published Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Romney's deceit on China

Mitt Romney is telling American voters that as president he would take a hard line on China to challenge and get back the tons of manufacturing jobs that American businesses have moved to China in the past two decades to take advantage of cheap labor. But his personal business interests and heavy investments in China, and the American jobs he literally has helped move to China and continues to do so to this day, tell an entirely different story about where he stands on China's export juggernaut.

Romney is heavily invested in China through Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded and in which he retains a huge portion of his $250 million fortune in investments. He began leading Bain's investments in China in the late 1990s, and Bain's current prospectuses now tout and lure more investments to China -- investments which continue to grow the fund portfolios that expand Romney's personal wealth.

Equally telling, Bain's prospectuses praise the very aspects of China's manufacturing and export tactics -- extraordinarily cheap labor (85 percent of western norms), government tax incentives, the country's huge foreign reserves, and its trend lines for overtaking the U.S. economy. Yet these advantages, touted by Bain to appeal to new investors, are precisely the advantages that Romney, in his alter ego as presidential candidate, now claims from the campaign trail that he would reverse.

Do the math.

Research by a New York Times investigative team dug up and reported last week the history of a raft of transactions referenced in Romney's 2012 campaign finance disclosure statements and other documents that illuminate Bain's deep connections in China since at least 1998. The team found that:

• Romney had as much as $2.25 million invested in at least eight Chinese factories that export heavily, including a company, Asimco Technologies, that bought out and closed two Grand Haven, Mich., auto camshaft factories that employed 500 workers in 2007.

• Romney has invested additional millions of dollars in Bain funds that, since 2006, have quadrupled their investments and now hold a controlling $2.6 billion stake in shares of Sensata Technologies, a 4,000-employee Chinese manufacturer of vehicle, aircraft and electric motors. Two years ago, Sensata bought a Freeport, Ill., plant that makes auto sensors; It is now in the process of shutting down the 170-employee plant and moving it to a government built-and-subsidized plant in the Chinese coastal province of Jiangsu, which gets tax breaks for export-oriented companies.

Freeport workers, who had to train their Chinese owners, have pleaded futilely with Romney to reverse the deal. They also discovered in bankruptcy hearings that Asimco's Chinese owners had the company transfer money to China to obtain a tax rebate there for relocating the company and most of its equipment and jobs to Jiangsu Province's special export zone. The bankruptcy, of course, now threatens the Illinois workers' benefits and future.

• Bain Capital had invested $234 million in China's Gome Electrical Appliances in 2009, despite an accusation by Microsoft that the Chinese retailer was selling computers with software pirated by Gome. It also invested in a Hong Kong appliance maker that was sued for copying a French company's deep-fryer.

• Romney has invested as much as $1 million each in Bain's Capital Funds IX and X, and as much as $250,000 in Bain's Capital Asia Fund, all of which are held by Bain in entities in the tax-haven of Cayman Islands, and are used by Bain to invest in China.

• The Bain Capital Asia Fund 2007 also invested $39 million in Feixiang Group, a manufacturer of chemicals which had qualified for government tax subsidies for "high-tech" industrial exporters. Though Romney claims to have put his holdings in a blind trust, it is managed by the same law firm that has long represented both Romney and Bain, including some of the Bain funds in which Romney is invested.

These findings not only show that Romney's investment strategies support China's continued export success and profits. They also coincide with other off-shored jobs and plant closings in the United States that Bain engineered after taking on heavy debt to finance lavish executive pay-offs in highly leveraged buy-out deals.

Romney, of course, rejects the corporate raider image for which he is well-known in New England, but Bain's China deals clearly support the wide belief that Romney's rise to the financial elite has been, and continues to be, constructed on profits from raided plants and off-shored jobs, especially those sent to China.

American voters who would trust him to reverse course now, after wooing Wall Street on promises to again unleash their fast deals and casino trading, are not studying his history. Nor are they considering the continuing downgrade of factory wages in America today, and the diminishment of America's middle class, that are due to the wage competition of cheap labor abroad that Romney himself has documentably nurtured to enhance his own vast wealth.

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timbo said...

It is easy to see how the Presidential race is going by how loud and shrill Harry Austin is becoming. This rates as one of Harry's all time dumbest columns. It is hard to believe that Harry and Democrats are so unsophisticated business wise that they don't understand that when Mitt Romney was at Bain his job was to...let's see...MAKE MONEY FOR HIS INVESTORS. That is what businessmen do. It is hard to believe Harry is that stupid.

