Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Newt and Romney and Layoffs

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has ruffled feathers with the following challenge to Mitt Romney:
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, then I would be glad to listen to him.”
I get the point.  We conservatives believe in the market economy and one of the vital functions of the market economy is performed by companies like Bain Capital: reorganizing bankrupt companies, laying off employees, and recapitalizing them for further growth, if possible.

So what is Newt playing at, doing the Democrats work for them?  It is, after all, President Obama who told us, in his role as Osawatomie Bam:
Because there were people who thought massive inequality and exploitation of people was just the price you pay for progress.
But that is the point.  Right now I expect that the president and his handlers are rubbing their hands about Mitt Romney and Bain Capital.  Democrats have been whaling on Romney for years now about all the companies he bankrupted, and all the jobs he sent overseas.  It's time that Mitt Romney came up with a retort.

And that retort better be more than a lame defense.  It has to go on the attack.  It has to say that companies get into trouble.  When they do there are no good options.  You have to suck it in and do the best you can with what you have.  Back in the railroad era, it was J.P. Morgan who wound up with the nasty job of reorganizing bankrupt railroads.  It was a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

We know what President Obama believes in.  He believes in taxpayers' money for his union cronies and his crony capitalist contributors. As for coal companies, he's quite happy for them to go out of business and all the jobs with them.  As for oil pipelines, from small to XL, who needs 'em?

We all understand that humans are risk averse.  We hate to admit it when we are wrong, and we hate to be the bearer of bad news, and we put off unpleasant decisions when the companies we lead are going south.  That usually means that the reorganization falls to an expert in reorganization, like Mitt Romney and Bain Capital. We often resent people that are tough enough to do the tough work.

So where is Mitt Romney's home run on the Bain Capital issue?

And of course there is the bigger issue about "inequality" and "exploitation."  Of course inequality and exploitation are problems.   The question is, can government make them better?  The record, I would say, is clear.  Government hasn't a clue what to do about inequality and exploitation except take money from people it doesn't like and give it to people it does like.

Take the auto bailouts.  That was taking money from ordinary Americans and giving it to the best-paid workers in America.  Talk about inequality!  And when the government took money from the taxpayers and gave it to solar-panel loser Solyndra it was exploiting all the companies that sell products to market without subsidies.  Talk about exploitation!

The whole point about capitalism is that its needs a proper legal basis, one that rewards faithful service and clearly defines the rights of debtors and creditors and punishes fraud.  But when you start talking about inequality and exploitation you are getting into pretty deep water.  You are saying that the system that took us from $3 per day to $100 per day needs to be bashed around by force.  For government is force and politics is talking about force.

How in the world are you going to improve a system of peaceful cooperation with force?

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