“Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” Romney Attacks GM in Final Days of Election; GM Defends Record From Romney Lies, Calls Them ‘Fantasy’

Before we get into the new morass of mud and muck dredged up by the Romney campaign and slung at the US auto industry, it’s important to establish a few facts. This effort is useful as the Romney campaign, with its almost daily distortions and flip-flops, has been the most fact-free bid for the Presidency of any election cycle in modern memory. Romney’s most recent smear campaign, waged against the US auto industry and, by extension, American workers, is just the newest in a daily stream of distortions, gimmicks, smears, and attempts to terrorize the US electorate.

First, in an op-ed to the New York Times entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” Mitt Romney, in his opening sentence, stated:

IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.

Coming into office and facing the worst economic decline since the Great Depression left behind by the Bush Administration, President Obama decided to act to save over 2 million American jobs by directly supporting the auto industry bailout. Though far less expensive than the TARP program to bail out the US financial sector, the auto bailout provided much more direct support to the US middle class by ensuring that auto industry and supply chain jobs were not lost and that key US industries did not collapse. Conservatives of every stripe immediately howled that such government intervention would result in an US auto industry ‘doomsday.’ And Mitt Romney added his voice to those claiming US automakers would fail if they accepted government assistance during the worst of times.

As the years passed, Mitt Romney and conservatives have been proven drastically wrong. The US auto industry has recovered. GM is again the number 1 seller of automobiles in the world. And the industry is in the process of adding US jobs and repatriating jobs from overseas. This dramatic success belies republican and Romney drama to the contrary. It shows that the leadership role Obama took to save the US auto industry is now beginning to pay off. And, most glaringly, it shows the deep, systemic, failure of the current, rigid republican economic ideology.

Meanwhile, the corporation Romney built — Bain Capital — is now preparing to dismantle a factory that manufactures sensors for the auto industry in Freeport Illinois and ship their jobs overseas. Nearly 200 workers at the Sensata factory which Bain bought-out will find their jobs outsourced to China before the end of this year. This is a result of the outsourcing and off-shoring legacy that Romney pioneered while head of Bain Capital. (See more about Sensata here.)

This dual narrative of Obama’s leadership and success combined with Romney still profiting from liquidating US factories and sending the jobs overseas has had devastating effect for Romney in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan who know all too well how damaging outsourcing and off-shoring have been to their economies. Loss of critical factories like the one at Sensata has resulted in the gutting of entire communities. Whole neighborhoods in Detroit are now ghost towns as a result of the kind of outsourcing Mitt Romney pioneered at Bain Capital. Some of these lost jobs may never come back, captured by 99 cent an hour Chinese workers and a country that is unwilling to establish laws to protect its own people from the abuses of vulture capitalists like Romney. China may as well have foisted a sign emblazoned ‘Robber Barons R’ Us.’ And, Romney, among many others, came flocking to exploit the slave wage labor there by dismantling US factories and sending them overseas.

Perhaps too late, Romney has realized how damaging these methods of employing equities firms and off-shoring practices to accumulate personal profit have become. But the realization appears to have now stuck with a vengeance. And, in typical Romney fashion, Romney is now waging a media campaign against the very business Obama was so successful in saving and that, since late 2009, has directly added thousands of US jobs.

The Romney campaign is now running a malicious and false advertisement claiming that Jeep plans to ship US jobs overseas to China. The ad comes as Jeep revealed plans to build two manufacturing plants in China over the coming years. But, contrary to Romney’s false assertion, Jeep’s China expansion is not coming at the cost of any US manufacturing. Unlike Romney’s Sensata, no Jeep facilities are being shut down. No workers are being forced to train their Chinese replacements, as Romney’s Bain is forcing Sensata workers to do so. In fact, Jeep and GM have pledged to take profits from the Chinese operation and use it to create more jobs in the US. It’s almost the exact reverse of the Romney model. Call it in-sourcing, or re-sourcing, or repatriating, or even re-shoring. But it’s definitely not the Romney/Bain model for outsourcing and off-shoring.

Since late 2009, Jeep alone has added over 4600 US jobs, showing, in fact, that Romney’s claims are patently false.

