Romney is too insecure to be President

September 14, 2012 at 9:14 am | Posted in Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Photo of Willard Mitt Romney, taken by Gage Skidmore on October 7, 2011, turned upside down.

Photo of Willard Mitt Romney, taken by Gage Skidmore on October 7, 2011, turned upside down.

Willard Mitt Romney is too insecure to be a good President.

A prime example: his frantic and ill-founded claims about the recent events in Egypt and Libya, before he knew the facts.

An insecure person makes bad decisions under pressure.

A President has to make many decisions under pressure.

Further evidence of Romney’s insecurity is that he is famous for being a controlling personality.   Being controlling is a sure sign of personal insecurity.

There are many examples of Romney’s attempts to control.  His refusal to release more tax returns is one example.   Another is his deliberate vagueness about what he would cut to fulfill his budgetary promises.  He is always trying to control what the public can know about him.

Romney’s attempts at control can become comical.  According to an article by Louis Menand in The New Yorker, the book The Real Romney, by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman notes that ” Romney had a strict rule on long car trips, which was that he stopped only for gas. His five sons (Romney’s wife, Ann, was granted an exemption from the patriarchal diktat) were expected to make any necessary rest-room visits during the refuelling. It seems that the rule was not explained to the dog, and the poor animal reminded the family of its presence by defecating, telltale evidence of which was sighted on the rear window by one of the kids. At the next service station, Romney borrowed a hose, washed down the dog and the car, and resumed the journey.”

A urinal, photographed by Richard Chambers in 2004.

A urinal, photographed by Richard Chambers in 2004.

Such a person would make a terrible President.

A Scam Artist as President?

September 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Posted in Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Fairness, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Mitt Romney, photographed by Gage Skidmore, 7 October 2011

Mitt Romney, photographed by Gage Skidmore, 7 October 2011

Legal but unethical.  That describes how Bain Capital operated under Willard “Mitt” Romney, according to an article in The New Yorker.  (Unfortunately, although I remember the article vividly, I have not been able to locate my printed copy, nor a web link to it.  So I cannot cite the article’s author and date.  If you have that information, please provide it to me in a comment.)

Under Romney, Bain Capital used a bait and switch scam to reduce the price it paid when buying companies.

When a company that wished to be bought requested bids, Bain Capital submitted a generous bid.  That shut the other bidders out of the next stage of negotiation, which now involved only Bain Capital and the seller.  Bain capital then found many excuses for reducing its bid, knowing full well that the seller would find it difficult to invite back any of the previously rejected bidders.

This tactic is a type of scam.  It is similar to the tactics of the least ethical used car dealers.

This bait and switch tactic is also similar in flavor to the etch-a-sketch strategy that Romney’s campaign envisioned.

Under Romney, Bain Capital systematically used another legal but unethical trick.  It loaded a acquired company with debt, then used the borrowed money to fund a big payout to itself, and then discarded the indebted company.  Bain Capital was like a spider discarding its prey after sucking it dry.  In an article by John Cassidy (see the section in that article that is entitled “Can you give me an example in which Bain Capital made a lot of money from a company that failed?”), Cassidy reminds us of what Bain Capital did to Armco Steel Corp. and GS Industries.  It is a disheartening read.  Bain’s maneuvers produced success for Bain Capital, but undeserved pain for the employees of Armco Steel Corp. and the other parts of GS Industries.  This and similar gaming of the system is not the kind of ethics and business experience that will be needed for energizing the US economy and job market, nor for reducing the national deficit.

As Louis Menand pointed out in an article in the NewYorker, “… a firm like Bain is concerned exclusively with buying low and selling high. Any other outcome it might pursue at the expense of that concern cheats its investors. This is why talk of job creation or job destruction in the companies Bain invested in is beside the point. Bain was not about jobs.”

But Wiley Willard is not all bad.  As pointed out by Steven Pearlstein, Romney is sympathetic, humane and helpful to those he knows personally, regardless of their economic class.  (An exception is Romney’s comically and needlessly strict rulemaking for his own family.)  But he is heartless and unsympathetic to those he does not know personally, even when their situation is the same as those who he has helped.

Combine those qualities with the fact that both Romney and Ryan make promises they cannot fulfill about reducing the national debt: an many have pointed out in detail, even though their plans are sketchy, they cannot achieve what they promise without raising tax revenues.  Wishful, magical thinking won’t work.

Finally, A remarkable article by Steven Pearlstein points out that Romney is a manager, not a leader.

Romney is often held up as being successful in business, and that is supposed to show that he will be able to fix the economy.  But a lot of his success – and Bain’s success – came from gaming the system, not from doing anything constructive.  Romney’s stratagems and self-serving ethics are not what are needed for fixing the economy.  To fix the economy and create jobs we need to put more money in the pockets of those with immediate unfilled needs, who will spend it immediately.  The economy would not get much of a boost if we instead further increase the wealth of those whose needs are neither immediate nor pressing, as Romney wants to do, in his delusion that the wealthy are the engine of the economy.  Romney’s business experience is of the wrong kind, especially for our present problems.

The Republican Party claims that Obama has had plenty of time to fix the problems that he inherited, but that he hasn’t done so.  (Those problems were created by the Republican Party’s loosening of regulations, by the way.)   The Republican Party’s claim is hypocritical, in two ways.  First, Obama’s stimulus package was a huge success.  The recession would have been far worse without it.  And second, Obama couldn’t do more than that, because the Republicans in Congress adopted – and publically announced – a policy of sabotaging as many of Obama’s initiatives as they could.  They hoped that by limiting Obama’s achievements they would prevent him from being re-elected.  They tied his hands and then sneered that he didn’t accomplish much.  Their sabotage harmed the country as well as Obama.  If you don’t have a job, this tactic by the Republican Party harmed you.  The Republican Party does not deserve to get away with its unpatriotic, partisan sabotage.

September 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

John Hively's Blog: News and Analysis of the War Against the Middle Class

Warren said of Christie’s speech at the Republican convention, “We made a decision together as a country: To invest in ourselves, in our kids, and in our future. For nearly half a century, that’s just what we did.

And it worked. For nearly 50 years, as our country got richer, our families got richer—and as our families got richer, our country got richer.

And then about 30 years ago, our country moved in a different direction. New leadership attacked wages. They attacked pensions. They attacked health care. They attacked unions. And now we find ourselves in a very different world from the one our parents and grandparents built. We are now in a world in which the rich skim more off the top in taxes and special deals, and they leave less and less for our schools, for roads and bridges, for medical and scientific research—less to build a future.

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Rename Labor Day

September 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Posted in Fairness, Judicial Misjudgment | Leave a comment
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Militia aims bayonets at strikers in Lawrence, Mass. in 1912

Militia aims bayonets at strikers in Lawrence, Mass. in 1912.
From the Wikipedia article on Labor union. In the public domain.

We have to rename Labor Day.

Labor Day was created to honor the contributions of ordinary hard working folks, and the labor unions that had improved the safety, wages and benefits of their  members.  Wherever there was competition to hire good workers, that increased the safety, benefits and wages of non-members, as well.

Those union-won benefits put more money into the pockets of those with immediate needs.  They spent that money right away, buying products and services.  Businesses made more and hired more, reinforcing the growth.  That produced widespread prosperity.

But now businesses and Republican legislators have worked together to suck the air out of the labor unions.  In the same way that the gains won by unions spilled over to non-union workers in an earlier time, so did the losses sustained by unions spill over to non-union workers now.

That is a major contributor to our present problems: scarce jobs, most people afraid to spend, budget deficits at all levels of government.

All this is explained clearly in a recent article in the Washington Post.  The article also has good suggestions on what to do about it.

But under the present conditions, it is hypocritical and cynical to have a holiday called Labor Day.

To be honest, we should change the name to Plutocracy Day, and devote it to singing the praises of our oligarchs, since they condescend to allow a little – a tiny fraction, but still not nothing – to trickle down to the rest of us.

We should also limn their elected and appointed henchmen in national and state government.  These politicians, including judges who claim not to be politicians, have been indispensable in converting the US from a democracy back to a plutocracy, just as it was in the good old days before October 1929.  They have also hoodwinked a large part of the populace into thinking that the Republicans and the oligarchs are on their side, fooling them into not feeling the fingers of those who are picking their pockets.  They have even fooled people into thinking that Romney’s and Ryan’s budget plans will reduce the deficit, even though they will actually increase it.

Judges were not the least effective in producing this change.  The article cited above shows how the judges did it.  And who can forget how the extremely partisan Republican majority in the present Supreme Court chose to lift the restrictions on how wealthy individuals and corporations could pour money into influencing elections.  The Supreme Court has lost all moral authority, buts its legal authority sufficed for this scam.

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