It's easy to see why President Barack Obama wants to talk about things other than the economy which has the latest unemployment figures still above 8% and the economy slowing down. (The actual unemployment rate is closer to 14.5% when you consider the under employed and those that have dropped off the unemployment rolls.) But now his assault on the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital--has him in trouble with influential Democrats.
Bill Clinton told CNN that Romney's "sterling" business career and time as governor of Massachusetts qualified him as a candidate in the Presidential race. He said, "Not all risky investments succeeded at Bain Capital. We ought not be saying 'this is bad work.....but on the whole it's actually good work.' In other words, "Stop Digging!" The anti-Bain assault is revealing aspects of Obama that voters might not like. Does Obama really appreciate the role of profit in a successful economy?
This should be a given. But some Obama remarks make you wonder. Asked about his fellow Democrat's criticism of the Bain strategy last week, Obama said this was what the campaign "is going to be about". He said, "When you're president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not to simply maximise profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a "fair shot." So where does Obama think the resources to give people a fair shot come from....if not from PROFITS?
Providers of capital - pension funds, wealthy individuals or ordinary savers - won't support companies that don't provide a decent return on their investment. By maximising long-term profits, companies maximise job chances and the "fair shot". You could dismiss Obama's remarks as as campaign fluff -- the phrase "fair shot" has been a staple of his campaign since December. But he keeps trying to have his cake and eat it too, Clinton has hinted.
Obama says he's not against all private equity, just Romney's. He solicits campaign donations from private equity partners, but his chief leftist political adviser, David Axelrod, says that private equity embraces "an economic theory that isn't right for the country." What a stupid attitude! In fact private equity is a vital part of the capitalist ecology. It came into being as a response to the failures of paternalistic managerial capitalism in the 1950's and 1960's. Private equity often mops up messes left by managerial capitalism's failures.
The Way I See it.....Obama conveniently doesn't say anything about Bain Capital's successes -Staples, The Sports Authority, Domino's Pizza - which are giving a "fair shot" to tens of thousands of workers years after Romney departed the company.
You see...private equity can take a long-term - which sounds like an economic theory we'd miss if we didn't have it. Think of the many start-up companies now thriving because some equity company believed in their initial ideas. So Romney needs to weave his Bain experience into his narrative by talking about his successes, failures and mistakes and what he learnt from them. The Obama campaign has stumbled out of the blocks by their Leftist rhetoric. So before Barack has to eat his words he ought to give it a rest.