GM was quick to defend its record from Romney’s false attacks:

“We’ve clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” GM spokesman Greg Martin said. “No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”

Crysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in an email to employees refuted Romney’s claims by simply laying out the facts:

“Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China,” Marchionne stated in the e-mail. “The numbers tell the story,” followed by specific investments Chrysler has made in Detroit, Toledo and Belvidere, Ill. “Those include more than $1.7 billion to produce the successor of the Jeep Liberty and hire about 1,100 workers on a second shift by 2013.”

The additional 1100 jobs are on top of the 4600 jobs Jeep has already added. In contrast, Romney’s Bain will, in the next couple months, send another 200 jobs to China. So the contrast couldn’t be more stark.

And the media is starting to pick up on Romney’s egregious assault of lies against the US auto industry and US workers. The Atlanta Journal Constitution recently called the Romney advertisements attacking the auto industry ‘economic terrorism.’ The Detroit Free Press has published this in-depth piece exposing Romney’s false claims. The conservative-leaning US News and World Report posted an analysis showing how the US auto expansion in China was helping to support jobs expansion at home. And FactCheck.org labeled Romney’s recent advertising blitz “flat wrong” stating:

“It’s misleading to suggest that Chrysler’s decision to expand into China will cost U.S. jobs — especially after the company has said it would have no impact on its U.S. operations.”

The fact-checking website noted a report from Bloomberg that Chrysler was considering “adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.” Meanwhile Chrysler, in a dramatic refutation of Romney’s doomsday prediction for the US auto industry, just reported a third quarter profit of $381 million, up 80 percent from a year ago.

It seems likely that the Romney misinformation machine may have just bitten off more than it can chew. Considering the wide-ranging backlash taking shape from both the US auto industry and the broader media, it appears that Romney’s false attacks against GM and Jeep are about to erupt in his face. The US auto industry is firmly on its path to recovery, with each new report showing positive results. Further, the US auto industry is in the process of adding thousands of jobs here in America. Both of these points prove Romney dramatically wrong. Wrong in his ‘Let Detroit go Bankrupt’ op-ed and wrong now. Finally, these attacks only serve to call attention to Romney’s own record of sending US jobs overseas, the most recent example of which is Sensata.

Links:

http://www.freep.com/article/20121031/NEWS15/310310091/GM-and-Chrysler-Romney-is-wrong

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html?_r=0

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2012/10/31/gm-on-romney-campaign-politics-at-its-cynical-worst/

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/rick-newman/2012/10/31/memo-to-mitt-romney-gms-success-in-china-is-good-for-america

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-34222_162-57542993/gm-like-chrysler-refutes-romneys-auto-industry-ad/

http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/10/gm-aide-romney-ads-part-of-parallel-universe-147753.html

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/10/30/GM-Gap-between-Romney-ad-and-reality/UPI-56761351637557/

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Presidential Debate Round #2: The 47%, 8 Trillion Arithmetic, A Binder Full of Women and an “Act of Terror”

Binders and fact checks and smears oh my!

Last night’s Presidential debate, round #2 of 3, was nothing like the first. A fiery and compassionate Obama took firm command of the forum from the start and, with few exceptions, dominated the debate with clarity and candor. In direct contrast, Mitt Romney seemed lost in a tangle of the misinformation web he’d spun for himself.

47% vs the Outsourcing Pioneer

Obama set the tone by immediately calling Romney out for his 47% remarks, illustrating clearly that character is what you are in the dark or, in this case, what you are in a locked room full of millionaires and billionaires. He also returned frequently to the subject of outsourcing, rightly labeling Romney an ‘outsourcing pioneer’ and alluding to the offshoring activities Romney first innovated at Bain Capital. Activities the company Romney founded is continuing to implement (see Sensata).

Sketchy 8 Trillion Arithmetic

Obama also was quick to hold Romney accountable for the tax policy his campaign website says he’s running to implement. During the debate, Romney frequently denied the assertion that his tax cut would cut rates for top earners. Almost as frequently, he said that he wants to lower rates on the middle class. These debate ‘faux pas’ (nice word for lies) directly contradict information put out by his own campaign which still states Romney seeks an across the board 20% tax cut, including a very large and lucrative cut for top earners and very small and piddly cuts for the middle class.

