The Betrayal of the American Dream -- A Once Vibrant Middle Class Is Now on the Brink
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AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to his role—oh, go ahead, Don.
DONALD BARLETT: Well, just, we need to point out, you know, all these pleas for him to release the rest of his tax returns, which every candidate has always done. And he’s, "That’s it. You’re not getting any more from me." And people wondering—
AMY GOODMAN: And his father, George Romney, set the precedent by doing it for 12 years when he ran for president.
DONALD BARLETT: Yeah, yeah, 12 years, exactly. Well, his father was kind of a straight arrow compared to Mitt. I mean, but we wondered, in the back of our minds—there may not be anything in those returns, but he may be amending them furiously. And this is what candidates do once they reach a point where, "Oh, my god, this is going to become public. We’ve got to go back and clean up the returns."
AMY GOODMAN: How do you clean it up?
DONALD BARLETT: Well, you file an amended return. And that’s not uncommon. "Aw, gee, we had a mistake here. We need to correct that."
AMY GOODMAN: And so it completely replaces the one that was there.
DONALD BARLETT: Exactly, exactly. And in our minds, we think, you know, that’s the more likely thing that’s going on here. It’s not that they’re afraid of something in those returns; it’s that they are being sanitized.
AMY GOODMAN: Earlier this month, Mitt Romney gave a series of television interviews defending his role at Bain Capital. This is Romney speaking to CNN’s Jim Acosta.
MITT ROMNEY: There’s nothing wrong with being associated with Bain Capital, of course, but the truth is that I left any role at Bain Capital in February of '99. And that's known and said by the people at the firm. It’s said by the documents, offering documents that the firm made subsequently about people investing in the firm. And I think anybody who knows that I was out full-time running the Olympics would understand that’s where I was. I spent three years running the Olympic Games. And after that was over, we worked out our retirement program, our departure official program from Bain Capital and handed over the shares I had. But there’s a difference between being a shareholder, an owner, if you will, and being a person who’s running an entity. And I had no role whatsoever in managing Bain Capital after February of 1999.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Mitt Romney speaking on CNN. James Steele?
JAMES STEELE: I think that that whole story is still probably evolving and developing, exactly where he was at that time. It’s just one of the reasons it would be nice to see the tax returns, to see exactly what some of that material said at the time. But I think the most significant thing about Bain isn’t just that period of time. Bain, like every one of the private hedge funds, the private equity funds, very much involved in basically killing jobs one way or another, and—because when they take over a company, people are jettisoned, let loose, streamed down. Sometimes the work is sent offshore. And that’s just the way they work, and they’ve always worked that way, whether it was when he was there or after. It’s just the common way all those private equity funds function.
And I think that’s why so much of a furor has built up about this, because people know this. I mean, that’s the thing we found out when we went around the country and we talked to people here and there. People know what’s going on in this country. They know a lot of the deck is being stacked against them. They know that they’re almost powerless when one of those companies buys a company. I mean, some very famous companies, like Birds Eye, were bought by another private equity firm, Blackstone—all kinds of people let go, the company is supposedly streamlined. You see that sort of thing across industries—food, computers, technology, so forth. That’s just the way that process works, and that’s just how the deck is so stacked against the average person and in favor of the equity companies.