At the heart of The Rominee's argument for why he should be our leader is his business experience, so it's nice that there are at least a few reporters giving it a hard look. There's no doubt he was highly successful; but the sort of success he had in the sort of business he ran has nothing to do with running an economy. Nothing illegal about buying up companies, firing their workers, and selling them for profit before they went bankrupt. But in what way does that translate to presidentialism?
A person who worked for Mitt Romney at the consulting firm Bain and Co. in 1977 remembers him with mixed feelings. “Mitt was … a really wonderful boss,” the former employee says. ... But Bain and Co., the person recalls, pushed employees to find out secret revenue and sales data on its clients’ competitors. Romney, the person says, suggested “falsifying” who they were to get such information...“Mitt said to me something like ‘We won’t ask you to lie. I am not going to tell you to do this, but [it is] a really good way to get the information.’ ...
To give but one example, there is a Bermuda-based entity called Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., which has been described in securities filings as “a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.” ... He set it up in 1997, then transferred it to his wife’s newly created blind trust on January 1, 2003... Romney failed to list this entity on several financial disclosures, even though such a closely held entity would not qualify as an “excepted investment fund” that would not need to be on his disclosure forms. ...
... they are in “jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance,” as one Miami-based offshore lawyer put it.... The mantra of his campaign is that he was a businessman who created tens of thousands of jobs, and Bain certainly did bring useful operational skills to many companies it bought. But his critics point to several cases where Bain bought companies, loaded them with debt, and paid itself extravagant fees, thereby bankrupting the companies and destroying tens of thousands of jobs.
Come August, Romney, with an estimated net worth as high as $250 million (he won’t reveal the exact amount), will be one of the richest people ever to be nominated for president. Given his reticence to discuss his wealth, it’s only natural to wonder how he got it, how he invests it, and if he pays all his taxes on it.
...In the face of such arguments, Romney’s defense is that he never broke the rules: if there is a problem, it is in the laws, not in his behavior. “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more,” he said. Even so. “When you are running for president, you might want to err on the side of overpaying your taxes, and not chase every tax gimmick that comes down the pike,” says Sheppard. “It kind of looks tacky.”
The article is long and, frankly, contains a bunch of snooze-worthy references to various tax dodges and shady -- if legal -- stock manipulations. To me, though, the point is this: Mitt Romney used every tax loophole and foreign investment dodge there are to get where he is, financially. On some levels -- the take-'em for all they're worth level, the teabaggR "screw you I got mine" level -- he's a paragon. But on the level of doing what's right for others, of maximizing success for the greatest number of average people, his business experience would suggest he's devoid.
Is it disqualifying? Well, certainly not to Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers; not to Rupert Murdoch or Roger Ailes. But is such a guy likely to address tax inequities for the good of America? In his much-touted business experience has he ever shown concern beyond his personal wealth aggrandizement? Is his really the kind of experience that indicates understanding of the larger economy as it affects the 99%? As he trolls for huge offshore campaign donations from international bankers, is he thinking of the average American? Consumer protection? Fair-minded regulation?
I'm thinking no.