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MurphTheSurf3 On April - 23 - 2012

Mitt Romney tells his audiences that the two most important things that recommend him for the Presidency are his career as a businessman and his service as a governor. The fact is that neither experience recommends him.

Romney supports the Wall Street Bailout but he will not honestly address why the economy crashed or give any credit to the Obama Administration.

Romney condemned the Auto Bailout and still says it was a mistake despite its having saved a hallmark U.S. industry and a million plus jobs.

Romney’s solution for the Housing Crisis is to let market forces prevail wiping out the single largest investment most Americans have and when values bottom out he recommends converting many foreclosed properties into rentals.

All of this makes sense in light of his experience in founding a company which depended on those market forces to turn fast profits by destroying weak companies and rebuilding moderately strong ones to maximize investor profit.

The proof that he is extraordinarily unsuited to hold office is how badly he did as governor in dealing with the loss of manufacturing, jobs and state revenue.

A closer look at Romney’s Positions on Three of the Most Significant Economic Decisions since 2008.

1) Romney supports the Wall Street Bailout BUT gives no credit to Obama for supporting and carrying it out. For him the credit all goes to Bush and his Treasury Secretary Paulson. AND they get none of the blame for the meltdown. Romney ignores how Paulson, as head of Goldman Sachs, lobbied to raise leverage limits that fueled Wall Street’s unchecked risk-taking machine. The Bush administration sponsored low-income housing and deregulatory policies that promoted the illusory idea of a self-stabilizing Wall Street, gutted the financial regulatory system and set the stage for the disaster.

2) Romney condemned the Auto Bailout when it was first proposed and continues to condemn it today. His loyalty to free market principles seems absolute. Indeed Romney implies that Obama was eager to see the auto industry collapse, so he could do “all these things that liberals have wanted to do for years.”

That is false. The collapse of the auto industry began before Obama took office, and it was President George W. Bush who began the bailout of Chrysler and General Motors. But it was only after the Feds delivered $80 billion in bailout funds, as part of a managed bankruptcy demanded by the Obama administration that Chrysler and General Motors turned things around. Romney would have let the industry collapse and with it one million jobs.

3) Romney criticized the Obama administration’s “hands off” approach for not fixing the housing crisis and in the next breath declared that the most effective way for the market to correct itself was to allow the foreclosure process “…run its course and “hit the bottom.”

For a man who owns a lake home in New Hampshire, as well as some choice beachfront real estate in La Jolla, CA (which Romney will remodel after the election) and Boston, Romney has a slim and inconsistent set of views on U.S. housing policy.

In his 59-point plan to fix the U.S. Romney does not single out housing as vital. Romney has only offered a cursory “analysis” of why the housing market tanked citing the Democrat’s desire for cheap housing as the principal cause. He offers no plan to stabilize home values and remedy the foreclosure hemorrhaging suggesting that underwater homes become rental properties managed by the mortgage holders.

How could a salvager of businesses, and a job creator hold positions like this? Easy. His business experience was not about saving companies or creating jobs. It was about maximizing capital growth often at the expense of company solvency and the loss of jobs.

Romney’s experience at Bain Capital makes sense of his positions and more importantly predicts how he will approach the management of the U.S. economy in the global environment. Begin with the fact that Romney set up Bain Capital with guarantees made by the partners from the parent consulting firm Bain & Company that ensured that he would risk nothing and be paid very handsomely no matter how the new company did.

His business model at Bain Capital was one of picking the meat off the bones of struggling companies to maximize profit for wealthy investors. He did this by picking away at jobs, decent wages and benefits plant by plant AND by attaching massive new debt to those that were moderately healthy. There were cases where companies were rebuilt and emerged stronger but fewer than 30 percent of Bain’s acquisitions could make that claim.

His specialty was flipping companies — or what he often called “creative destruction.” The new must constantly attack the old to bring efficiency to the economy, even if some are destroyed along the way. Wolves, cull the herd of the weak and infirm.

His formula was simple: Bain would purchase a firm with little money down, then begin extracting huge management fees and paying Romney and his investors enormous dividends.

