I’ve been laid off three times before. I’m lucky in that sense to have not been married, not have kids, not have a mortgage and to have been young and healthy each time. I was grateful that decision makers looked me in the eye every time and told me themselves. Most people aren’t afforded those courtesies. Each time Bain took over a company and it failed, do you think Mitt Romney looked a bunch of workers in the eye and said: I wish this could have worked out better? Sure he didn’t. It wasn’t his job to.
*** Bain gets more scrutiny: After the Washington Post reported on Friday that Bain Capital, under Mitt Romney’s leadership, invested in firms that outsourced jobs to China and India, other news organizations piled on Bain. Over the weekend, the New York Times wrote that even when Bain-controlled companies filed for bankruptcy and shed jobs, Bain and its executives still made money. “Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.” Also, the Boston Globe noted how Romney and Bain once partnered with famed junk-bond king Michael Milken in a leveraged buyout. “It showed how he pivoted from being a relatively cautious investor to risking his reputation for a big payoff. It is one that Romney has rarely, if ever, mentioned in his two bids for the presidency, perhaps because the Houston-based department store chain that Bain assembled later went into bankruptcy.”
Bain swept in, told them they were make things better and required their sacrifice in return: benefits, pay and health care cost increases. These people were willing to work. These people worked hard. Their companies made money. And then some guys they never heard of before in their life turn it upside and down, borrow a bunch of cash against the company that provides their livelihoods and walk away leaving the companies awash in debt.
That’s why Bain attacks work with a lot of people. It’s not economic, it’s personal. People don’t want a president that will leave them “holding the bag”. When Mitt Romney’s op-ed titled “let Detroit go bankrupt”, it reflected his experience with employees: line items in an investment he and fellow managing partners made. Romney’s seen bankruptcies and layoffs happen all the time and think it’s perfectly fine.