It is a fair assumption that many Americans really lack a comprehensive understanding of the nation’s economy as it relates to their everyday lives and financial well-being. For most Americans, a secure living-wage job with benefits, a home, and a decent retirement plan defines a personal thriving economy, but after Republican deregulation and investment banker malfeasance during the Bush administration, only the ultra-wealthy live in a thriving economy. Indeed, as the world’s economy came crashing down in 2008, the one-percent of income earners did thrive, and they have since adding to their personal fortunes at the expense of millions of Americans’ jobs, homes, and pension funds. In the race for the White House, Willard Romney promises to recreate the “thriving economy” that cost millions of Americans their jobs and financial security, and he admitted that in order to restore the Bush administration’s thriving economy, millions of Americans are going to suffer. Romney has been secretive about his economic plans for America, and despite mounting questions regarding plans to help average Americans, his message, like his wife’s, is “we’ve given all you people need to know” about a thriving economy.
It is becoming increasingly evident that Romney’s “creative destruction” model of wealth creation for himself and wealthy investors does not include a thriving economy for average Americans. During his storied tenure as head of Bain Capital, he sought out vulnerable companies, took them over, sent jobs overseas, and leveraged them with crushing debt they could hardly manage. Prior to companies going bankrupt, Bain ravaged pension funds, sold off assets that profited Bain, and lured gullible investors into buying into the “restructured companies” before they were closed for good. If companies did manage to remain open, employees lost union representation, living wages, benefits, and pensions they paid into their entire working lives. The result was a thriving economy for Romney and Bain, while shareholders, commercial banks, and employees were left with next-to-nothing if they were fortunate, and destitute if Willard’s thriving economy was completely successful.
Romney cannot claim he was unaware of the devastating effects on employees and communities because he said, “For an economy to thrive, there are a lot of people who will suffer as a result of that,” and that “it’s important to find ways to help people move through this process of losing a job and finding a position in a new type of industry that is growing.” It is a nice sentiment, but there was nothing, then or now, in Romney’s plan for America that remotely includes helping people who are not wealthy. In fact, it is no secret he plans to cut education funding, training programs, push private, for-profit schools, cut higher education funding, and slash social safety nets that would be crucial for unemployed workers seeking a job in a new type of industry that is growing.
While head of Bain, Romney invested heavily in new types of industries such as a Chinese manufacturing company that depended on American outsourcing for its profits, and it contradicts Romney’s claim that if president he “will not let China continue to steal jobs from the United States of America.” It is another nice sound-bite on the campaign trail, but outsourcing jobs is entirely different from China “stealing jobs from the United States of America.” In another deal with a new type of industry that is growing, Romney and Bain invested in a company that acknowledged its strategy was to profit from American companies that outsourced production overseas. So it is true that Romney helped workers seeking jobs in a “new type of industry,” but the workers were Chinese and not Americans, and as Romney’s personal economy thrived, Americans languished without jobs, homes, benefits, or retirement savings. For the record, these two examples occurred in 1998 before Willard lied and claimed he was retroactively retired from Bain Capital.
Romney promises that his Bain predatory investment experience gives him an insight in how to turn around the economy with jobs and deficit reduction. However, the massive tax cuts for the richest 1/10th of 1% of Americans will increase the deficit to a degree that will send the economy over the cliff. On Wednesday a Romney advisor was asked how Willard’s plan would boost economic growth while balancing the budget and reducing the deficit and his advisor was clueless, but said Americans could research his plan to find the answer. The problem for Americans, and Romney, is that there are no plans, and no answers regarding deficit reduction or job creation. What Romney has promised is to “get government out of the way” of job creators with deregulation, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and eliminate Frank-Dodd financial reform that protects consumers from predatory lenders Bain Capital used to leverage struggling companies with insurmountable debt.
As far as jobs, Romney promises to slash teacher, construction, police, firefighter, and other public sector jobs in an effort to dismantle unions. The result is a workforce making minimum wages that just might reach Romney’s grand vision of a $19,000 annual middle-class income that’s $4,000 less than the 2012 federal poverty threshold. Corporations and investors will continue enjoying their thriving economy, and public sector employees will join the ranks of millions of other Americans living at or near poverty. All the while, the wealthy will reap rewards with trillions in tax cuts that Draconian cuts to social safety nets will never make up for, and the nation’s debt will skyrocket. Americans, and the nation’s economy, will comprehend what Romney meant that “a lot of people will suffer” with no hope of recouping their jobs, benefits, homes, or retirement inherent in a vibrant middle-class economy.
Romney’s proposals will help the wealthy’s economy thrive, but like the Bush economy, millions of Americans will suffer and it brings up an important point. It was the Romney and Bain creative destruction model that helped send the world’s economy near the brink of collapse in 2008, and if any American needs to put a face on the Great Recession, they should look no further than Willard Romney. The disregard for employees, communities, and America’s economy is characterized by the Romney’s of the world who measure a thriving economy by their success at acquiring staggering wealth, and if his tenure at Bain Capital is any indication, he will pursue a course that enriches the wealthy and leaves the masses in America competing for jobs in China, South Korea, and India where a good middle class wage is a dollar-an-hour and the prospect of owning a home depends on the size of tent one can afford, and if that is Willard’s idea of a thriving economy, then it makes sense why his wife refers to Americans as “you people.”