Privatizing our nation’s voting systems could ONLY turn out with this kind of a result — and naturally the wealthiest candidate to ever seek the presidency, the King of Bain, is the first Republican candidate involved.
Romney family buys voting machines through Bain Capital investment: “Tagg Romney, the son of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has purchased electronic voting machines that will be used in the 2012 elections in Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington and Colorado. ”Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney / Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a “strategic investment” to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic,” according to independent journalist Brad Friedman.”
Truthout: “Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States. In other words, a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and his brother, wife and son, have a straight-line financial interest in the voting machines that could decide this fall’s election. These machines cannot be monitored by the public. But they will help decide who “owns” the White House.”
The Nation: “The Medicaid reimbursements for the dental management companies offer a revealing look at the underlying business model being pursued by the Romney-supporting private equity firms: big government, when harnessed to industry-friendly regulators, can mean big profits. Many of these private equity–owned companies rely on federal and state contracts, from HIG Capital’s Hart Intercivic, a voting machine company, to EnviroFoam Technologies, a biological and chemical decontamination firm that does business with the US military and is owned by Peterson Partners, a private equity firm listed in the Solamere prospectus. It’s already clear how the Solamere nexus of influence would work to advance such companies under a Romney administration.”
Brad Friedman: “Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a “strategic investment” to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic. [...] Hart’s announcement of the deal describes H.I.G.’s role as as “co-investors”, though the financial services firm which brokered the deal described it in their own announcement as a full-fledged acquisition: “Hart Intercivic was acquired by HIG Capital late last week. The deal caps off a 2+ year relationship with Hart! Congrats to both Hart and the HIG team…its going to be a great partnership!” [...] Despite the Rightwing reports, [George] Soros has no apparent control of the Scytl outfit, but it doesn’t matter. Other private corporate entities — unaccountable to the public — do. Either way, whether it’s Soros or entities tied to Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, Hugo Chavez or anybody else, the fact that we have allowed this complete corporatization of the machinery of our public elections, the very lifeblood of our democracy — the first and most important element of true self-governance — is, in and of itself, a continuing shame for what was once regarded as “the world’s greatest democracy.”"
NY Times: “Two years later, despite a challenging fund-raising climate for private equity, Solamere, named after a wealthy enclave in Utah’s Deer Valley where the Romneys have a winter home, finished raising its first fund. The firm blew past its $200 million goal, securing $244 million from 64 investors, including a critical, early $10 million from Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, and hefty commitments from wealthy supporters of the campaign.“
Crooks and Liars: “According to this form and this form filed with the SEC, Solamere Group owns a large stake in Solamere Advisors (referred to in the documents as “CAMG Solamere.”) So it is impossible to argue that Solamere Capital—the Romney family’s investment company—does not have direct financial ties with Solamere Advisors, the firm filled with executives who sold CDs as part of the Stanford fraud. The Stanford scandal is second only to the case of Bernie Madoff. The disclosures are made on part of the SEC website enhanced by the new Dodd-Frank law, the Wall Street reform Romney says he wants to repeal.”
Vote counting company Hart Intercivic, whose machines have famously failed in the past, is tied to Mitt Romney and Bain Capital — from The David Parkman Show:
[According] to VerifiedVoting.org’s database, in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington, Hart InterCivic voting and tabulation systems are now used.
You’d think the mainstream media would be making more of this alarming news — this potential scandal, wouldn’t you? Acorn, please!
This from Tom Gaulrapp, an employee of Sensata for 33-years:
“I hold Mitt Romney responsible because he created Bain Capital. He helped pioneer the outsourcing of good American jobs to China, and he created the model that the company has followed over the years. It’s a business model that puts profits above people — at all cost to us back home. And it’s the approach he would take as CEO of our country. But Mitt Romney’s connection to Sensata is even more direct. He is also personally invested in Sensata Technologies, according to his 2010 and 2011 tax returns, and last year got a huge tax break by moving some of his Sensata stock to one of his foundations. That’s right: Mitt Romney got a big tax break on his investment in his company that’s shipping my job to China. My pain is Mitt Romney’s gain.
[...] Mitt Romney hasn’t lifted a finger to help us. Instead, his campaign blamed the outsourcing of our jobs to China on President Obama, because his pension with the Illinois State government has invested in Sensata. The Romney campaign didn’t mention Mitt’s personal investment in Sensata, the big tax break he got from shifting his Sensata stock to his foundation, or his own role in Bain’s longtime practice of outsourcing. Instead of owning up to his past and helping save our jobs, he decided to play politics with our lives. In Romney’s world, everyone else is guilty and he’s the innocent bystander. Fortunately, our story is beginning to be heard. Last week, I was quoted in an article that was on the front page of the New York Times about Romney, Bain and China. Our country should know that the issues being debated in this presidential election are not abstract, and are playing out everyday in my community. In 20 days, on November 5th, I’ll be out of a job.”
