Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
He’s a venture capitalist whose company laid off hundreds of workers from Del Monte Foods in closing down a California plant, fired hundreds more from Birdseye Foods and even more from Solo Cups.
But the work of Obama campaign co-chair Federico Pena, a partner at Vestar Capital, actually saved other workers’ livelihoods, kept the companies in operation and, through those accomplishments, continues to generate tax revenue for the United States.
This all is according to Jon Caldara at the Denver-based Independence Institute, which promotes a debt-free government, flat and transparent tax policy, respect for property rights, choice in education, health care freedom, limited federal intrusion and an end to corporate welfare.
“We believe in capitalism,” he writes in a recent commentary about the work of Pena, a onetime Denver mayor and secretary of energy and transportation under Bill Clinton.
“That means there are winners and losers in the marketplace. But competition makes all players more efficient, which is great for customers. Failing businesses need to radically change how they do things to become competitive again, or they go out of business.”
He said venture capitalists are those who have the courage to make the tough decisions, reorganize companies to prevent bankruptcies and end up providing workers with jobs, investors with income, customers with services or products and the government with taxes.
He said Pena is one such man, and that’s why he wants to honor him with a full-page ad in the Denver Post talking about his accomplishments. Caldar’s group is raising money to try to collect the $23,000 estimated that the ad would cost.
“I believe this is a story worth telling. But the media in Denver, including the paper of record, the Denver Post, won’t touch it. I am asking for your help in celebrating the venture capital success of Pena by helping raise the funds needed for a full-page announcement in the Denver Post. If we can raise $23,000 we will run a full-page ‘thank you’ to the national co-chair of the Obama re-election campaign and help educate the hundreds of thousands of Post readers to the importance of capitalism.”
Caldara explained, “Through his venture capital company, Vestar Venture Capital, this man was part of a team that closed a Del Monte Foods plant in California, sadly displacing hundreds of employees … but today Del Monte is still alive and thriving.”
“His venture capital firm laid off hundreds of workers at Birdseye Foods … but hundreds are still employed because Birdseye did not fail,” he continued. “His venture capital firm closed three domestic factories with the Solo Cup Company costing hundreds of jobs … But Solo Cup is still in business, supplying real jobs.”
Caldara’s commentary didn’t include any references to the current headlines about venture capitalism: the harsh criticism handed to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his years at Bain Capital.
Forbes earlier this year headlined a John McQuaid article, “Romney’s Vulture Capitalist Problem,” and he explained that would be that “the arc of his success through the world of management consulting in the 1980s and 1990s was all about real changes in the economy – changes that made businesses vastly more efficient, and men like Romney rich, but often came at the expense of workers and those hallowed expectations that presidential campaigns are built on.”
Forbes continued, “Romney knows all about the real world, and the real economy.” But it faulted him for a “cognitive dissonance” in explaining his experience to Americans.
Democrats this year have accused Romney of shipping jobs overseas, shutting down an Indiana plant and in one ad that proved highly deceptive, of being linked to the cancer death of a steel worker’s wife.
That ad featured Joe Soptic, who was laid off from a GST Steel plant in Kansas City. He claimed Romney’s closure of the plant was followed by his wife’s sudden cancer death.
“When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my healthcare, and my family lost their healthcare. And a short time after that my wife became ill. I don’t know how long she was sick and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew that we couldn’t afford the insurance, and then one day she became ill and I took her up to the Jackson County Hospital and admitted her for pneumonia and that’s when they found the cancer and by then it was stage four. … There was nothing they could do…”
However, the facts of the issue revealed that the closure of the plant and Soptic’s wife’s death were separated by years, and she had had her own health coverage in the interim.
Asked specifically about Romney and Bain, Caldara told WND only that those who “take great risks to try to create wealth … shouldn’t be vilified.”
That’s why he’s anxious to honor Pena, one of a couple dozen co-chairs for Obama’s campaign. Others include Judy Chu, Bill Daily, Russ Feingold, Caroline Kennedy, Rahm Emanuel, Kamala Harris and Deval Patrick.
“I don’t think most people understand the incredible amount of risk people like Federico Pena, a partner in a large firm, take,” Caldara said.
WND calls to obtain comment from the Obama campaign and to Pena’s office in Denver were unreturned.