I know I am going to hear it from my friends and family for this one (I can hear LD now…), but I find the criticism of Mitt Romney for his work at Bain Capital to be misdirected (at best). Everyone, from the DNC to his fellow Republican candidates, has been hammering him for his jobs record at Bain. To be fair to Romney’s critics, Romney himself opened the door by claiming, without much evidence, that he created over 100,000 jobs while at Bain. Now his critics have begun to shine a light on his record, revealing that Romney in fact cut a large number of well-paying jobs. Romney didn’t help himself yesterday when he said, “I like being able to fire people.”
The most honest voice in this debate seems to be Marc Walpow, a former managing partner at Bain who said, “I never thought of what I do for a living as job creation. The primary goal of private equity is to create wealth for your investors.” Marc is absolutely right. Creating jobs is not what Romney was there to do – he was there to build a financially successful firm, which means giving investors the best financial return.
Romney’s critics have a number of better arguments to use against him. He has spent much of the last 20 years running (unsuccessfully) for office, has held multiple positions on multiple sides of multiple issues, and has a very hard time inspiring people – a critical skill for the leader of the free world. But like him or not, if you are going to judge Mitt Romney, you have to use the right metric. In private equity, that’s not job creation.
I fear this is a minority viewpoint, so I look forward to hearing your views. Do you agree or am I taking crazy pills?
Also, in case you missed this, make sure you read two important pieces that came out this week on the rise of Independents. Yesterday, Gallup released a new poll showing that a record high of 40% of all Americans (!) identify as an Independent. Just today, Third Way, the well-respected center-left think tank, published a report showing that, because New Hampshire has open primaries, 40% of those who vote today will be politically independent. New Hampshire has gained almost 3,500 independents in the last four months of 2011, a period that also saw a decline in membership of both parties. Third Way has found a similar pattern in battleground states across the country.