Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mitt Romney: Job Killer

   These days you just don't know what story line to believe. Take the box-office hit that portrays Abraham Lincoln's role as a vampire killer. I don't know. That doesn't match any of my previous reading.

   Then we have the narrative from Mitt Romney — job creator, economic prince on a white steed. It sounds plausible. He certainly dresses the part.

    Ah, but now we come to understand the extent to which that claim is fiction — how instead of creating U.S. jobs in his past corporate life, Romney slew 'em.

   This story line comes not from minds of Hollywood but from The Washington Post.

    We're not talking about just a few jobs, a handful of shops shut down here, firms downsized there. We're talking about thousands of jobs lost through outsourcing.

    For better (investors) or ill (your neighbors), Romney's company, Bain Capital, was absolutely a huge player in employing the fine people of India.

    Not Indiana. India.

    With Romney at the wheel, Bain was a giant in outsourcing, a trailblazer, a goliath, a veritable G.M. or Ford, except that the latter have tended to employ Americans.

     Bain was a "pioneer," the Post reports, "when the departure of jobs from the United States was beginning to accelerate."

     This is a trend that has, as Carl Sagan might have intoned, moved "billions and billions" of dollars worth of paychecks abroad.

     Now, we all know that outsourcing boosts corporate profits, and lowers prices for services or products. Of course, the same can be said for illegal immigration. It's all part of the "global economy" to which we are all shackled. Love it or leave it — the globe, that is.

    As for Romney, shall we blame him for lassoing the American dream in such spectacular fashion? Some, particularly depending on their own lofty earnings levels, will say, "of course not." Who am I to say?

    One thing to say about the type of business that made Romney drip with wealth while so many tread water, is that it reflects an economy whose course is increasingly difficult to change.

     Take big-box retailers. Bain Capital is credited with helping office-supply giant Staples, among others, get through rough times. Retailing behemoths are a way of life for Americans today. At the same time, they arguably are the biggest reason why the U.S. economy is so hard to steer anew when things go awry. Our nation has much bigger, and much fewer, retail employers than in previous generations.

      Two massive factors — outsourcing and oppressive big-ness — tie policymakers' hands when they try to do something about the economy. And both factors have made a lot of money for a few in the moneyed — Romney-ed — set.

      Now we add another factor about what continues to vex our nation while benefiting a very few, including Bain's once-leading light. While the U.S. government tries to balance its books, offshore corporations and people with the means of sheltering their wealth deprive the Treasury of those dollars, though they benefit from the "land of the free" in every way.

     Romney is one such player, parking millions of dollars away from the IRS's reach in the Cayman Islands.

     So, when pointing out that President Obama has had difficulty stoking the economy and dealing with the deficit, Romney knows three good reasons for it. He's had a hand in each.

     Republicans are fond of saying that Obama never created a job before he became president. True. Then again, he had no experience either in killing U.S. jobs. Apparently this is a good thing to have on one's resume these days.

     Obama, in the face of a do-nothing Congress, has done just enough to avert a second Great Depression. Decide for yourself if that is significant.

     Meanwhile, mega-corporations and tax-sheltered millionaires continue to thrive in ways akin to the bloodsuckers to which Honest Abe is taking a hatchet in theaters near you.

     Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:


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