A vote for Romney is a vote of approval for every American job that’s been off-shored to China for the past 30 years.
Just so we’re all clear on exactly what Mitt Romney means when he talks about “small business.”
“Our party has been focused on big business too long. I came through small business. I understand how hard it is to start a small business.” — Mitt Romney, last night’s presidential debate.
Sensata Technologies is a healthy manufacturing company that employs nearly 200 workers at a factory in northern Illinois. The company has become the focus of national attention because it has been taken over by Bain Capital, which plans to shut the factory down, lay off the workers, and outsource the production to China before the end of the year.
The workers have pleaded with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the founder of Bain Capital, to exert his considerable influence to save their jobs. Romney still makes millions each year in income from Bain. So far, he has declined to weigh in, and the factory is scheduled to close by the end of the year.
While the workers and the town may suffer, Romney himself has done well as a result of Bain’s work with the company. …
(Photo credit: Ilya Sheyman)
Both campaigns responded to yesterday’s article by David Corn, regarding the 1985 video of Mitt Romney saying that the goal of Bain Capital was to buy stakes in undervalued companies and then “harvest them at a significant profit” years later:
The Obama campaign, via Randy Johnson, a former worker at Ampad: “Today’s video confirms what I and other workers fired by Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital already know: that Romney’s business experience was never about creating jobs. Romney’s own words prove that his focus was putting profits before people from the very beginning, ‘harvesting’ companies to make a ‘significant profit’ for himself and his investors – even if it meant investing in companies that shipped American jobs to China. Any other explanation Romney puts forth about this ‘private sector’ experience or understanding of the ‘real economy’ are just empty words from a man desperately trying to rewrite the past in order to win an election.”
The Romney campaign, via campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg: ”In addition to starting new businesses, Mitt Romney helped build Bain Capital by turning around broken companies, creating and saving thousands of jobs. The problem today is that President Obama hasn’t been able to turn around our economy in the same way.”
As David Corn noted yesterday, “Romney mentioned that it would routinely take up to eight years to turn around a firm—though he now slams the president for failing to revive the entire US economy in half that time.”
David Corn has a new video, this time of Mitt Romney in 1985:
Campaigning for the presidency, Mitt Romney has pointed to his stint as the founder and manager of Bain Capital, a private equity firm, as proof he can rev up the US economy and create jobs at a faster clip than President Barack Obama… But at Bain, Romney’s top priority wasn’t to boost employment.
[...] Mother Jones has obtained a video from 1985 in which Romney, describing Bain’s formation, showed how he viewed the firm’s mission. He explained that its goal was to identify potential and hidden value in companies, buy significant stakes in these businesses, and then “harvest them at a significant profit” within five to eight years.
[...] The video did not note where Romney made these remarks about the origins of Bain Capital. But this short clip offers a glimpse of Romney when he was at the start of his private equity career and saw businesses as targets of opportunity that could be harvested for the benefit of his investors, not as long-term job creators or participants in a larger community. His remarks were hardly surprising, but they did encapsulate the mindset of get-in/get-out private equity deal makers.
YouTube description: The video was included in a CD-ROM created in 1998 to mark the 25th anniversary of Bain & Company, the consulting firm that gave birth to Bain Capital. Here is the full clip, as it appeared on that CD-ROM (the editing occurred within the original).
David Corn notes:
“In this clip, Romney mentioned that it would routinely take up to eight years to turn around a firm—though he now slams the president for failing to revive the entire US economy in half that time.”
Let’s be clear: Mitt Romney was never concerned with building anything or creating jobs — he juggled and destroyed and “harvested” other people’s businesses and employees, strictly for profit. There is no “business record” for him to run on that would translate into applicable experience for the Oval Office. Gordon Gekko would make a horrible POTUS.
“[Romney's] been talking tough on China. He says he’s going to take the fight to them; he’s going to go after these cheaters. When you hear this newfound outrage, when you see these ads he’s running promising to get tough on China, it feels a lot like that fox saying, ‘You know, we need more secure chicken coops.’ I mean, it’s just not credible.” — President Obama in Ohio on Wednesday
From David Corn in July: EXCLUSIVE: Romney Invested Millions in Chinese Firm That Profited on US Outsourcing:
Yet there is another aspect to the Romney-as-outsourcer controversy. According to government documents reviewed by Mother Jones, Romney, when he was in charge of Bain, invested heavily in a Chinese manufacturing company that depended on US outsourcing for its profits—and that explicitly stated that such outsourcing was crucial to its success.
