Bain the scrappy little start-up
Krugman is as gobsmacked as the rest of us by Romney's claim last night that he "came through small business" and “understands how hard it is to start a small business”:
Now, as I understand it, Romney first went to work for Bain and Company, a management consultancy. Then he founded Bain Capital, the private-equity spinoff that took him from being rich — his starting point — to being incredibly rich.
This merits the claim, ” I came though small business”???
Well, it certainly explains why he's so adamant about keeping those tax rates low for millionaires. He sees vulture capitalists like himself as scrappy small businessmen --- the backbone of the American economy struggling to get by. Which is why they need some "tax relief." It isn't the first time that he's sold this bogus tale as "pulling himself up by his bootstraps." Here's an excerpt from his acceptance speech in Tampa:
I learned the real lessons about how America works from experience.
When I was 37, I helped start a small company. My partners and I had been working for a company that was in the business of helping other businesses.
So some of us had this idea that if we really believed our advice was helping companies, we should invest in companies. We should bet on ourselves and on our advice.
So we started a new business called Bain Capital. The only problem was, while WE believed in ourselves, nobody else did. We were young and had never done this before and we almost didn't get off the ground. In those days, sometimes I wondered if I had made a really big mistake. I had thought about asking my church's pension fund to invest, but I didn't. I figured it was bad enough that I might lose my investors' money, but I didn't want to go to hell too. Shows what I know. Another of my partners got the Episcopal Church pension fund to invest. Today there are a lot of happy retired priests who should thank him.
That business we started with 10 people has now grown into a great American success story.
It was tough. Some of his investors --- among them central American right wing oligarchs who were funding the death squads --- were upset about the quality of the caviar at one of their meetings and threatened to walk. Nightmare.
I think he sincerely believes that his experience is akin to the guy in Nebraska who's trying to open up a Burger King franchise. And he's right. Except for the famous name, the Harvard education, the ties to Bain and Company, the political connections, the personal wealth and the golden rolodex, there's very little difference. He knows that all that guy needs is a capital gains tax break and the next thing you know he'll have a 200 million dollar IRA too.
Update: Howie has more. Much more.