Obama, rightly, ignored Romney’s false claims and continued to debate based on the facts, rather than attempt to muddle around in the smoke Romney was producing in prodigious quantities all evening long. Obama re-asserted the Arithmetic showing how Romney’s across the board cuts, when combined with a 2 trillion increase in defense spending and a 1 trillion dollar extension of the Bush tax cut f0r the wealthy, would blow another 8 Trillion dollar hole in the deficit on top of the debt already piling up from the lingering remains of Bush’s failed policies. (Failed policies the republican Congress has continued to enforce through its vow to Grover Norquist never to repeal.)

Binder Full of Women

In perhaps the most bizarre exchange of the night, Romney, when asked about how he would help women gain a more equal footing in the workplace, hearkened back to a time when his management team had no women. In his, disproven by facts, anecdote, Romney claimed he produced a ‘binder full of women’ from which to select female candidates for positions in the management staff which, Romney admitted, was largely composed of men. Reaction to this comment from women has been shrill and this particular Romneyism seemed to especially grate against the sensibilities of most women who rightly felt subtly insulted and objectified.

What is interesting to note about this particular Mitt-tale is the fact that the ‘binder’ he refers to was produced by a political organization called Mass-GAP which noted the dearth of women holding leadership positions in Massachusetts. So Romney wasn’t responsible for the recommendations of these women, it was produced by a political organization concerned about the lack of women in leadership. However, to Romney’s credit, he did appoint women from the Mass-GAP list so that fully 42% of the positions held at the start of his administration were women filled. But the story doesn’t end here. Romney apparently only filled positions which he thought were unimportant with people from the Mass-GAP program. In addition, the number of women holding positions within Massachusetts government, overall, declined by 3% during the time that Romney served. Hardly a stunning record of someone attempting to appear to care for women’s jobs.

What was most glaring, however, was his failure to mention the Fair Pay Act and, instead, rely on a mostly untrue and bumbling anecdote. I would venture a guess that women aren’t as concerned about a President picking women from a binder for cabinet positions as they are about equal access to jobs and access to a fair compensation at work. And though representation in the cabinet is important (Obama has appointed many women to these positions including political rival Hillary), what is more important is that those visible values fill out in larger society.

Obama noted he supported The Fair Pay Act and spoke for minutes passionately about the role of women in all aspects of American life. No binders. Just  policies to help women. Even more importantly, Obama alluded to women’s rights which would likely come under fire during a Romney Administration. Two Supreme Court justices and a VP nominee who has lead a crusade in Congress to overturn Roe could very well spell an end to women’s reproductive rights in our country. In addition, Obama pointed out that Romney’s past statements about ‘ending Planned Parenthood’ was another assault on women’s freedoms and access to family planning services. To this point Obama rightly noted that it’s not just about women, it’s about families too, a point that appeared lost on Romney.

The ‘Act of Terror’

Perhaps the most poignant event in the debate occurred when Romney began to assert that Obama had failed to identify the Libya attacks as a terrorist incident. This line of attack follows the presumptuous rhetoric that republicans and Romney have followed ever since the Benghazi Consulate was over-run. The day after the attacks, Romney held a press conference accusing the Obama administration of ‘failures.’ This political capitalism has also included a number of, rather fake, teary eyed speeches about those lost in the attacks. Romney’s overplaying of these speeches has lead family members of deceased security and diplomatic personnel to publicly ask Romney to stop using their family members deaths as political props. And though Romney appears to have toned down the rhetoric on diplomatic service member’s deaths, he has continued to presume that the Obama Administration is entirely responsible and at fault for these attacks, making bald and outrageous assertions before any evidence is produced.

Obama rightly called out Romney for his politicization of American deaths saying in a sharp tone that invoked all the power of the Commander and Chief of US forces: “It is offensive!”

And it is, this smarmy politicking over the deaths of Americans, this failure to stand behind American government’s effort to get to the bottom of the terrorist attacks, and the blatant betrayal of US forces by a party who only seems to care about political gain. But Romney continued up this dark path of demonization and unsupported claims. In his, not the first, allusion to misinformation produced by Fox News, Romney glommed onto the false claim that the Obama Administration didn’t recognize the Benghazi incident as a terrorist attack until two weeks afterward.

In reply to this skewed claim, Obama noted that he held a speech in the Rose Garden about the attacks, claiming that he stated ‘no act of terror would go unpunished.’ Romney refuted the President directly, saying the President said no such thing. Crowley, who appeared to be well prepared to deal with the issues in this debate, had a transcript of the President’s speech on hand and confirmed, to audience applause, that the President had indeed said what he claimed and that Romney was making an incorrect assertion.