This previously unreported deal runs counter to Romney’s tough talk on the campaign trail regarding China. “We will not let China continue to steal jobs from the United States of America,” Romney declared in February. But with this investment, Romney sought to make money off a foreign company that banked on American firms outsourcing manufacturing overseas.
[...] At the time Romney was acquiring shares in Global-Tech, the firm publicly acknowledged that its strategy was to profit from prominent US companies outsourcing production abroad. On September 4, 1998, Global-Tech issued a press release announcing it was postponing completion of a $30 million expansion of its Dongguan facility because Sunbeam, a prominent American consumer products company and a major client of Global-Tech, was cutting back on outsourcing as part of an overall consolidation. But John C.K. Sham, Global-Tech’s president and CEO, said, “Although it appears that customers such as Sunbeam are not outsourcing their manufacturing as quickly as we had anticipated, we still believe that the long-term trend toward outsourcing will continue.”
From The Washington Post: Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas
But a Washington Post examination of securities filings shows the extent of Bain’s investment in firms that specialized in helping other companies move or expand operations overseas. While Bain was not the largest player in the outsourcing field, the private equity firm was involved early on, at a time when the departure of jobs from the United States was beginning to accelerate and new companies were emerging as handmaidens to this outflow of employment.
Bain played several roles in helping these outsourcing companies, such as investing venture capital so they could grow and providing management and strategic business advice as they navigated this rapidly developing field. [...] In addition to taking an interest in companies that specialized in outsourcing services, Bain also invested in firms that moved or expanded their own operations outside of the United States.
[...] Just as Romney was ending his tenure at Bain, it reached the culmination of negotiations with Hyundai Electronics Industry of South Korea for the $550 million purchase of its U.S. subsidiary, Chippac, which manufactured, tested and packaged computer chips in Asia. …An overwhelming majority of Chippac’s customers were U.S. firms, including Intel, IBM and Lucent Technologies.
A filing with the SEC revealed the promise that Chippac offered investors. “Historically, semiconductor companies primarily manufactured semiconductors in their own facilities,” the filing said. “Today, most major semiconductor manufacturers use independent packaging and test service providers for at least a portion of their . . . needs. We expect this outsourcing trend to continue.”
AND THERE’S THIS: More hidden camera video – Romney talks about Chinese sweatshop he bought; claims barbed wire fence and guard towers were to keep hopeful workers out
Also does anyone doubt that if given half a chance, the kinds of working conditions Willard describes in that video are what he and his corporate buddies would like to offer American workers? Fences around factories! 12 people per dorm room! Earning a pittance for long hours! JOBS FOR EVERYONE! Marvelous!
“Well, they weren’t jobs, they were ‘job-ettes,’ right? No health care, no benefits, low pay. You can go to a waitress anywhere from Texarkana all the way to El Paso and say to a waitress, ‘Did you know Rick Perry’s created 1 million jobs? And she’d say, ‘Yeah, I’ve got three of them.”
— Former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower on Texas Governor Rick Perry’s ‘1 million jobs’ claim. (Source: kileyrae)
Mitt Romney in his RNC speech: “You deserved it because you worked harder than ever before during these years. You deserved it because, when it cost more to fill up your car, you cut out moving lights, and put in longer hours. Or when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour, benefits, you took two jobs at $9 an hour…”
Matt Taibbi: Are you kidding? Mitt Romney was the guy that fired you from that $22.50 an hour job, and helped you replace it with two $9 an hour jobs!
He was a pioneer in the area of eliminating the well-paying job with benefits and replacing it with the McJob that offered no benefits at all. One of the things that killed him in the Senate race against Ted Kennedy were Kennedy ads that reminded voters that Mitt’s takeovers resulted in slashed wages and lost benefits. He was exactly the guy that eliminated that classic $22.50 manufacturing job, like in the case of GST Steel, where Bain took over with an initial investment of $8 million, paid itself a $36 million dividend, ended up walking away with $50 million, and left GST saddled with over $500 million in debt. 750 of those well-paying jobs were lost.
What kinds of jobs were left for those fired workers to look for? Well, in the best-case scenario, you might have found one at Ampad, another Bain takeover target, where workers had their pay slashed from $10.22 to $7.88 an hour, tripled co-pays, and eliminated the retirement plan.
