Mitt Romney and his associates at Bain Capital were masters of using every available resource to wrest value from failing companies. One of their most useful tools was the unemployment office; without the safety net, Bain Capital would have been reviled for the way closed it up businesses, offshored jobs and shuttered plants.
Government services are greatly appreciated by the Romney camp when they’re the ones using them for cover, but the folks now paying the brunt of the Romney campaign expenses have a different view, because when its taxes and reduction of government oversight that are job one, the social services are the first to go.
The punditry are now starting to acknowledge that the Obama scorched earth campaign against Romney’s Bain Capital history is having an effect. Romney has been forced to respond directly to the attacks, and the liberal ‘zine Mother Jones has just hit pay dirt. Financial records filed by Bain signed by Romney indicate he may not have been honest about when he left Bain, which raises new questions about his respect for government oversight. It’s looking like either he lied to the SEC or he is lying to his followers.
One big argument for a freewheeling laissez-faire economy is that the government can sit in the background and sweeten the sour parts, giving money to the newly-unemployed, protecting account-holders from failed banks, and forcing corporations to tell their stockholders the truth through mandated public filings.
We can expect that big business is going to resist these efforts, and I don’t blame Romney as a businessman, for firing people and playing fast and loose with reporting requirements. The campaign has already tried to finesse his newly discovered role at Bain as being merely a “signatory.”
But we don’t want the great deconstructors to be in charge of the safety net. We don’t want what happened at Bain to happen in government, because that’s the last line of defense against the kind of abuses that put these safety nets in place in the days of the robber barons.
That is why the attacks on Romney are not only good political posturing, they’re good information. A consortium of very rich and ethically challenged businessmen want to sell us the idea that the fox is the best candidate to watch the henhouse. Seeing the fox in action, is the best way we can demonstrate that is a colossally bad idea.