Revelation of the Least Truthful Presidential Bid in Modern Memory

This direct fact-checking of Romney’s false statements and visible deconstruction of his entirely political and self-serving rhetoric seemed to crystallize the public’s view of Romney last night. Romney has been accused on all fronts, from Newt Gingrich to Ron Paul, from Rick Perry to Rick Santorum and, finally, to Obama himself, as running a dishonest campaign. He has visibly contradicted himself and changed positions on key policies time and time again. His campaign staff famously labeled this tactic ‘etch e sketch.’ And the informed public seems to view what Romney says as general ‘malarkey.’

But the malarkey reached a new level of ugliness when Romney began to make up stories about diplomatic security forces in Benghazi and official US response to attacks there. His self-serving rhetoric directly harmed the families involved even as it undermined ongoing government efforts to determine the attacks’ cause, reduce risk of future attacks, and care for the bereaved families of those who were lost. Further, republican efforts to de-fund diplomatic security were entirely off the radar as Romney and republicans used every trick in their attempt to turn the Benghazi attacks into a political silver bullet aimed at the President.

This ‘ugly lie’ grew and took a life of its own. Endlessly parroted by right wing outlets, the political right engaged in a war of words to degrade and denigrate US diplomatic forces. And this act and abetment by a politician running for the highest political office in the land is unforgivable.

What we witnessed last night was the unraveling of that extraordinarily damaging lie. This event is likely to send deep fractures through the Romney campaign, through the republican party itself, and to those billionaires, like the Kochs and the Murdochs, who have done so much harm to the American people. It is not the end to their ‘Castle in the Sand’ empires, but it may well be a sign of the start of their disintegration. (The final blows will come from the rising tide of climate change itself, but that is a subject for another article).

Closing Statement: The Eloquence of Obama Returns

At the end of a debate that, often, seemed to balance on the edge of a knife, Obama reclaimed his oratory eloquence to deliver this impassioned final appeal to the American people.

Barry, I think a lot of this campaign, maybe over the last four years, has been devoted to this nation that I think government creates jobs, that that somehow is the answer.

That’s not what I believe. I believe that the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known.

I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative and risk takers being rewarded. But I also believe that everybody should have a fair shot and everybody should do their fair share and everybody should play by the same rules, because that’s how our economy’s grown. That’s how we built the world’s greatest middle class.

And — and that is part of what’s at stake in this election. There’s a fundamentally different vision about how we move our country forward.

I believe Governor Romney is a good man. Loves his family, cares about his faith. But I also believe that when he said behind closed doors that 47 percent of the country considered themselves victims who refuse personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about.

Folks on Social Security who’ve worked all their lives. Veterans who’ve sacrificed for this country. Students who are out there trying to hopefully advance their own dreams, but also this country’s dreams. Soldiers who are overseas fighting for us right now. People who are working hard every day, paying payroll tax, gas taxes, but don’t make enough income.

And I want to fight for them. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last four years. Because if they succeed, I believe the country succeeds.

When my grandfather fought in World War II and he came back and he got a G.I. Bill and that allowed him to go to college, that wasn’t a handout. That was something that advanced the entire country. And I want to make sure that the next generation has those same opportunities. That’s why I’m asking for your vote and that’s why I’m asking for another four years.

Links:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/2012-presidential-debate-full-transcript-oct-16/story?id=17493848&page=11#.UH75A4ZWIfw

http://blog.thephoenix.com/BLOGS/talkingpolitics/archive/2012/10/16/mind-the-binder.aspx

If Republican Economic Policy is to Drive Down Wages and Ship Jobs Overseas, Then How Can They Hope to Reduce Government Dependence?

There’s a bit of an internal contradiction in this tired, old republican narrative that keeps being recycled. This narrative that derides government dependence and smugly assumes that their own set of economic values reduce that dependence. But looking at republican policies, it becomes clear that those very policies foster the dependence they claim to deride.

Drive Down Wages

Overall republican policy has been little more than a direct assault on living wages for Americans since the mid to late 1980s. Teachers, professors, workers, scientists, people working in the public sector have all been criticized as having wages and benefits that were too high. They, first, claimed there was a need for increased efficiency. Then they targeted individual groups, leveraging a form of class envy to target college professors’ tenure, teacher benefits, the pay and benefits of any and all union workers.