So a guy who eliminated hundreds of $22 an hour jobs and slashed hundreds more jobs to below $9 an hour blasts Barack Obama for not giving you the better life you deserved, after you lost your $22/hour job and had to take two $9/hour jobs. Are we all high or something? Did that really just happen?
Romney and his campaign have launched a new site touting Mitt’s private-sector experience: SterlingBusinessCareer.com. Under a section called “Fixing Businesses,” the campaign lays out the legend of Romney’s 1990 return to the consulting firm Bain & Company, describing his turnaround effort there as an “incredible success” that returned the firm to profitability “in just a year.” That is a lie. [...] Bain & Company was only rescued from the brink of collapse by the federal government. In 1993, the FDIC agreed to wipe away more than $10 million it was owed by Romney’s firm because it believed that “the company will fail if the debt is not modified.”
Why did the FDIC believe that? Because,
Bain had inserted a poison pill in its loan agreement with the banks: Instead of being required to use its cash to pay back the firm’s creditors, the money could be pocketed by Bain executives in the form of fat bonuses – starting with VPs making $200,000 and up. [...] What’s more, the bonus loophole gave Romney a perverse form of leverage: If the banks and the FDIC didn’t give in to his demands and forgive much of Bain’s debts, Romney would raid the firm’s coffers, pushing it into the very bankruptcy that the loan agreement had been intended to avert. The losers in this game would not only be Bain’s creditors – including the federal government – but the firm’s nearly 1,000 employees worldwide.
According to records, Bain’s management did take its cash reserves and distributed executive bonuses when the banks / FDIC wouldn’t forgive its debt at steep discounts. However, the amounts each executive received were redacted by Bain’s attorneys, and the Romney campaign refused to comment on whether Willard took a bonus himself. But get this:
The FDIC agreed to accept nearly $5 million in cash to retire $15 million in Bain’s debt – an immediate government bailout of $10 million. All told, the FDIC estimated it would recoup just $14 million of the $30 million that Romney’s firm owed the government. It was a raw deal – but Romney’s threat to loot his own firm had left the government with no other choice. If the FDIC had pushed Bain into bankruptcy, the records reveal, the agency would have recouped just $3.56 million from the firm.
[...] The debt forgiven by the government was booked as a loss to the FDIC – and then recouped through higher insurance premiums from banks. And banks, of course, are notorious for finding ways to pass their costs along to customers, usually in the form of higher fees. Thanks to the nature of the market, in other words, the bailout negotiated by Romney ultimately wound up being paid by the American people.
Even as consumers took a loss, however, a small group of investors wound up getting a good deal in the bailout. Bain Capital – the very firm that had triggered the crisis in the first place – walked away with $4 million. That was the fee it charged Bain & Company for loaning the consulting firm the services of its chief executive – one Willard Mitt Romney.
That is an incredible “success” story, isn’t it? It certainly describes a person who should be rewarded not only with the most important job in the free world, but also with the perfect position to approve another nice tax break for himself once he gets that job, right?
And it would only make sense if Bain Capital received nice, hefty consulting fee for loaning Mitt Romney’s services to America — with Mitt receiving a generous cut of that fee in his pre-negotiated retroactive retirement fund, naturally. Because if you’re voting for Mitt Romney, you might as well admit you wouldn’t be surprised by those terms — and you might as well admit his “business experience” would be a sad joke on the country if he were elected POTUS.
[Thanks to reader Johnny Roach]
If by “helped” and “liberated” you mean raped and pillaged.
Matt Taibbi presents a simple, easy to understand explanation of how Mitt Romney, through Bain Capital, became a “takeover artist” of the Gordon Gekko generation:
“Here’s how Romney would go about “liberating” a company: A private equity firm like Bain typically seeks out floundering businesses with good cash flows. It then puts down a relatively small amount of its own money and runs to a big bank like Goldman Sachs or Citigroup for the rest of the financing. (Most leveraged buyouts are financed with 60 to 90 percent borrowed cash.) The takeover firm then uses that borrowed money to buy a controlling stake in the target company, either with or without its consent. When an LBO is done without the consent of the target, it’s called a hostile takeover; such thrilling acts of corporate piracy were made legend in the Eighties, most notably the 1988 attack by notorious corporate raiders Kohlberg Kravis Roberts against RJR Nabisco, a deal memorialized in the bookBarbarians at the Gate.
“Romney and Bain avoided the hostile approach, preferring to secure the cooperation of their takeover targets by buying off a company’s management with lucrative bonuses. Once management is on board, the rest is just math. So if the target company is worth $500 million, Bain might put down $20 million of its own cash, then borrow $350 million from an investment bank to take over a controlling stake.
