Posted by: mutantpoodle | January 9, 2012

Mitt Romney and Creative Destruction

Jon Stewart is right, GOP – it’s gonna be Mitt Romney. And while it looks like he’ll get hammered by Newt’s SuperPac over his work at Bain capital, there’s really no one who can step up and stop him.

So that’s going to happen.

But Mitt is a really unsympathetic candidate who has benefited by facing the following faux frontrunners: a reality TV show host, a somewhat unhinged Minnesota congresswoman, a Texas governor who makes a certain previous Texas governor look like a MENSA member, a skirt-chasing pizza mogul, a grandiose, corrupt, and perhaps more unlikeable than Mitt former Speaker of the House, and a man with a serious google problem (warning – ewww).

Mitt Romney is a lucky man.

He’s clearly a smart man, but also incredibly risk-averse. The man turned down a promotion until he not only had a guarantee that he could have his old job back if he failed, but a cover story to make sure he didn’t look bad.

And he is, in this election, the face of vulture capitalism.

But I want to focus on this section of a somewhat unflattering Vanity Fair profile of Romney:

Romney described himself as driven by a core economic credo, that capitalism is a form of “creative destruction.” This theory, espoused in the 1940s by the economist Joseph Schumpeter and later touted by former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan, holds that business must exist in a state of ceaseless revolution. A thriving economy changes from within, Schumpeter wrote in his landmark book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy,“incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.” But as even the theory’s proponents acknowledged, such destruction could bankrupt companies, upending lives and communities, and raise questions about society’s role in softening some of the harsher consequences.

On one hand, Romney is right.  A stagnant, failing business will cause pain to its employees and community whether or not Bain capital gets involved.  But what Romney will need at some point to justify, assuming someone asks him the question, is why it’s fair that he and Bain Capital made hundreds of millions of dollars on investments that failed and threw thousands of employees out of work.  As Mike Huckabee said in 2008, Romney reminds people of “they guy who laid you off.”

Not a good year to be that guy.

Romney’s real problem is that he is the poster boy for the divide between those who suffer for failure (the 99%) and those who profit by it.  I know it’s supposed to be really mean to say rude things about Wall Street, but the U.S. Financial sector would have completely crashed the world economy absent a massive bailout from American taxpayers and the Fed, and now they have bounced back, while those who ponied up to bail them out are still suffering, in part because that same sector is barely lending money.

It doesn’t help, by the way, when you blurt out that you “like being able to fire people.”

Even if nothing else happened over the next ten months, that’s a real problem for Mitt. God help him if the recovery takes off.

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