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Romney Would Lead the Country As He Led Bain Capital; Middle Class Would Struggle

Mitt Romney was a corporate-buyout specialist whose guiding principle was that as long as he and his investors walked away with millions it didn’t matter if companies went bankrupt and thousands lost their jobs. Those values won’t help us build an economy built to last, and we can’t afford to have them in the White House.

Today the campaign launched a new website and released a new two-minute ad and a six-minute video highlighting the real story of Mitt Romney’s business record. The American people should decide for themselves whether they want a President who took those lessons and values away from that experience.

Mitt Romney claims that running Bain Capital, a financial buyout company, gives him the experience our country needs in a President. But in deal after deal, Romney and his partners at the time cared most about taking millions for themselves even as they crippled companies by loading them up with debt and putting thousands out of work.

No one is challenging Romney’s right to run his business as he saw fit or questioning the private equity industry as a whole. With Romney running on his business record, it’s legitimate to question the values Romney lived by in business and promises to live by as President. The question is what lessons Romney drew from this, and will these values and this approach lead him to make the right decisions as President to grow our economy and make America more competitive.

Romney economics aren’t a prescription for a stronger economy and they aren’t a prescription for a stronger country. We don't want an economy where workers are left behind, and even when a company fails the financial engineers do well while the people who put their lives into the company are left holding the bag.

Romney wasn’t concerned with building companies for the long term or creating good jobs. Even one of his former partners conceded the goal was “to create wealth for your investors.” Romney made sure he and his partners made millions no matter the cost to others.

  • Romney specialized in buying companies and loading them up with debt – several times using that debt to pay themselves millions in fees and dividends even as they laid off longtime loyal workers and shipped jobs overseas.
  • Sometimes, if workers were lucky enough to keep their jobs, they saw their paychecks, benefits and pensions slashed.
  • Romney tries to explain the fact that he drove several companies into bankruptcy by saying that “in the real world” there are going to be winners and losers. But every American knows that in the real world when you bankrupt a company you don’t walk away with millions for yourself and your investors.

Kansas City’s GST Steel – featured in the video and ad released today – had been making steel rods for 105 years when Romney and his partners bought, benefitted from, and bankrupted it.

  • Bain bought GST for $75 million in 1993 and loaded the overall company up with more than $500 million in debt, forcing the 105-year-old steel mill out of business.
    After Romney’s firm drove this 105-year-old steel mill into bankruptcy in less than 10 years, they walked away with at least $12 million – a 150 percent return on their initial investment of $8 million.
  • Meanwhile, they put 750 hardworking middle-class Missourians out of work and then denied them their severance, their health insurance and their full pension – all of which they had earned and were promised.
  • While these hardworking middle-class Missourians were losing their jobs and benefits, executives and management received approval for $9 million in severance and retention payments while the company was in bankruptcy.

GST’s workers really lost out, and Romney and his partners did not. This was the quintessential case of two sets of rules, and that's not the kind of economy we want.

Romney believes it was okay to load companies up with debt, put thousands out of work and bankrupt companies all so a handful of investors can make a fortune. That economic philosophy would hurt the middle class, not create an economy built to last.

Now Romney’s proposing troubling economic policies that are little different from his worst business practices: more budget-busting tax cuts for the very wealthy paid for by the middle class, no investing for our nation’s long term strength and letting Wall Street and corporate interests write their own rules again. It’s the same formula that benefitted a few, but crashed our economy and undermined security for the middle class and those trying to join it.

Romney doesn't get how the economy works in the lives of everyday Americans. He doesn't get that the real strength of the economy is a growing, thriving middle class, not simply a band of successful financial engineers like himself.

Romney would take us back to the same failed policies and wrong values that brought on the economic crisis in the first place. That’s the last thing we can afford. President Obama is moving America forward – to an economy built to last, where hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded, and everyone has a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules.