Mitt Romney has a golden opportunity to short-circuit the Bain attacks and simultaneously turn the race back to President Obama’s pathetic economic record. Brit Hume framed the argument effectively:
Put differently, Romney can say he’s not bothered by the lies and the slurs on his record (after all, he knew going in that the game was “kill Romney”as an Obama adviser confessed), but President Obama has some nerve telling American risk-takers, innovators, employers and entrepreneurs they didn’t build their businesses. The charge, that all good comes from government, is s false as it is scurrilous.
No Republican is arguing government shouldn’t contribute to basic infrastructure and security. But the assertion that individuals are merely vessels for government largess flies in the face of our history and defies economic experience. President Bill Clinton understood as both a political and policy matter that private-sector growth, innovation and entrepreneurship are essential. (Clinton would never have uttered the “you got ahead because someone gave it to you” sentiment.)
Obama doesn’t understand and in fact displays great resentment toward wealth creators and the profit essential for job growth. Coupled with his indefensible economic record, this is why he defames Romney and all wealth creators.
Romney would do well to stop defending himself and start defending capitalism against the Obama view that “what is government’s is government’s and what is yours is government’s.”
Andy Kessler should be required reading for the candidates and the political reporters lurching from one accusation to another with little understanding of the fundamentals of our economy. He writes:
Did Mitt Romney and Bain Capital help office-supply retailer Staples create 88,000 jobs? 43,000? 252? Actually, Staples probably destroyed 100,000 jobs while creating millions of new ones.
Since 1986, Staples has opened 2,000 stores, eliminating the jobs of distributors and brokers who charged nasty markups for paper and office supplies. But it enabled hundreds of thousands of small (and not so small) businesses to stock themselves cheaply and conveniently and expand their operations.
It’s the same story elsewhere. Apple employs just 47,000 people, and Google under 25,000. Like Staples, they have destroyed many old jobs, like making paper maps and pink “While You Were Out” notepads. But by lowering the cost of doing business they’ve enabled innumerable entrepreneurs to start new businesses and employ hundreds of thousands, even millions, of workers world-wide—all while capital gets redeployed more effectively.
This process happens during every business cycle and always, always creates jobs.
Obama’s Bain attacks have told us less about Romney than they have about Obama and his left-wing echo chamber. In reality, Kessler remind us, “The mechanism to decide the most effective use for this capital is profits. The stock market bundles profits and is the divining rod of productivity, allocating capital in cycle after cycle toward the economy’s most productive companies and best-compensated jobs. And it does so better than any elite economist or politician picking pork-barrel projects and relabeling them as ‘investments.’” This is beyond Obama’s comprehension and contrary to his most deeply held beliefs.
Obama thinks success requires mendacity and exploitation, so Romney, he figures, must be guilty of something. He thinks government is the root of success, so the rich are taking from the rest of us. He thinks ATMs put people out of work, and productivity can be sacrificed at the altar of what Kessler short-hands as “[e]very Every government-mandated low-flow toilet, phosphorous-free dishwasher detergent, CFL light bulb, and carbon-emission regulation” (not to mention Dodd-Frank and Obamacare).
Such a philosophy is entirely at odds with the views of most Americans. Moreover, it’s a recipe for economic doldrums of the very type we are now in. Obama’s revelatory moment explains why we will not come out from the recession so long as he is president. And it gives Romney an opportunity to pivot away from defending himself against charges not even the New York Times believes to manning the vanguard for prosperity, innovation and economic success.