The result was that previously profitable companies were now burdened with debt. It didn’t matter if a company manufactured bicycles or contact lenses. The formula worked for them all.

Bain would slash costs, jettison workers, reposition product lines, and merge its new companies with other firms. With luck, they’d be able to dump a firm in a few years for millions more than they’d paid for it. If not, the company died but Bain still made a lot on fees, property sell-offs, and asset transfers.

The beauty of Romney’s thesis (from the point of view of the investor) was that it really didn’t matter whether the company succeeded. Since he was yanking out cash early and often, he would profit even if his targets collapsed.


But how did he do in his one position of public service, as Governor of Massachusetts? Surely that record recommends him?

As governor, Romney’s crucial test is like Obama’s. It lay in applying his vaunted business background to a slow-growing economy — and the data shows that the results were unremarkable, Some would say they were poor.

Romney ran for governor vowing to attract new jobs to the state, but there were limits to what he could do. Massachusetts by law had to balance its budget every year, and revenue had taken a dive after the first Bush recession, hindering the state’s ability to use public money to stimulate the economy.

In November 2003, Romney signed a modest stimulus, that included a one-day sales tax holiday and a tax rebate for companies that created manufacturing jobs in the tech sector. The package, costing about $131 million, was tiny compared with the state’s total budget then of more than $20 billion. Today, few involved in Massachusetts’s economic policy even remember it. Romney was unable to craft any better plan than this.

At the end of 2002, just before he entered office, there were 338,000 manufacturing jobs in the state. By the time he left, there were 298,000, a drop of 12 percent, according to federal data. The service sector also suffered largely as a result of the drop in manufacturing. With a further decline in state revenue cuts in public positions followed.

Thus job growth only increased at a 1.3 percent rate during Romney’s term, a period of generally robust growth throughout the country, ranking Massachusetts 47 out of 50 states in that statistic during that time, in absolute terms.

Unemployment did go from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent but that was only because people were leaving the workforce in droves during Romney’s term. Just one state had a bigger drop in its labor force during the same period, according to the Labor Department — that was Louisiana, which was hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Massachusetts has been losing manufacturing jobs for more than a decade. And Romney was unable to stem the tide. At the end of 2002, just before he entered office, there were 338,000 manufacturing jobs in the state. By the time he left, there were 298,000, a drop of 12 percent, according to federal data.

BUT he did get two significant measures passed. First, he raised taxes on businesses. The most pressing issue for Romney was finding money to fill a yawning budget gap of about $3 billion. He avoided raising income or sales taxes, by targeting corporate tax “loopholes.” To pro-business groups, this was the equivalent of raising taxes on businesses just when these firms were needed to help grow the state’s economy. By the end of his first term Romney was in trouble with many in the business community.

His most successful initiative? Yep….Romneycare and its noteworthy and trendsetting mandate.



Romney is completely unsuited to lead the nation in the one category where he claims to have the greatest credibility and where polling shows he has strength. If he becomes President most of us will drown in his and his friends’ pools of cold, hard cash.

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

45 Responses so far.

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  1. tlprice71 says:

    I cannot endorse or vote for an ineligible candidate like Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. I’ve researched the records available but have not had access to physical legal documents. Miles Romney was prosecuted in 1885 under the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act (for polygamy). This act allowed certain citizenship rights to be stripped of those convicted. Shortly after that he left for Mexico, taking his family with him. Mitt Romney’s grandparents were born on foreign soil, ( Utah became a state in 1896 ), and they were in Mexico before Utah did join the U.S.. Mitt’s father George was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. in 1912. Mitt Romney was born on U.S. soil in 1947, there is no legal documentation presented to prove George Romney was a U.S. Citizen at that time. As with Obama, Mitt’s birth certificate is meaningless. It only proves he was “native born”. We need legal documents proving George Romney was a U.S. citizen in 1947 with no divided loyalties, no dual citizenship.
    Voting for Mitt Romney further degrades the authority of our Constitutional requirements to be President of America. It is bad enough nobody is brave enough to officially define “natural born” as being of U.S. citizen parents in addition to being “native born” on U.S. soil and allowing the red herring of Obama’s fraudulent birth certificate distracts from his REAL ineligibility due to his foreign father. Voting Mitt makes us fools again!