The result of this wide-ranging leveraging of envy to degrade the US middle class has been a lowering of overall standards of living, wages, and benefits for the larger American public. And it is this assault that has necessitated the US dependence on debt for growth for so many of its citizens.

Perhaps the most obvious sign that republican policy is directly against rising standards of living for the US population at large is a broad-based opposition to the US minimum wage. Republicans often deride the need for a minimum wage at all, much less its increase even if it lags behind inflation. And, at every turn, republicans have attempted to undermine the principle supporting a minimum wage, even pushing for a return to the dark days of child labor and children competing with parents for wages.

Ship Jobs Overseas

When republicans have failed to drive down wages and lower benefits, they have pushed for moving large corporations, institutional employment, and services to lower wage areas. This has occurred within the US where corporations have ‘raced to the bottom’ by moving facilities to lower wage regions in the south. The result has been a dessication of jobs in developed regions while the lower wage regions become more and more dependent on government assistance (explored more below).

But the most extreme manifestation of this policy has come in the form of encouraging businesses to move production to places like China. Now, US workers are forced to compete with foreign workers in areas that are far less developed than the south. Areas that haven’t even industrialized. This creates a major distortion in which advanced society Americans are forced to compete directly with slave wage labor.

At a speech to Bain investors, republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney bragged about how Chinese workers ‘lived in dormatories,’ shared bathrooms with twenty other workers, were paid 26 cents an hour, and worked extremely long shifts. In republican parlance, this is the ideal work-force. And it is this kind of workforce that is destroying the American standard of living.

A wise economic mogul, Henry Ford, once noted that, in order to support business, workers required wages high enough to purchase a decent portion of the products they produced. And so Ford paid his workers enough to purchase the automobiles his factories pumped out. The same goes for American society. If you want a wealthy civilization able to enjoy the benefits of modern life, work compensation must rise to meet that aspiration.

Driving down wages and shipping jobs overseas, however, creates another result — increased reliance on debt and public support.

How Republicans Build a Dependency Society

So now we come full circle. If job wages and benefits are always heading down; If jobs themselves, to greater and greater degrees, are heading overseas; then how do you still grow the economy?

There are two methods — expand debt and/or expand government assistance.

In the first method, credit becomes cheap and easy to access. Middle class workers, seeing their wages drop, turn to cheap credit to support families, keep their homes or purchase ever-more-expensive food and fuel. This expansion of debt creates a bubble that sustains economic growth for a while. But, overall, the unsustainable nature of debt comes crashing down and the number of poor expand.

It is a sad fact that the result is that people robbed of their access to the American dream by a combination of declining wages and benefits and debt dependence become a part of a growing class of poor and disenfranchised. The only agency, at this point, able to provide assistance to these people becomes federal, state, and local governments. Charity organizations and churches lack the larger ability to rise to this challenge, because the size of the problem generated has become so large. In the end, the result of republican policies, therefore, becomes government dependence.

Right To Work States and Food Stamps

One policy that has resulted in a devastating decline in wages and massive increases in individual independence has been the perpetuation of ‘right to work’ laws in many republican states. These laws remove the ability of people to organize and bargain through unions and, by extension, to participate in the wealth generation process. As a result, right to work states have seen wages decline and food stamp roles explode. Georgia, for example, has fully 19 percent of its population dependent on food stamps. In Mississippi, more than one in five people rely on government food stamps due to the work and wage destroying republican economic policies.

Creating a Requirement for Government Assistance

It is a sad irony that republican rhetoric and republican policy are at diametric opposition. An analysis of policy results shows the bald lie in republican talking points. In short, republican policy is directly designed to increase need, increase, dependence, and reduce an individual’s ability to remain independent of outside support. Republican policy is the very definition of dependence multiplying. Opportunities for luck and good fortune are reduced. And rewarding individual pluck, diligence, and hard work is taken away. In the end, more people must turn to the very government policies republicans attack politically — social security, medicare, medicaid, food stamps, public education — for assistance. And the end result of removing these programs while creating dependence upon them would be an explosion of American poverty.

