transport Workers Union President James Little, but “he’s not a job creator. He’s a job cremator.”
Bain Capital is also the majority owner of Sensanta Technologies. In Freeport, Ill., 170 workers of Sensanta Technologies are at this very moment preparing to have their jobs cut and their work outsourced to labor markets that can be more easily abused by Big Industry.
“Determined to fight back, workers began this week unfurling signs and banners outside the plant demanding that Romney come to meet with them and stop the outsourcing of their jobs.
The workers’ decision to publicly expose Romney’s role in their pending layoffs could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for his presidential campaign, which is reeling under increasing attacks on him as an outsourcer of jobs and a tax evader.
The developments in Freeport confirm, workers here say, that Romney is a job-killer and out of touch with ordinary Americans.
“If Romney wanted to, all he would have to do is talk to the managers he put in at Bain and say, ‘Don’t do this,'” said Tom Gaulrapp, who has worked at the factory for 33 years. “This is really bad. Romney has major investments in Sensata and when they ship our jobs to China he is going to be making big money off of it, not 10 years ago, but now”
Much like the rich kid who got used to running things, Romney rages in entitled, automaton farce when challenged by the unpleasant political reality of being called out on his actual professional history.
The examination of Romney’s history angers his camp so much because they know it establishes a pattern of behavior. Much like Bain Capital enriched the 1% while sacrificing workers to the altar of profit over and over again, so would Romney’s economic plan actually reward companies for costing at least 800,000 regular folks their jobs.
This pattern is painfully clear in Romney’s career and economic plans. What Romney can’t handle is the fact that the rest of us have noticed. Are we supposed to believe Romney’s penchant for vulture capitalism would suddenly disappear if he becomes president?
Image: Buns and Barbs