That is why the Bain argument is so ludicrous. Romney's job at the time was to run a company. Not social engineering, or saving jobs, or setting up his life to run for was to do something that is evil to people like Harry...MAKE MONEY.

As far as investing in China, most large companies, and rightfully so, saw it as a huge new market and it would have been almost criminal to ignore his fiduciary responsibility to take care of his investors money by ignoring that fact.

I will explain this to Harry like I would a child. ROMNEY IS NO LONGER THE HEAD OF BAIN CAPITAL. If you haven't noticed he is running for a different job. As a presidential candidate he is no longer an "evil" selfish businessman. He is espousing what is best for the country in regards to China.

Now, little Harry, say your prayers (that Obama won't be elected) and go to bed.

It is hard to believe just how childish these types of Democrats really are.

October 14, 2012 at 10:02 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

There are lots of legal ways to make money in America. One of the most admirable ways is to create a product or provide a needed/desired service and build a business around it. That sort of entrepreneurship is usually good for everyone because it fills a niche in the market, creates jobs, and grows the economy. Being a venture capitalist, on the other hand, while entirely legal, is probably one of the sleaziest ways to make money. The "services" provided by venture capitalists benefit no one but Wall St., all the while spitting in the face of Main St. It serves only a select few of investors and stock holders and those who are running the show at the time, like Romney did.

Romney is no longer employed by Bain but he is still heavily invested in it. If he were genuine about his supposedly "firm" stance on China (but then, Romney is not genuine about anything; he's a soul-less, empty suit who'll say whatever it takes to get elected), he would ditch all investments that create a conflict of interest. No one running for public office should have investments or issues that create conflicts of interest anyway.

Timbo says, "Romney's job at the time was to run a company. Not social engineering, or saving jobs, or setting up his life to run for was to do something that is evil to people like Harry...MAKE MONEY." You like to claim that we liberals hate people who make money and consider "profit" a dirty word. But nothing could be further from the truth. Most of us have nothing but respect for anyone who makes their money through hard work and creative entrepreneurship, and who provide needed goods or sevices. But the wheelings and dealings of venture capitalists, while it certainly takes a specific sort of expertise to be successful at it, are not high on the list of amirable money-making enterprises. Romney destroyed far more jobs than he created, and the ones that he did create were mostly in China, with people working in sweat shops, making sweat shop wages.

While people who are intent on making money are not necessarily concerned with being patriotic, someone who decides to run for president of the U.S., or indeed for any public office, should show at least some patriotic tendencies throughout the course of their life. Romney has nothing - NOTHING - to show for his life but whacked-out religious views and a penchant for wheeling and dealing to make money.

But then, that's apparently all it takes to make a good Republican today, isn't it?

October 14, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
timbo said...

Like I said you liberals don't have a clue. Thanks for proving my point..

October 15, 2012 at 9:29 a.m.
raygunz said...

timbo said...(in essence),"don't confuse me with the facts,my minds made up" LOL

October 15, 2012 at 9:38 a.m.
mkelly54 said...

timbo, it's you who doesn't have a clue.

During the first debate, Romney repeated several times that people throughout the country are hurting because of the economy. Romney is nothing more than a financial predator, who has participated in the long-term rape and destruction of the US economy. He set himself as a paid lobbyist, then went to Congress and worked to have laws changed to his/Bain's benefit.

It has taken 30 years to destroy our economy and it was take a long time to get in back on track. I don't like taking that attitude, but it's the cold, hard truth.

If Romney is such a great job creator, why did Mass rank 47th out of 50 states in job creation? Does that show an ability to create jobs? Didn't think so.

Twenty years after working to change the laws, he has the gall to question our country's current economic relations with China.

In the first debate Romney lied when he said US companies don't receive tax breaks when they off-shore. That's simply not true.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would vote for a traitor like Mitt Romney. He worked to destroy US companies, does not invest his money in the US economy and now he wants us to believe that he has a miracle cure.

I am not excited about another Obama term in the White House. However, given Romney's business and political history, and his inability to provide an actual plan for economic recovery, I cannot vote for him.

October 15, 2012 at 1:02 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Precisely, raygunz. And good comment, Mkelly.

In a roundabout way, I was even complimenting timbo. I don't know what sort of business he runs but I know he has his own business, and I made the comment that, contrary to what he and so many other conservatives like to claim, liberals do not HATE business owners and in fact respect them, as long as their business is legit and their employees are treated fairly, paid a decent wage, etc., as I assume they are at his business.

