Romney's Bain: Job Creator or Destroyer?

Private equity becomes a hot button on the campaign trail
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2012 7:57 AM CST
Updated Jan 12, 2012 7:59 AM CST

(Newser) – Now that Newt Gingrich's documentary is out, the political world is abuzz with talk of Mitt Romney's Bain Capital tenure, and whether it's gold-plated proof he's a "job creator," or a massive political liability. Here's what they're saying:

  • Bain has been knocked for its failures, but even its successes oft brought layoffs, the Washington Post points out. Indeed, the three turnarounds Romney touts most—Staples, Sports Authority, and Domino's Pizza—all involved layoffs, and in some cases knocked out smaller businesses as they expanded.

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  • All of which is par for the private equity course, the LA Times says. "The industry just has had a bad reputation, sometimes deservedly," says one exec. During Romney's era, slashing costs while loading up on debt "was an easy way to make money, and a lot of people did it."
  • But Bain certainly had successes, and some conservatives are coming to Romney's defense—including Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Capitalism without failure isn't capitalism," Huntsman said.
  • Rick Perry, meanwhile, has joined Gingrich in piling on. "I understand restructuring," he said yesterday, "but the idea that we can't criticize someone for these get-rich-quick schemes is not appropriate."
  • Ultimately it's nigh-impossible for anyone to analyze Bain, because the company is a "black box" of secrecy, Politico reports. Bain won't even answer the basic question of whether its companies created or cut more jobs under Romney.
(Read more Bain Capital stories.)

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