Every time you think the media are about to run out of ideas for transforming a nonstory into a spectacular news event, they manage to come up with yet another gem. That said, forgive me for adding my two cents worth to the Bain Capital brouhaha.
Those who know Newt Gingrich best have long predicated he would implode, even after he shot to the top of the polls, which he managed to do by cleverly playing the role of the calm, intellectual, peacemaking elderly statesman who was above the fray. So Gingrich’s angry obsession with taking down MittMan, even if it means destroying his own chances of winning the Republican nomination, is not surprising.
After observing his words and actions – from his climate-changing couch love-fest with Nancy Pelosi to his infamous “right-wing social engineering” comment about Paul Ryan’s budget plan – and then his scorched-earth attacks on free-market capitalism – I’ve come to the conclusion that Newt is not just a nasty, egomaniacal, self-destructive, undisciplined flip-flopper.
I hate to make excuses for him, but I truly believe the man is illegally insane – a classic example of a mad genius. So even though I condemn Nutty Newt for his attacks against the free market, I feel compelled to declare him not guilty by reason of insanity.
That said, I believe Mitt Romney exemplifies everything that’s wrong with politics in this country, so my condemnation of Gingrich for his anti-capitalism remarks is not a defense of MittMan. It’s a defense of capitalism.
Where pundits and conservative politicians are off target in this whole time-wasting affair is that they all seem to agree that Romney should “come clean” and explain his modus operandi while at Bain Capital. Nutty Newt, in a backpedaling mode, now says, “I think he [Romney] owes the country a much more detailed answer about what his career was like.”
That’s a real head scratcher, even coming from Newt. Was Romney ever convicted of a crime – or even indicted? Did he ever lose a lawsuit claiming fraud against him or Bain Capital? If not, what’s to explain?
Gingrich, using the language of the class-warfare crowd, accused Romney of being a “predatory capitalist.” We’re talking serious sticks and stones here. Can you imagine how crummy you’d feel if someone accused you of being – gasp! – a predatory capitalist? Neither can I, because there is no such thing.
The Einstein of the field, Rick Perry, even went so far as to call the Mitt a “vulture capitalist.” If both Gingrich and Perry are right, that makes Romney the worst of all creatures – a predatory vulture capitalist. Bring on the guillotine!
The fact is that Bain Capital, under Romney’s leadership, helped to launch or rebuild hundreds of companies, including such well-known brand names as Staples, The Sports Authority and Domino’s Pizza, which purportedly resulted in more than 100,000 new jobs. But how many jobs Romney created or “destroyed” or how much money he made or lost while he was with Bain Capital misses the point of what capitalism is all about.
Capitalism is a system whereby consenting adults are free to deal with one another on any terms that are mutually agreeable to them, without government interference. You cannot understand capitalism unless you begin with a correct premise. And the premise that even many adherents of capitalism ignore is that the primary – some would argue the sole – purpose of a business is to make as much money as possible for its owner(s).
Of course, it’s true that, in the process of making profits, a business creates jobs, but creating jobs is not – repeat, not – its chief objective. Creating jobs is a byproduct of operating a successful business.
As to charges of “raiding” and “looting” companies, how does a person raid or loot a company he owns? What does raiding or looting a company even mean? If you enter into a free-market transaction to buy controlling interest in a company, you have a right to do whatever you want with that company.
If Bain invested in a company, then decided to sell off its assets and close it down, making a profit in the process, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Businesses are not charities; they are vehicles for making money.
If Romney wants to shed his well-earned image of being a big-government progressive, this is a good time for him to stand up and be bold in defending capitalism. Not by arguing that he was not a “predatory capitalist,” but by explaining that his objective at Bain was to make money by turning around failing companies and helping small companies become larger and more profitable – for Bain!
It’s time to end all the silly talk about raiding, looting and predatory capitalism. And, while we’re at it, it would be nice if we could also stop all the babbling about creating jobs and stimulating the economy. The issue we should be talking about is freedom. Where freedom exists, the economy takes care of itself and jobs automatically follow.
Unemployment is a symptom of a bad economy, and a bad economy is a symptom of a lack of freedom. You cannot have prosperity under a government whose chief goal is to eliminate freedom and equalize income through the use of force.
Unfortunately, instead of focusing on our loss of freedom, presidential debate moderators would rather ask questions like, “What if you had a son who came to you and said he was gay?” We’re $15 trillion in debt and the most important question a moderator can think of is how Rick Santorum would react if he discovered his son was gay?
Our loss of freedom didn’t begin with Barack Obama, but it will surely end with him if he is re-elected – which is precisely what is going to happen if the GOP doesn’t get serious. Wake up, Republicans! Stop the political B.S. and start focusing on the issue of freedom.