If he were willing to admit that there really are certain unscrupulous business owners - like the Koch brothers, for example - and immoral, or at least less than noble, business practices, such as venture capitalism and off-shoring jobs, it would go a long way towards establishing his credibility as a fair and objective critic. But it appears that he will defend to the death his belief that ALL free market practices are worthwhile and are not to be condemned in any way. He is obviously more intent on clinging to his impassioned belief that all liberals are just mindless, altruistic idiots, and conservatives are truly enlightened and more intelligent.

It's pretty clear that he has taken to heart the half-baked philosophy (if one dare call it that) of Ayn Rand and I bet he has read "Atlas Shrugged" a dozen times or more. He seems enamored of himself, and his inflated sense of self-importance is almost funny.

October 15, 2012 at 1:19 p.m.
timbo said...

Raygunz.. You damn right I have made up my mind, just like you and the rest of you Obamanites.

Rickaroo... Although I haven't seen Atlas Shrugged 1 or 2, I have heard it puts liberalism in its place. I have read the book many years ago.

It is much better reading than what you guys study, the "Communist Manifesto" or "Rules for Radicals" by Sal Alinski.

If liberals "respect" businessmen they have a weird way of showing it. Constant demonetization and criticism. I think they just tolerate us because we are a tax cash cow.

One last thing, business is not a morality play. It is like playing poker and has it's own set of rules. Unless you play the game you have no idea what it is like. The problem is you think your vision of what is right and moral is correct. I think it is in the eye of the beholder. I didn't think you libs were fans of absolutes.

I grew up in a liberal household. When I started a business my perspective changed and I say how wrong I had been. Both my father, who is deceased recently, and my mother are yellow dog democrats. I used to joke with Dad that if he saw Obama on live television in front of 100 preachers having sex with a goat...he would say that isn't really Obama, those aren't preachers and that was really his wife instead of a goat.

The moral to that story is that I admit my mind is made up and closed. I could never accept your "vision" because it is emotional and illogical. You guys are under the delusion that you are open minded and "enlightened." Your mind is just as closed as mine is in the other direction. You just won't admit it.

October 15, 2012 at 2:55 p.m.
rumrunr said...

timbo... like you, i am also a small business owner. that is where i stop being like you. i can see no reason not to be a progressive. only small minded people feel set upon by things that benefit the United States as a whole. my mind is not closed, it seeks what is best for my country. unfortunately,that is not neo-cons such as yourself.

October 15, 2012 at 3:27 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Thank you for that comment, rumrunr. I have the utmost respect for entrepreneurs and business owners who offer a needed product or service at a reasonable price and who treat their employees fairly and pay them a decent wage. Furthermore, I don't think of "profit" as a dirty word. Whether we own a business or work for someone else, we all want to see a net gain (profit) as a result of our labor. I imagine and hope that timbo is a decent business owner, but I honestly don't know where he gets the notion that all business owners, just by virtue of being in the business world, have to be of this tight-fisted neo-con mindset that has taken hold of today's conservatives. He acts as if making money is itself sacrosanct and it somehow takes precedence over any and all societal obligations or concerns.

You seem to have a healthy attitude about business and how it relates to the big picture. Most liberals I know - myself included - are not seeking a Marxist or all-socialist society, as the rabid right wingers so often claim. We just happen to believe in a sensible blend of capitalism and government. We used to have a pretty good system in place, economically at least, during the 50s, 60s, and into the 70s. Liberals have not gotten more extreme in our liberalism; we're just trying to restore some of the things that worked well and made for a healthy balance.

October 15, 2012 at 4:09 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Timbo, I never even heard of Sal Alinski until his name was brought up at the Republican Convention (?) and I have not read anything by him. As for the "Communist Manifesto," certainly I've read it, just as anyone should read it if they're interested in broadening their understanding of history, politics, and systems of government. It is by no means the Holy Bible of liberalism, as you and conservatives like to claim. In fact, I don't know one liberal who advocates a system of government anything close to Communism or Marxism. It is obvious that most of the conservatives and libertarians who post here and ridicule Obama for being a socialist/commumist/Marxist have not read it because they don't have a clue what real socialism is. It's always a good practice to read the literature of things you condemn, like socialism or Commumism, so that you can at least sound like you know what you're talking about.

October 15, 2012 at 5:42 p.m.
shaun said...

Timbo is a speacil can of stupid he, believes that people who screw him and others over for money are more better than himself. which makes him stupid, he actually believes Obama is hurting him,when obama is trying to level the playing field but timbo is stupid man and a satisfied LOSER

October 15, 2012 at 10:45 p.m.
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