“But here’s the catch. When Bain borrows all of that money from the bank, it’s the target company that ends up on the hook for all of the debt.
“Now your troubled firm – let’s say you make tricycles in Alabama – has been taken over by a bunch of slick Wall Street dudes who kicked in as little as five percent as a down payment. So in addition to whatever problems you had before, Tricycle Inc. now owes Goldman or Citigroup $350 million. With all that new debt service to pay, the company’s bottom line is suddenly untenable: You almost have to start firing people immediately just to get your costs down to a manageable level.
“”That interest,” says Lynn Turner, former chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission, “just sucks the profit out of the company.”
“Fortunately, the geniuses at Bain who now run the place are there to help tell you whom to fire. And for the service it performs cutting your company’s costs to help you pay off the massive debt that it, Bain, saddled your company with in the first place, Bain naturally charges a management fee, typically millions of dollars a year. So Tricycle Inc. now has two gigantic new burdens it never had before Bain Capital stepped into the picture: tens of millions in annual debt service, and millions more in “management fees.” Since the initial acquisition of Tricycle Inc. was probably greased by promising the company’s upper management lucrative bonuses, all that pain inevitably comes out of just one place: the benefits and payroll of the hourly workforce.
“Once all that debt is added, one of two things can happen. The company can fire workers and slash benefits to pay off all its new obligations to Goldman Sachs and Bain, leaving it ripe to be resold by Bain at a huge profit. Or it can go bankrupt – this happens after about seven percent of all private equity buyouts – leaving behind one or more shuttered factory towns. Either way, Bain wins. By power-sucking cash value from even the most rapidly dying firms, private equity raiders like Bain almost always get their cash out before a target goes belly up.”
After reading this excerpt above, I’d like to hear any Romney supporter explain / answer four questions: 1) how does Romney’s specific ‘business experience’ (crashing private companies to make money) qualify him to become President of the United States? 2) Exactly how did Mitt Romney “work” for the fortune he made — and why is what he did considered a “success” when only a very few benefited? 3) Would you want your employer taken over by Bain Capital? And, in your mind, 4) why does Romney, and others like him, deserve to pay less federal tax on their fortunes than the rest of us pay on our incomes?
And where are Mitt Romney’s tax returns?
World’s wealthiest people now richer than before the credit crunch: We are not all in this together. The UK economy is flat, the US is weak and the Greek debt crisis, according to some commentators, is threatening another Lehman Brothers-style meltdown. But a new report shows the world’s wealthiest people are getting more prosperous – and more numerous – by the day. The globe’s richest have now recouped the losses they suffered after the 2008 banking crisis. They are richer than ever, and there are more of them – nearly 11 million – than before the recession struck. In the world of the well-heeled, the rich are referred to as “high net worth individuals” (HNWIs) and defined as people who have more than $1m (£620,000) of free cash.
The average Fortune 500 CEO now makes 380 times more than the average worker, as CEO pay has grown more than 127 times faster than worker pay over the last 30 years. The growth in executive compensation that has contributed to skyrocketing levels of income inequality isn’t necessarily tied to performance of the top companies, however: while their pay continues to increase, average stock prices have remained flat, and many of the companies with the highest paid CEOs actually saw drops in their share prices over the course of the year. – Think Progress
“The Great Income Shift” – This great income shift means the average middle-income American family had about $9,000 less after-tax income in 2007, and an average household in the top 1 percent had $741,000 more, than they would have had if the 1979 income distribution had remained.
“The top 1 percent now gets almost a quarter of the nation’s total income — a larger share than at any time since the 1920s. The top 1 percent have also received about 40 percent of the benefits of the Bush tax cuts.” – Robert Reich
Welcome to the Plutocracy | Bill Moyers: Since 1980 the economy has also continued to grow handsomely, but only a fraction at the top have benefited. The line flattens for the bottom 90% of Americans. Average income went from that $30,941 in 1980 to $31,244 in 2008. Think about that: the average income of Americans increased just $303 dollars in 28 years. That’s wage repression.
A far-reaching new study suggests a staggering $21tn in assets has been lost to global tax havens. If taxed, that could have been enough to put parts of Africa back on its feet – and even solve the euro crisis… The world’s super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy. — Wealth doesn’t trickle down – it just floods offshore, research reveals
With all of that information above in mind, remember that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan (with a Republican congress), plan to cut taxes for the wealthy and cut spending on programs / services for the poor and working class.