Political Animal


October 15, 2012 5:49 PM Mitt Romney, Non-Job-Creator

By Ed Kilgore

Back in August, the famous Reagan Budget Director David Stockman tore Paul Ryan a new one in an op-ed accusing his presumed doppelganger of great feats of mendacity and cowardice.

Now Stockman’s back with an enraged J’accuse! aimed at the very heart of Mitt Romney’s biography: the idea that he was a champion creator of “jobs” or “wealth” at Bain Capital. Stockman makes earlier critics of Bain look like Starbucks-addicted yuppie pikers. Here’s a sample:

Bain Capital is a product of the Great Deformation. It has garnered fabulous winnings through leveraged speculation in financial markets that have been perverted and deformed by decades of money printing and Wall Street coddling by the Fed. So Bain’s billions of profits were not rewards for capitalist creation; they were mainly windfalls collected from gambling in markets that were rigged to rise.

If you find Stockman’s rhetoric discredited by his hard-money biases, check out this:

Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses. He did not build enterprises the old-fashioned way—out of inspiration, perspiration, and a long slog in the free market fostering a new product, service, or process of production. Instead, he spent his 15 years raising debt in prodigious amounts on Wall Street so that Bain could purchase the pots and pans and castoffs of corporate America, leverage them to the hilt, gussy them up as reborn “roll-ups,” and then deliver them back to Wall Street for resale—the faster the better.

Whether you find Stockman’s producerism persuasive or not, there’s no question he’s making an effective challenge to the idea that ol’ Mitt knows what ails Main Street and Wall Street, and how to fix them. Romney’s loyalties have always been with the latter, and he knows as much about the former as his campaign’s talking points explain to him when he alights in the heartland locales where people like Mitt Romney once appeared like an economic angel of death.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on October 15, 2012 6:06 PM:


    That's gotta hurt!!!

    Especially coming from the original turd-polisher for "Trickle-down Economics."

    Whaddathunk the very best critics of the "New Right" would be Nixon's John Dean, and Reagan's David Stockman?

  • jjm on October 15, 2012 6:17 PM:

    Well Mitt is a predator, always has been, always will be. He's looking to shake your last nickel out of your pocket so he can put it in his piggy bank.

    "Imagine," he seems to say indignantly to himself, "the nerve of the 47% or the 99% thinking they can keep their money away from ME!"

  • latts on October 15, 2012 6:42 PM:

    Hasn't anyone come up with an 'I'm from Bain Capital, and I'm here to help you' joke yet?

  • howard on October 15, 2012 7:36 PM:

    of course it's true - at its best, private equity is the vulture in the financial ecosystem, but mostly it's a vehicle for tax-code manipulation.

    but that is not a very easy concept to get across to people, as i've learned through personal experience in trying.

  • schtick on October 15, 2012 9:03 PM:

    I was trying to explain Bain Capital to someone that really doesn't understand what they were doing. I finally told them, they worked exactly like Wall Street. They flushed people's jobs and money down the toilet. Then they got it.

  • Tom Marney on October 15, 2012 9:08 PM:

    And whatever scams Bain pushed were eagerly bought into by "investors" with far more dollars than sense. That's where Bain's superprofits came from.

    Isn't the invisible hand of the market supposed to prevent that sort of thing? I'm just askin.'

  • Leopold Von Ranke on October 15, 2012 9:25 PM:

    The man sounds somewhat bitter. One could surmise that after his Reagan-Era "revalations" his friends cut him out of the loop. Oh, well, you make your bets and his was a book that didn't do too well.

    On the other hand, what's left of the middle class that the Rs started destroying thirty years ago will get their commupance come January 20, 2013.

  • Phoebe on October 15, 2012 11:15 PM:

  • citizen_pain on October 16, 2012 9:12 AM:

    R-Money's idea of the "invisible hand of the market" is actually a pickpocket working it's mark.