The New York Observer wondered if Barack Obama might consider giving back some of the cash the ostensibly evil private equity industry has contributed to his campaign. They were particularly curious about the $7500 he’s received from executives of Bain Capital – that notorious den of corporate vampires, with offices in the United States, Asia, Europe, India, and Mordor.
Obama’s campaign press secretary, Ben LaBolt, released a billowing cloud of pettifog:
“No one aside from Mitt Romney is running for President highlighting their tenure as a corporate buyout specialist as one of job creation, when in fact, his goal was profit maximization,” said Mr. LaBolt. ”The President has support from business leaders across industries who have seen him pull the economy back from the brink of another depression, manufacturing and the auto industry revived, and support his agenda to build an economy that lasts where America out-innovates and out-educates the rest of the world and economic security for the middle class is restored.”
That’s an interesting non-answer in a couple of ways. The most obvious, whose irony probably escapes LaBolt entirely, is that the “auto industry revival” he boasted of involved the very same activity his boss has been excoriating Mitt Romney for: a capital infusion into a failing business, during which a great many people lost their jobs.
Of course, the two signal differences are that (1) Romney didn’t seize other people’s money by force to get his “investment capital” the way Obama did, and (2) Mitt Romney is a million times better at capital investment and corporate rescue than the hapless Obama. Bain’s primary activity involved purchasing and renovating troubled enterprises. As Romney recently pointed out, they had an 80 percent success rate, while only 5 percent of their investments went bankrupt – and they were deliberately taking on tough jobs.
Try to imagine Mitt showing up at a Bain meeting and trying to pass off a $26 billion loss like General Motors as a “smashing success.” He’d be lucky if the shareholders settled for holding him down and cutting his hair in revenge. Conversely, if Obama tried to claim 80 percent success or 5 percent bankruptcy rates for his endless “green energy” failures, he’d be wrapped in a straitjacket and carried away on a stretcher.
This very point was made to DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz by Will Cain of The Blaze during a CNN segment today, essentially short-circuiting Wasserman Schultz and causing her to begin babbling something about cocoanuts:
Don’t be too hard on the DNC chair. Nobody from her party has an answer for this point. It’s the hard-Left equivalent of a “divide by zero” error.
The other interesting bit from LaBolt’s statement is the slam against profit, which is an integral part of Obama’s bizarre campaign against capitalism.
Of course Romney’s goal was “profit maximization.” What other goal would he have? The pursuit of profit is, in fact, the only ultimate goal that can be expected of free people. Every other goal can only be forced upon them.
Some people enter business with a freely chosen goal other than maximizing their profits. That’s fine, when the choice is made voluntarily, although businesses run with other priorities often have trouble surviving. Even charitable operations are usually trying to maximize the return on their investment, with the resulting profit dedicated to charity.
Economic liberty relies upon voluntary investment. It’s difficult to raise substantial capital without promising a return to investors. There are odd exceptions here and there, but when we consider the great engines driving American prosperity, we are watching an atomic burst of voluntary transactions, made always with the expectation of increased value.
When you purchase a pair of shoes for $20, you value the shoes more than the twenty-dollar bill, and everything else you could have bought with it. When you work an hour of overtime, you value the money earned more than the free time you’ve given up. Capital investors are doing exactly the same thing, on a larger scale. Every party in a voluntary transaction believes they are profiting in some way… or they wouldn’t agree to participate.
That’s why Barack Obama is at war with capitalism. He’s always been deeply suspicious of the profit motive. Both the President and his mouthpieces bad-mouth the pursuit of profit constantly. Obama is famous for asserting the right to judge when other people have “made enough money.” Some people shouldn’t be allowed to make money at all. Everyone should be required to clear their plans for making money with Obama and his minions.
If you don’t believe in profit, you don’t believe in freedom. Once you concede the pursuit of profit should be limited by government power, without the accusation of any crime or fraud, you have abandoned liberty, by placing it in the hands of politicians for re-distribution according to their judgment.
What’s the difference between “clean” and “dirty” private equity? If your answer is not “whatever Barack Obama says,” then don’t vote for him.