For these reasons, and for a number of others, republican economic policy is fundamentally dis-enabled to advance American recovery from the worst economic recession since the great depression. A recession, in vast part, resulting from failed republican policies.

Romney ‘Outsourcer in Chief’ Standard Bearer for Republican Assault on Middle Class Jobs

In the most recent ‘etch e sketch’ attempt to gain traction against Obama, the Mitt Romney campaign has tried to apply the label ‘outsourcer in chief’ to President Obama. For many reasons, this is comical, not the least of which is the fact that I’ve been calling Romney a would-be ‘outsourcer in chief’ based on his experience at Bain Capital closing down US companies and shipping jobs overseas since early this year.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/08/republican-debate-new-hampshire-gop-sunday_n_1192370.html

Just take a look at the comments section, about #20 down the list.

What Insanity Looks Like

Though my statements were rhetorical, they were based on a very real concern. The current Republican ideology is based in the belief that policies strictly aimed at benefiting the wealthy create jobs. This is little different from the policy views of the Bush Administration which resulted in millions and millions of jobs lost, saw declining wages, and caused the worst recession since the Great Depression. This record, alone, should be enough to make Republicans reconsider their political platform. Unfortunately, they have not. They simply push the same policies that wrecked the economy the last time and expect a different result.

As Einstein wisely said ‘Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.’

But if Republicans doubling down on terrible policy positions weren’t enough to demoralize any thinking American, all one would have to do is look at the political and business resume of their presidential candidate: Mitt Romney. One would think that a Presidential candidate, someone who wishes to lead this great nation, would show a few elements of real patriotism, a few instances of putting the interests of country and fellow citizens first, of serving the greater good for America.

This is dramatically not the case with Mitt Romney.

Romney’s Lack of Patriotism on Taxes, Middle Class Jobs

First, rather than keeping his money in the United States, where it might actually do some work to support American jobs, he’s shipped loads of it overseas to foreign bank accounts, likely in an attempt to avoid US taxes. If this is the case, by outsourcing his money to offshore banks, he’s undercutting the jobs of soldiers, teachers, scientists, researchers and so many other middle class jobs created through government expenditures.

If his actions weren’t enough, Romney’s endlessly negative rhetoric is, at times, aimed directly at these workers, blaming them as if they were the cause of America’s problems and not its victims. In June, Romney provided us with a stark example of these attacks:

“He wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

The message of Wisconsin? The message of Wisconsin was that big money can control a state’s political process so as to force greater economic pain on the middle class by denying the rights of teachers, police officers, and firemen. The message of Wisconsin was that a GOP possessed by the maniacal ghost of the John Birch Society hates the American worker.

Profits From Impoverishing the American Worker

Apparently, not only did Romney not seem to ‘get’ the lesson of the lost 8 years under Bush — cut government-based middle class jobs and key regulations too much and it deeply hurts the American people — he also seems to think that a lawless, uneducated America where homes and businesses are allowed to burn down is a fine place to live. And based on this statement, one would think that Romney supports the current minimum wage pay for policemen and firefighters in Scranton, after draconian cuts have forced devastating wage reductions there.

But even if Romney’s campaign rhetoric isn’t damaging or revealing enough, we have his past business record to look at. In short, he was CEO at Bain Capital, a firm whose primary job was to target companies that appeared to be at risk of financial difficulty, gain a controlling stake in those companies’ stocks and then cut wages and benefits, eliminate jobs, and sell company assets in order to make a profit. The fact that certain investment firms behave in this fashion is one of the uglier aspects of capitalism. It is a sort of predatory opportunism that tends to concentrate wealth at the expense of workers and the economy as a whole. In many cases, this loot and pillage ‘capitalism’ wrecks entire communities, leaving behind wasted industrial lands that will never again be revitalized. The companies that function in this fashion often operate under the euphemism ‘private equity,’ which makes what they do seem innocuous. But when looking at the process, it’s pretty ugly and harmful.

Even worse, it doesn’t seem those at Bain were very contrite about how they’d made their profits. Take a look at this celebratory picture and it’s pretty easy to see that Romney and his buddies at Bain had very little pathos for the American workers whose jobs they wrecked:

Image

Bain’s Record of Outsourcing Jobs to China

But not only did Bain engage in corporate raiding and pillaging activities that wrecked a number of previously vital US communities, they also engaged in activities that shipped US jobs overseas. According to a recent Washington Post article:

“During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

In essence, Bain profited from wrecking industries within the US and then took the money and invested it in factories and call centers in China. To a company like Bain, this meant big bags of money. To America, this meant loss of family-supporting jobs, economy-supporting middle-class consumption, and deficit-reducing and middle class jobs-supporting taxes.