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      While I find it intriguing that you are applying your ineligibility argument to both of the major parties’ candidates, the argument does not seem significant to me.

      Both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney are acknowledged as citizens as a result of the principle of Jus soli (Latin: right of the soil- the right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognized to any individual born in the territory of the related state. Of course Mr. Romney claims that his parents were citizens and Mr. Obama claims that his mother was. There appears to be no significant objection to either claim. That parentage confers citizenship as well.

      But,your proposition is that there are additional requirements that were not met.

      You are correct that the Constitution does not define the phrase natural-born citizen, and various opinions have been offered over time regarding its precise meaning. The Congressional Research Service has stated that the weight of scholarly legal and historical opinion indicates that the term means one who is entitled under the Constitution or laws of the United States to U.S. citizenship “at birth” or “by birth,” including any child born “in” the United States, even to alien parents (other than to foreign diplomats serving their country), the children of United States citizens born abroad, and those born abroad of one citizen parent who has met U.S. residency requirements (Qualifications for President and the “Natural
      Born” Citizenship Eligibility Requirement; Jack Maskell Legislative Attorney; November 14, 2011; http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42097.pdf) 53 pages of analysis.

      As a result of the widespread acceptance of this understanding by all of the principal parties, the rest of your case is moot.

      Do you really believe that if there were anything to this that it would not be at the heart of the opposition to both candidates?

      Or are you suggesting that there is a grander scheme at work here aimed at having two non-citizens competing for the highest office in the land?

    • bito says:

      tlprice71, Isn’t this the biggest “Oh, look a squirrel” stories from the RW they came up with? They were both born on US soil, thus making them US citizens, ya know, “anchor babies” This is one of the topics that KQuark mentioned earlier, it’s an issue with a small sliver of Americans and a non-issue with most voters yet it still gets talked about. Since when did you get concerned about candidates birth certificates? Since PBO? George Romney? John McCain? It would seem to me that with all the issues in this campaign that this would even concern you. This topic is pure rubbish to me more speculation and garbage than anything else, lacking facts.
      Interesting subject material you chose as an introduction to the PPOV.

      • bito, it just amazes me how people can think that anyone running for POTUS has not been checked out by the INS. And you are absolutely correct, this is really a non-issue and has absolutely nothing to do with the very serious issues we face today.
        I have never, in my 58 years, seen a president questioned about his birthplace. It’s one of, if not the lamest, attempts to discredit Obama, or any other presidential hopeful.

  2. Sabreen60 says:

    Great article, Murph. My insomnia is keeping me up, but I’m glad I found your article. BTW, I tweeted it.

  3. Oh and let’s not forget Romney has ZERO record on foreign policy and his advisers are mostly the old Bush neocon types.

    Basically his foreign policy is to be subservient to Israel on Iran and every other Mideast issue, not negotiate with the Taliban, restart the cold war with Russia and start a new cold war with China.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Given the way he has approached foreign policy (in the shadow of the neocons) as a simple battle of good vs. evil, and his personality wherein the best decision is the simplest one, he worries me very much. Subtle, diplomatic, nuanced….are not Romney words. Frankly I do not think he knows very much either— aka…the Russia talk.

  4. Excellent piece Murph. I will just qualify one thing about the lowering unemployment rate when Romney was gov of Mass. Some of it could have been due to RomneyCare. We forget how many people need to work just for HC coverage. I expect if the right wingers in the SCOTUS don’t strike the ACA down the same could happen on a national level. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing because if people leave the job force because they are only in it to keep HC coverage because they would get it through the ACA, then it could leave more jobs for people that need them for income. But the bottom line was his job growth numbers in MA were terrible, much worse than Obama’s as president everything considered.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      After I saw this comment I did some additional research. Your supposition that RomneyCare allowed some to withdraw from the workforce because they no longer needed medical coverage. I think there are some indications that what you say is true but it is all anecdotal. Since many of the jobs lost to manufacturing and laborers moved in response, I suspect that most of the movement was more broadly motivated. Still it bears considering.

