What did Mitt do?

I’m not that familiar with what Mitt did at Bain capital. Was hea corporate raider, doing leveraged buyouts, bleeding the company dry, selling off crown jewels and leaving teh husk? Did he take companies private, rehabilitate them and take them public after he had increased value? Some combination of the two?

All of the above, and then some. It’s easy to cherry pick and make him look good or evil, depending on what part you look at. As an investment fund manager (or whatever he was), it should be noted that he could set himself up for a lawsuit if he purposely made decision that were not in the best interest of the shareholders such as not shutting down an unprofitable factory or business unit in order to save jobs.

The PBS NewHour did a piece on this last night. Go to their web site-- I think only a video is available at this point, but a transcript should be up in a day or so.

Has anyone ever been sued for not shutting down a plant? Romney was a corporate pirate, raping and pillaging companies and leaving the violated corpses to rot. Of course, since corporations are people, shutting factories and screwing honest folks out of their livelihoods and fucking the local economy constitutes sex between consenting adults in their book.

I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. Any investment manager has the fiducial responsibility to put the shareholder’s interest first, and is vulnerable to a lawsuit if he doesn’t. Shareholder lawsuits of all sorts are extremely common.

So much nonsense in so few words!

Do you dispute the action described, or object to the analogy?

I object to the notion that “sure, he fucked over a lot of people, but he just had to maximize his return for his shareholders. That was his only responsibility.” Bullshit. There’s a difference between maximizing profit within the constraints of ethical behavior and scorching the earth in order to squeeze every last dollar for your shareholders. If he had license to act without ethics in his private past, what evidence is there that he has the ethics to be president?

You seem to object to the existence of investment funds. Good thing most people don’t share your views, else we’d be talking to each other using cans with strings tied to them.

Watch the video on the NewsHour website. There is a rational analysis of the institution in general, and Bain Capital in particular.

Or stringing up investors from lampposts. :slight_smile:

Ah, the old “any restraint on corporate behavior is a Stalinist attack on capitalism” ploy. An oldie but a goodie.

NPR had a detailed discussion on Diane Rehm this morning as well. I’m sure the transcript will be up shortly. It was a rather balanced look with some focus on the unregulated nature of the firms involved and some of the tax policy implications.

The fact is he probably did some of both (corporate raiding and valuable restructuring).

Ah, the old strawman fallacy.

I don’t think this works as a defense. I’m not really making a statement about the particulars, but in general there are jobs out there that I would consider unethical but legal, and that people who take those jobs are being unethical. I mean, I totally think payday loan places have the right to exist, but I’d never want to make money that way, and I’d think less of anyone who did. Saying “That was his job” is no defense, as no one forced him into the job, nor were the requirements likely a surprise once he got there. If what Romney was doing was ethical, it can be defended on its merits. If it wasn’t, the fact that he had an obligation to the shareholders is immaterial: perhaps it had to be done by someone, but he didn’t have to be the guy who took money to do it.

The courts afford a lot of latitude to the business judgment of executives. Monday morning quarterbacking generally doesn’t go very far.

It might not be fair but it might be correct to portray Romney as a corporate raider that butchered companies for parts that could have survived and flourished. I think it might be tough for Romney to live that down when Obama took so much heat over saving GM and we see a resurgent GM repaying our loans and adding new jobs.

Its makes for an uncomfortable comparison for the Republicans.

Obama’s “bailout” of the auto industry is much closer to what most people consider an investment than much of Romney’s work at Bain. And by any investment standard it was a success for both parties: GM and Chrysler paid back the money with interest ahead of schedule, the stock price of each company has improved dramatically since the loans, and the US government still holds substantial amounts of preferred (dividend paying) stock in both.

Whatever your feelings about the US Government holding stake in a private company, if Bain had done this Romney would be declared president by acclamation. But many of Bain’s deals fall into a category of “investment” that ordinary people might not recognize: Buy a company, strip it’s workforce to make it breifly profitable, issue a glowing IPO, then sell your portion of stock 6 months later (DDI). Buy a company, leverage its assets to borrow more than its purchase price, use that money to buy stock back in Bain, and let the company die (KB Toys).

Technically these are investment moves, but they don’t meet what most folks see as the underlying purpose of investing: To give good ideas and hard-working entrepreneurs a chance to grow and develop something in the marketplace.

“Without investment funds, we’d be talking to eaach other using cans with strings” is at least as big a statement of faith in status quo capitalism as Bob’s rephrasement was, if not moreso. You think that telephony was invented by an “investment fund”? Please point me to the place here which mentions this critical involvement.

Note that there are definitely many companies involved in the ubiquity of telephony. None that I am aware of owe their existence to “Investment Funds”. But I’ll admit I did not research every one of them so I may be mistaken.

An invention does no good if there isn’t capital to bring it to market and proliferate it.

OK, so these companies that he rescued… How are they doing now? Has he, in fact, increased their share prices in the long run?

Watch the video. I don’t have a transcript, or I’d quote it.

Now you’re backtracking. You specifically mentioned “investment funds”. I specifically mentioned companies needed to bring them to market and proliferate the product. Or did you miss that part of my post in order to score a point?

No one doubts that. However, suppose I estimate I could make X% on my investment if my strategy is to “bring an invention to market and proliferate it”, but Y% on my investment if my strategy is to “buy it and financially gut it so that the invention never sees the light of day–at least not by my efforts.” In the current economic climate, which decision is an investor more likely to make when Y > X?