Thursday, January 12, 2012

Romney Comes Clean: I Am the One Percent!

I will defend your right to gut companies!
Has Mitt Romney found the cause that could finally unite the Republican Party? He thinks he has. "We’ve understood for a long time that the Obama people would come after free enterprise,” Romney declared on the plane headed to South Carolina. “Little surprised to see Newt Gingrich as the first witness for the prosecution.”

 Of course, we'd be remiss if we failed to point out that "the Obama people" haven't "come after free enterprise," and we have to remember -- just like brushing our teeth daily or taking out the trash -- it's actually good for our health to clean out our brains after listening to the nonsense that is Mitt Romney's stock in trade.

But I digress. Mittens might be on to something as he gears up to deliver his message to the fine people of South Carolina. Here's a report from Businessweek:
Romney seized his moment before a national television audience on the night of his New Hampshire primary victory to define his differences with the Democratic president in terms of fundamental economic principles, portraying Obama as a practitioner of “the bitter politics of envy” who would “turn America into a European-style entitlement society.”
“This president takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe,” Romney told his supporters.
Romney promised instead to “lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success.”
For now, it is Romney’s Republican rivals who are stoking resentment and providing recorded comments that Democrats could turn against Romney should he become the party’s nominee.
Companies such as Romney’s Bain Capital “come in and loot people’s jobs, loot their pensions, loot their ability to take care of their families,” Perry said at a town hall meeting in Fort Mill, South Carolina, on Jan. 10. “They’re just vultures sitting out there on the tree limb waiting for the company to get sick. And then they swoop in, they eat the carcass, they leave with that, and they leave the skeleton.”
We make money the old-fashioned way: we acquire it.

Romney's experience at Bain Capital is central to the myth that his record in the private sector makes him the perfect man to run the "enterprise" that is America. Does it? Short answer: no. But who cares? Tom De Lay made his money killing insects. Darrell Issa, who gave us seven years of Governor Arnold Scharzenegger, gave us a really good car alarm called the Viper. What did Mitt Romney give us?

He gave money and services to companies that needed them. Sometimes, with Staples, Domino's Pizza, and Sports Authority, the result were companies that went on to prosper. But who exactly, besides Mitt Romney, prospered? The Washington Post:
Both the successes and the failures reveal the candidate’s faith in “creative destruction,” the notion that the new must relentlessly replace the old so that companies and the economy can become more efficient.
You workers here at Staples reject the politics of envy, right?
The concept is gospel to many businesspeople. But its intersection with politics has created what may be a recurring line of attack against Romney’s record.
Romney’s approach is visible in the three big Bain investments he trumpets in his official biography as evidence that he knows how to create jobs. The companies — Staples, Sports Authority and Domino’s Pizza — are well-known consumer brands, and the campaign has gone so far as to say that Romney helped create 100,000 jobs through his work related to those businesses.
But like Romney’s work on all the businesses Bain invested in, the primary goal with these companies wasn’t job creation but making them more profitable and valuable. This meant embracing aspects of capitalism that have unsettled some Americans: laying off workers when necessary, expanding overseas to chase profits and paying top executives significantly more than employees on lower rungs.
The rise of Staples is in fact a textbook example of “creative destruction.”
Staples became a runaway business success in the 1980s and 1990s because it offered companies a smarter way of purchasing supplies, saving them money. As Staples grew, smaller stationery stores were shuttered. These losses are not counted in Romney’s jobs figure.
The rise of the company, which entered the Fortune 500 in 1996, has mirrored broader trends in corporate America, in which many multinational firms now see more potential growth abroad than in this country.
Staples, too, is steadily expanding overseas. In 2006, revenue outside North America accounted for 13 percent of revenue. In 2010, the share was 21 percent.
And as Staples has grown, so has the pay earned by its chief executive, from $4.7 million in 2006 to $10.8 million in 2010. The company explains in its annual report how it sets pay, saying that it uses comparable firms, such as Amazon, Best Buy and Starbucks, as benchmarks.
Staples does not disclose the wages of its 89,000 employees, nor does it break out how many work as retail associates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of a retail salesperson in the United States is $25,000 a year.
 Now, back to the article in Businessweek:
White working-class voters have become increasingly important in the Republican electoral coalition, said Ruy Teixeira, a political demographer and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington.
A Republican nominee “literally can’t win without a very large supermajority from the white working class,” Teixeira said. “It’s the key to their victory. The stakes couldn’t be higher.”
Republicans succeeded in the 2010 midterm congressional elections by gaining a 30-percentage-point lead among white working-class voters, Teixeira said. Obama won election in 2008 even with an 18-point gap among those voters because of support from minority groups and college-educated whites.
That last line shows the clear brilliance of Mitt Romney's new embrace of the "politics of envy." Obama won in 2008 because of support from minority groups and college-educated whites. Romney hopes to win by garnering the support of a very large supermajority from the white working class. Simply brilliant!

I don't know, Mitt just seems to get me, is all.
Mitt Romney made his fortune by helping the white working class gain an annual wage of $25,000 while helping CEOs raise their pay to astronomical levels, at the same time amassing a fortune of $200 million.

I can see it now: Mitt Romney in South Carolina, leading his white working-class minions at a rally in a cheer of "We're the one percent! We're the one percent! We're the one percent!"

It would be funny, if it weren't so tragic, that Mitt's minions have about as much chance of cashing in Mitt-style as they do of getting a good pizza from Domino's, or a living wage from Staples, or a rosy future in the shoe department at Sports Authority. In fact, Mitt's minions are the very epitome of the 99 percenters, if they took long enough to examine it.

Instead, they are likely to support Mitt Romney. And that's the really tragedy.

Unless, Barack's minions -- Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry -- do his dirty work for him by letting the white working class know that Romney's not a venture capitalist but a vulture capitalist. You know, not really one of them.

But then, what are the chances South Carolina's social conservatives will buy that line? We'll know in a week.

Update: Here's the 28-minute video that Newt Gingrich's superPAC made with money from a billionaire friend. It's pretty devastating. It's being played all over South Carolina.

Mitt Romney is ready for the presidency? Newt doesn't think he's ready for the debates:

Oh, Mittens! You could be screwed. Again, we'll see.

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