“I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.” – Willard Mitt Romney
The entire ascension of Mitt Romney as the “presumptive nominee” for the Republican Party has always been a bit perplexing. There is no logical reason that he should be the standard bearer of the supposed “small government” Party. He has long supported health care mandates, bailouts of the financial industry, government economic “stimulus” spending, and all sorts of government solutions to just about anything. It’s clear that the powers that be in the Republican Party long ago committed to Mitt Romney as their man. This may tell us more about how far the Republican Party has fallen from anything resembling small government principles than it does about Romney.
Now that the media and the Obama campaign are accepting the presumption that Romney will likely be the Republican nominee, the predictable attacks on Romney’s time as CEO of the private equity company Bain have begun in full force. It’s hilarious to me that with as atrocious of a record that Romney has as Governor, the main focus seems to be on his successes in the private sector. The most baffling part of this is the response, or lack thereof, by the Romney campaign.
Why Won’t Romney Defend Capitalism?
The main premise behind the Obama campaign’s attacks on Bain are that under Romney, Bain Capital companies were involved in outsourcing jobs offshore, and the implication that Romney is somehow cheating on his taxes through offshore investments.
Instead of defending himself and defending capitalism, Romney seems to be ducking away from the issues all together. His main defense of the outsourcing charges is that he effectively left Bain Capital in 1999 in order to run the U.S. Olympics despite the fact that his name was still on filings with the company through 2002. Romney claims that despite this, he “retroactively retired” and was not involved in the day to day operations at the time when much of the outsourcing was taking place. This may or may not be true, but it misses the point.
This would be a perfect opportunity for Romney to defend capitalism and decry the onerous tax policies that often push U.S. companies to outsource work outside the country. Private equity firms serve a very important role in a free economy. They are willing to take on big financial risks when banks are unwilling to do so. The result is troubled companies receiving financing they need to try to rebuild. Often these companies fail anyway. Other times they are able to restructure and turn it around.
A natural part of a company restructuring is the need to cut jobs and to find less expensive ways to get work done, such as outsourcing to foreign countries. The combination of heavy corporate taxation and government mandates related to wages and insurance often make it difficult to effectively hire in this country, when the same labor can be found abroad at a fraction of the price. Yes, this may cost “U.S. jobs”, but that is not the fault of the company. The blame should be placed on the policies that make it more difficult to afford labor in the United States. Whether jobs are “outsourced” or cut all together, these are largely companies that would go completely bankrupt if not for the venture capital firms that took on the risk and bought them up.
Another popular attack on Romney is on his offshore investments. Instead of defending his right to invest his own money as he pleases, Romney again runs away from this issue. His only defense is that his investments were run by a blind trust and that he “doesn’t even know where they are”. Again this may very well be true, but it misses the point.
There is nothing unpatriotic about investing money offshore. Onerous taxes on investments in the United States as well as diverse investments opportunities often make offshore investments a wise and reasonable choice. The goal of the investor should be to see the most return on his investments, not to blindly invest all of his money in the United States due to some form of bizarre economic patriotism. And yet again Romney doesn’t stand his ground to defend monetary freedom; he simply tries to distance himself from this.
If this is the best the “presumptive nominee” for the Republican Party can muster, the Romney campaign may soon find itself dead in the water. It would certainly make sense for Romney to at least pretend to believe in capitalism and economic freedom. Why does some crazy libertarian blogger have to do it for him?
Mitt’s Curious Tweet
Yesterday, Mitt Romney (or perhaps a campaign staffer who runs his Twitter account), sent out the following tweet:
Ron Paul’s “Audit The Fed” bill is a reminder of his tireless efforts to promote sound money and a more transparent Federal Reserve.
Now this tweet certainly doesn’t come close to actually endorsing the point of Ron Paul’s effort to audit – and eventually end – The Federal Reserve system, merely praising his “tireless effort”. It may simply be an acknowledgement on a personal level as it’s been reported that Romney and Paul have become friends since they first became acquainted during the 2008 campaign.
Of course, that pesky cynic in me suspects an ulterior motive. Romney has long pandered to Paul supporters by praising the Congressman during debates and even deferring to him on Constitutional matters. We know that Romney’s actual stated views couldn’t be more opposite of Dr. Paul’s when it comes to matters of economics, foreign policy, or pretty much anything. But Romney is also smart enough to know that if he has any hope of defeating Obama this fall, he will need the Ron Paul supporters.
It’s a well known political rule that the so-called “independents” – a funny term to describe a voting bloc that always ends up voting for the Republican or Democrat – decide elections. Dr. Paul has long polled highest amongst independents, and Romney desperately needs to capture that group to win the election.
My advice to Romney? If you want to pander to Ron Paul supporters and people that believe in liberty, try actually defending capitalism and freedom once in a while. I know it’s a crazy idea, but simply telling the truth just might work. At least it’s always worked on those pesky Ron Paul people.