WSJ: “Bain Capital Saved America”

Artwork by Chad Crowe

Daniel Henninger wrote this excellent article in yesterday’s The Wall Street Journal, Opinion section.

Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich would lead voters to believe that Mitt Romney was involved in some kind of evil for his work at Bain Capital. Americans know differently. Governor Romney does need to find opportunities to provide the many examples of how his turn-around work improved the lives of thousands of families.

Henninger’s opinion piece is outstanding.

Not only did Bain Capital save America, but no matter what turn Mitt Romney’s political career takes, Bain Capital may stand as the best of Mr. Romney’s lifetime contributions to the nation’s economic well-being. If only he’d tell the story.
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Properly understood, the 1980s, including Bain, were the remarkable years when an ever-resilient America found a way to save itself from becoming what Europe is now—a global has-been.
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Read through S&P’s justification for last week’s downgrades of nine European countries. Along with the expected dumping on those countries’ fiscal profligacy, one finds as well a blunt recognition of Europe’s moribund “fundamentals,” meaning their ability to produce “strong and consistent” economic growth.

If not for Bain Capital and the other, bigger players who commenced a decade of leveraged buyouts and hostile takeovers in the 1980s, the odds are that the U.S.’s “fundamentals” would be similarly weak. Instead, the U.S. corporate sector remade itself during the Bain years.
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Thousands of Mitt Romneys allied with huge pension funds representing colleges, unions and the like, plus a rising cadre of institutional money managers, to force corporate America to reboot. In the 1980s almost half of major U.S. corporations got takeover offers.

Singling out this or that Bain case study amid the jostling and bumping is pointless. This was a historic and necessary cleansing of the Augean stables of the American economy. It caused a positive revolution in U.S. management, financial analysis, incentives, governance and market-based discipline. It led directly to the 1990s boom years. And it gave the U.S. two decades of breathing room while Europe, with some exceptions, choked.
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Mr. Romney’s answer appears to be that voters want to keep hearing about him and his management résumé. Voters don’t want one man’s story. They want someone who understands how the next 10 years can produce an American economy that offers the opportunities for them that the 1980s produced for Mitt Romney.

* * * * * CAPITALISM * * * * * *

“What’s immediately profitable is the only kind of logic that capitalism understands.” — Susan George

“Whether we look at capitalism, taxes, business, or government, the data show a clear and consistent pattern: 70 percent of Americans support the free enterprise system and are unsupportive of big government.” –Arthur C. Brooks

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About Victor Lundquist:

Victor is a businessman working in the healthcare industry. He and his wife of 33 years have five children and four grandchildren. Vic has been blogging for Mitt Romney since 2007.
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