Matt Taibbi Reveals How Romney Made His Fortune -- It Ain't Pretty, and He Shouldn't Be Proud of It
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Romney is—you know, the old-school industrialists, like Mitt Romney’s father, they were men and women who built communities. They had factory towns. They were very anxious to leave, you know, hard legacies that people could see: hospitals, churches, schools—you know, the Hersheys of the world, the Kelloggs. But these new owners have absolutely no allegiance to American workers, American places, American communities. Their only allegiance is to the investors and to themselves. And so, it’s not at all uncharacteristic to have these situations where people are pleading for their jobs or they’re saying, you know, "We’ll tighten our belts, if you just make this concession and keep us." That’s irrelevant to the Mitt Romney-slash-Bain Capital-slash-Carlyle Groups of the world. They’re entirely about making profits. And if that means shipping jobs to China or eliminating jobs, that’s what they’re going to do. And that’s the new generation of corporate owners in this country.
AMY GOODMAN: Matt, last month, Mitt Romney gave a series of TV interviews defending his role at Bain Capital. This is Mitt 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 for 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 was Mitt Romney on CNN. Matt Taibbi, he’s referring to the—that time gap, 1999, when he said he left, to 2000, 2001, 2002. The significance of this?
MATT TAIBBI: You know, I don’t think it’s terribly important whether he was actively sitting at the helm during that time or whether he was just passively accepting the vast amounts of money that were sent his way as the result of the deals that were concluded at that time. Again, Mitt Romney—well, I’m sorry, Bain Capital took over KB Toys during that disputed time period and made an enormous profit. I think their profit was something like $100 million out of that deal. And Mitt Romney shared in that, in that largesse, even whether he was, you know, actively strategizing or not. You know, the groundwork for deals like that had been laid in the decades before that where he was actively involved in deals like taking over a company like Ampad, which was a very similar deal to the KB deal. So, it’s irrelevant to me, and I think it should be irrelevant to everybody, whether he was actually working there or not. He shared in the profits and clearly didn’t have a problem with any of those deals.
AMY GOODMAN: Matt Taibbi, you have said that Mitt Romney’s fortune would not have been possible without the direct assistance of the U.S. government.
MATT TAIBBI: Yes, there’s a tax deduction for all that borrowed money. So, when Mitt Romney or Bain Capital, when they want to go take over a company like KB Toys and they borrow $300 million to do it, and that new debt becomes the debt of KB Toys, when KB pays the debt service, the monthly service on that debt, that service is deductible. And if that were not true, if they did not have that deduction, these deals would not be economically feasible. They wouldn’t be possible. I spoke to one former regulator from the SEC, who worked both in theSEC and as an accountant at a Big Four accounting firm, and he reviewed a number of these deals in both a public and private capacity. And he said, without that deduction, he’s never seen a deal that would have been economically—a private equity deal that would have been economically feasible. So, this entire business model depends upon a tax break.