  5. kimbanyc says:


  6. AdLib says:

    Murph -- I don’t see how Romney ever escapes his insistence that the American auto industry be allowed to go bankrupt. Yes, he lies about everything and will on this but I don’t think that the people of MI, OH and elsewhere will ever be fooled.

    His BS is that private lenders could have helped them out once they claimed bankruptcy which is a flat out lie. How can he claim to be a smart businessman when he is claiming not to know what every businessperson and even regular Americans knew at the time, that no one was lending or investing, there was no credit available at that time nor liquid investment cash. The auto industry and up to 3 million related jobs and many small businesses would have gone belly up.

    I think Obama should confront him on this to prove what an ignorant and dishonest “businessman” Romney is.

    I’ve mentioned this before but I think there needs to be quite a different definition of “success” in the minds of Americans. Being born into wealth and making more money at the expense of a nation does not fit my definition of “success”.

    Was Martin Luther King a failure as a human being because he wasn’t a wealthy hedge fund manager destroying the jobs of thousands?

    How about Gandhi and Lincoln? Were they failures while Donald Trump and Mitt Romney are “successful”?

    We’re brainwashed to think money means success but that’s BS. SOme of the most horrendous people in history could be described as “successful” using the same narrow thinking.

    IMO, a “successful” person is one who makes a difference, achieving things that they believe in AND whose life and work are positive and constructive, benefiting the lives of other people.

    Romney is a self-centered, greedy weasel who inherited his wealth due to his father’s accomplishments. Give Romney a father who was in a situation similar to President Obama’s and Romney is not a “successful” millionaire.

    The children of the wealthy and powerful are rarely “successful”, they are gifted the best educations and training and given skeleton keys to the doors of the most powerful and wealthy to “become successful”.

    What did Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian have to do to “become successful”? What great and remarkable skills do they or Romney possess? The ability to spend money and have connections through their parents to everything they want for themselves?

    This is not to say that all those who are born into wealth can’t be successful in this definition but I think there is little evidence that most are.

    Give anyone the best education money can buy, high level contacts in the business and political world and many millions of dollars…how can they not make a lot of money in their lives? How many of such people are homeless or living in a bachelor apartment.

    Mitt Romney has a trust set up for his five sons in the amount of $100 million…and that’s the amount just as of today. If you had $20 million and a top notch financial adviser and all the insider trading buddies you could ask for, how hard would it be for you to be successful?

    I know it’s a steep climb to convince most Americans that wealth has nothing to do with being a success. Someone who only possesses wealth but doesn’t achieve any profound accomplishments for the majority of people they impact should be seen as a failure. Unfortunately, many instead look at the wealthy like royalty.

    I do too at times but I see them mainly as Marie Antoinette who needs a bit of a trim or at least a little off the top.

    • AdLib, America is a very materialistic nation. We have pretty much always been. It’s interesting to ponder the meanings of two closely related words which are, success and happiness. For far too many Americans, happiness is contingent on wealth. The wealthy are considered “successful,” no matter how they accumulated their wealth. There are few examples in America, of people who started with nearly nothing and became multi-millionaires through dedication and hard work. At least, for the last 70 or 80 years.

