–Marc B. Wolpow, former managing partner at Bain Capital, the firm where Mitt Romney was CEO, who worked closely with Romney for nine yearsLos Angeles Times, 12/3/11
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.
For nearly 20 years, Mitt Romney specialized in corporate buyouts.
It’s an experience he cites as a key credential for running for president. And while it’s true that Romney’s business philosophy often led to profit for him and his partners, far too often it came at great cost to American workers and their communities.
At first, Romney focused primarily on venture-capital deals, investing in start-ups or companies that were looking to expand. But by the early ’90s, Romney and his partners began looking for bigger payouts with less risk, believing there was more money to be made buying and selling existing businesses than growing new ones.
Using what’s called a “leveraged buyout,” Romney and his investors would take control of a successful business, paying only a fraction of the total price. The rest would be paid for by loading the company up with debt, using the firm they were buying as collateral—so ultimately the company, not Romney, would be responsible for paying back the debt.
That left Romney and his partners free to extract as much profit from the companies as possible.
In the face of mounting debt, the company would then be forced to cut costs—often by reducing wages and benefits, closing factories and stores, and laying off workers. Sometimes, this debt was enough to drive the company into bankruptcy.
Mitt Romney wasn’t trying to build companies for the long term. His plan was to maximize short-term profits, and then resell all or part of the business before the debts came due.
The goal was never to create jobs—the goal was to create wealth for investors, as even his former partner admitted.
All investments involve risk, but under Mitt Romney’s leadership he and his partners carefully structured deals so that even when the companies in question went bankrupt, Romney and his investors maximized their potential gain. Using this model, they made millions, even while driving some businesses into bankruptcy and leaving workers without jobs, health care, and pensions.
Mitt Romney and his partners played by their own set of rules, and practiced a model that was profitable for a handful of corporate investors, but sometimes devastating for local communities.
This is the experience that Mitt Romney now cites as his qualification to be president, and the economic philosophy he would bring to the entire country.
But the real strength of our economy is a growing, thriving middle class, where everyone plays by the same rules and everyone gets a fair shot.
–MIT Sloan School of Management Senior Lecturer Howard Anderson on Romney and his tactics Boston Globe, 1/14/12
These guys have figured out a way to make money even if the company loses money. … ‘It’s heads we win, tails we win.’