A WINGTIP IN THE FACE FOREVER
His column doesn't have the visibility of an infinitely reproducible Cory Booker video clip, but David Brooks, Mitt Romney's principal voice on the New York Times op-ed page, is not exactly an ideal surrogate. Here's what he published today as a paean to the glories of private equity, and a rebuke to that evil socialist Obama:
Research from around the world clearly confirms that companies that have been acquired by private equity firms are more productive than comparable firms.
This process involves a great deal of churn and creative destruction. It does not, on net, lead to fewer jobs. A giant study by economists from the University of Chicago, Harvard, the University of Maryland and the Census Bureau found that when private equity firms acquire a company, jobs are lost in old operations. Jobs are created in new, promising operations. The overall effect on employment is modest.
Oh boy -- private equity is a zero-sum game! And it doesn't really increase employment! Gosh, where do we sign up?
This is a potential problem from Romney -- his side sings the job-creating praises of his work at Bain, his opponents talk about job losses ... and folks like Brooks who purport to be objective observers in the middle say: well, actually, on balance we don't lose jobs or gain jobs as a result of private equity. The winners win, the losers lose. The real winners, of course, are the people (like Romney) who work the levers.
For ordinary Americans, this is supposed to be an improvement on the status quo how exactly?
But to Brooks -- he of the newly purchased $4 million house -- this actually should be enticing to ordinary Americans:
Forty years ago, corporate America was bloated, sluggish and losing ground to competitors in Japan and beyond. But then something astonishing happened. Financiers, private equity firms and bare-knuckled corporate executives initiated a series of reforms and transformations.
The process was brutal and involved streamlining and layoffs. But, at the end of it, American businesses emerged leaner, quicker and more efficient....
The implicit argument of the Republican campaign is that Mitt Romney has the experience to extend this transformation into government....
In a country that desperately wants change, I have no idea why a party would not compete to be the party of change and transformation...
Yes, I simply can't imagine why a party wouldn't want to identify itself with a "brutal" process that "involved streamlining and layoffs" and has an "overall effect on employment" that's "modest." It's baffling!
And Brooks knows just where Mitt's going to look for efficiencies if he's president:
While American companies operate in radically different ways than they did 40 years ago, the sheltered, government-dominated sectors of the economy -- especially education, health care and the welfare state -- operate in astonishingly similar ways.
The implicit argument of the Republican campaign is that Mitt Romney has the experience to extend this transformation into government.
Um, how would that work exactly? Are capitalists going to buy underperforming schools, fire the teachers, sell the buildings and football stadiums at a profit, and outsource the 3 R's to Mexico?