      Almost everybody wants to be a millionaire these days. Obtaining wealth is now similar to gaining entrance into heaven. It’s almost a religion with some people. Far too many equate happiness with wealth. They think, if only I were wealthy, I would finally be happy in this world. People like Romney and others realize this, I think. And the middle class and working poor in the GOP’s base believe that someone like Romney will enable them to be members in the “big club.” The big club of millionaires and multi-millionaires. They actually believe this. This is why I think so many of them have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by those rich republicans in power. These people blame the misery and unhappiness in life on a lack of wealth. They don’t understand happiness and only think money is wealth. There are many forms of “wealth,” that don’t include money.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Kilgore Trout wealth generates more wealth….that is clear…especially when the tax structure is used to support tax-free wealth accumulation. This is a hidden generator of wealth because it focuses on wealth from wealth rather than from making or doing things.

        money may not buy happiness, but the lack of it goes a long way in making most of us unhappy. I know there are exceptions but a lack of sufficient means creates so many burdens that people break under them.

        of course we are not speaking of sufficient means here but of over-the-top riches and that certainly does not buy happiness.

        so does money equal success? no, but money is one of the ways we recognize success.

        thus, a big part of the GOP message attraction is that they say their formula builds wealth among those who work for it….work hard….get wealthy…UNLESS…”THEY” rob you of your hard earned dollars….thus THEY rob you of your success.

        The GOP has a specific group of people labeled “THEY” and most of them are those who have the least in our society or who want a more just and equitable system. My list is different and looks at those who have accumulated so much wealth that it cannot be used except to build more wealth and the power that comes with it. Their success at the cost of our failure.

        • Murph, while I agree with what you say, I guess my question is how much money is required for a person to be “happy?” How much is considered “enough?” In America, I think there are fewer and fewer people that are content with living a modest, comfortable life. A life where their needs are met, with enough left over for retirement.
          The thing about great wealth is, as you say,that such wealth has to be protected. And the only way to protect it is through gaining a sufficient amount of power. It seems like a vicious circle to me. In order to keep wealth one needs power and one needs wealth to maintain their power.
          I’m a bit of a stoic, and am content with living on a very small income. But I don’t have to worry like those people who are raising a family. I don’t have the usual expenses that a family has to be responsible for.
          I do think there is such a thing as “excess wealth.” Many people do not. It seems, to them, that enough is not good enough, they always want more.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      You know I agree with everything you have written here.

      My worry remains the uninformed, the misinformed, and the malinformed.

      The info vacuum makes plenty of room for propaganda, a shake of the etch a sketch, a big money/big push tv/radio/print blitz.

      Success as a norm is so shaped by our glitzy celebrity culture- you look, dress, vacation, drive, fly as if you are a success…then you are a success. Not so. The examples you cite are people whose contributions to society are deep and often philosophical.

      How does this appeal to the everyday guy/gal on the street. Those folks were moved by the Obama charisma in 2008, but more often than not really had little idea what he stood for. Now, the charisma is no longer sufficient…will the truth win the day?

      In 2010 the electorate acted liked a 5 year old….they were unhappy and change had not happened fast and easy….what has changed since then.

      That is my worry.

      Their definition of success has not moved one little bit.

      • I agree wholeheartedly Murph. It’s not so much that individuals have to “change the world,” as it is a matter of contentment with one’s own life. Not everybody is capable of being a Ghandi, or a Martin Luther King. I think these two men had something quite special within them.
        You are dead on about the wealthy, celebrity culture here and how it serves as some sort of example for “success and happiness.” The huge amounts of money squandered by people on such ridiculous things such a “bling.” The hugely expensive cars, clothes, jewelry, mode of transportation….etc. Our youth look up to that and are inspired by the senseless accumulation of these things. I see it as a sort of spiritual death, and/or never having learned the meaning of spirituality in the first place.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Bling, in its many forms, as a source of spiritual death….rings true to me. Placing all of ones hopes in what one can buy limits the possibilities in unimaginable ways. So many of the mega-wealthy are invested in themselves first and foremost without any consideration of the other….dead end for the human condition.

  7. SueInCa says:

    Oh and Murph I got quite a few tweets for you on the story at twitter. You can buy me a cup of joe later :-)

  8. SueInCa says:


    I would suggest you read the book, The Buyout of America by Josh Kosman. For a financial book it is a real easy read and tells many stories of these LBO companies. A Lot of loans are coming due in 2012-2014 and he predicts, as a result of exactly what Romney did, some major bankruptcies or perhaps another mini bailout. The story of Mervyns is a perfect example of how LBO’s are greedy assholes.


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