The sad fact is that these kinds of ugly activities do happen in capitalist economies. But it doesn’t mean that a corporate raider whose record involves wrecking US communities and using the profits to build factories and businesses in China should be able to run for President on ‘business acumen’ and a record of ‘job creation.’ Quite to the contrary, Romney shows that he is completely out of touch with the struggles most American families now face. A dire struggle he, in part, is responsible for creating.

Republican Spin: They Will Now Attempt to Misinform the American Public On China and Alternative Energy

Because the Obama Administration has rightly held Romney accountable for a past that involved economically destructive business activities, for actively outsourcing American jobs, and for a record of offshoring his wealth to other countries, the Republicans are now desperate. They are in the process of attempting to create a new narrative. And this narrative conflates a number of their implicit goals.

First, defame Obama as outsourcer.

In this new twisted argument, the Republicans will attempt to label Obama as an oursourcer. This is their best defense because it takes Romney’s glaring weakness and own terrible record of outsourcing and attempts to turn it into a strength by making Obama look as bad as Romney on this issue.

Second, attack the alternative energy industry.

Ever since Republicans have stymied funds for US wind and solar industries, they have been complicit in handing leadership in this key industry to China. The results of their failures have been the bankrupting of solar manufacturers and ceding massive numbers of manufacturing jobs to China. At the same time, Republicans make political hay by attacking Democrats for the failures their own policies and inaction have caused. And this is simply the argument of saboteurs and those who have made careers out of blaming the victim.

For example, for years, Republicans looked the other way as China dumped solar panels at lower than the cost of production on the US market. Cynical monied interests shorted these industries at the same time. When Solyndra, unable to compete under market conditions of unfair dumping and investor flight, went bankrupt, the Republicans rushed in to blame the victim, trying to label it another Enron.

Now, Republicans are attempting to capitalize on a condition their policies created in order to blame Obama for outsourcing.

First, they have labeled an economic condition they caused — flight of wind and solar industry jobs to China — ‘outsourcing.’ Second, they are blaming Obama for loss of jobs due to Chinese solar panel dumping. These actions are aimed at a final goal — fossil fuel market dominance.

Third, pave the way for fossil fuel resurgence in the US.

If Republicans are successful in their attempts to label Obama and to turn the US alternative energy industry into an abject failure, they will pave the way for increased US dependence on the kinds of fuels that will wreck our future: oil, natural gas, and coal. These attacks will also serve to set the renewable industry back decades at a time when it is most necessary to deal with the combined problems of energy security and climate change. In short, the loss of the US alternative energy industry to these malicious special interests will be both devastating to the economic future of the US, our standing in the community of nations, and a climate that supports a vital US agricultural industry.

Republican Failures, Cynical Political Manipulation and Blame-Making Requires a Real Response by Leadership

Because the issues have been confused by Republican political operatives, it will be unlikely that the American people will understand the causes of these economic conditions unless they are directly brought to light. It is, therefore imperative that Obama create a set of policies directly aimed at aiding the US alternative energy industry, creating jobs in the US alternative energy sector, and holding China and investment firms accountable for damaging the US alternative energy industry. As Republicans move to oppose any legislation that will have a real impact on shoring up this industry, it will become clear which side they are on — that of China and outsourcing and not that of the American worker.

One has to show these cynical attacks for what they really are — a disingenuous attempt to regain and concentrate power and to provide no help at all for struggling American families. IF Republicans had been serious about preventing US alternative energy jobs from going to China, they would have supported the stimulus, they would have supported the GM bailout, and they would have joined those sounding alarms about China’s trade war on US alternative energy rather than attempting to kill that industry in favor of dirty, dangerous and depleting fossil fuels. The pretense, under which Republicans are operating: that they are actually concerned about loss of US alternative energy jobs to China is laughable. And the laissez-faire and dirty industry supporting policies they would enact if they gain power would only speed US loss of alternative energy leadership to China and the flight of key American jobs to overseas entities.

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