As Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital comes under increasing scrutiny, even Republicans are attacking the presidential frontrunner for generating billions in profit by bankrupting companies and implementing massive layoffs.
Romney founded Bain, a private equity firm, in 1984 and was its first CEO. Since that time, Bain made billions by, as the Los Angeles Times writes, “firing workers, seeking government subsidies, and flipping companies quickly for large profits.” In all, Bain bankrupted nearly one-quarter of the companies it invested in, often causing “substantial job losses,” according to a new Wall Street Journal report.
Sensing the national mood of populist economic outrage, many Republicans are now joining Democrats in lambasting Romney for doing more to fire workers than hire them. Here is a round-up of recent statements from Republicans:
JON HUNTSMAN: “What’s clear is he likes firing people, I like creating jobs.” [1/9/12]
NEWT GINGRICH: “Those of us who believe in free markets and those of us who believe that, in fact, the whole goals of investment is entrepreneurship and job creation, would find it pretty hard to justify rich people figuring out clever, legal ways to loot out a company.” [1/8/12]
RICK PERRY: “Now, I have no doubt Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips — whether he was going to have enough of them to hand out because his company, Bain Capital, of all the jobs that they killed. I’m sure he was worried that he would run out of pink slips.” [1/9/12]
GINGRICH: Bain Capital was a “small group of rich people manipulating the lives of thousands of people, and taking all the money.” [1/9/12]
PRO-GINGRICH SUPER PAC: “A story of greed, playing the system for a quick buck. A group of corporate raiders led by Mitt Romney, more ruthless than Wall Street. For tens of thousands of Americans, the suffering began when Mitt Romney came to town.” [1/9/12]
GINGRICH: “I would just say that if Gov. Romney would like to give back all of the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, that I would be glad to listen to him.” [12/12/11]
Romney has gone to great lengths – from saying that he has worried about being fired in the past to telling voters that he is “unemployed” – to cast himself as anything but an extraordinarily wealthy businessman.
However, with the right and left now coalescing in the message that Romney’s personal wealth came largely on the backs of laid-off workers, the hurdle for his campaign will be increasingly difficult to surmount.