Saturday, March 10, 2012

Romney's Vulture Capitalist Presidency

As brilliant a piece of writing as I've read about this election cycle. Walter Kirn analyzes Romney's campaign as Romney himself does, as a business move, the presidency as an acquirable asset whose obligations can be disposed of, as the seemingly friendly takeover of a company for the purposes of taking its assets and selling them, seizing its pension fund to put to "better uses" (better than paying retired people for their life's toil), downsizing, laying off, offloading, scrapping, exporting facilities, all the while paying huge consulting fees to yourself and your chums in the closely held partnership. The gleam in Romney's eye is a microchip.

The presidential candidate as vulture capitalist, who will take over a company and leave not even bones behind, absorbing what's useful to the private firm and its partners, selling what's sellable, and using up or dumping everything else. George W. Bush was the old fashioned preppy boob MBA, the kind that used to sleep through Ivy League and grad school and accept the desk reserved for them on Wall Street, where they were too obtuse to do much harm.

(Calvin Trillin, a few years ago, wrote an excellent explanation of the old safe kind of Wall Street idiot from Andover and Yale.)

Romney is the newer, more cold-blooded kind, the kind that knows what it's doing and exactly how much it's after in billions, greedy rather than lazy, for whom every person is a number, every working person is a liability and a disposable obligation. A dog to put on the roof of the car. I don't think Romney minded much when the old setter ran away while they were in Canada. And notice the pooch didn't find his way back to the Romney home like in the old Disney movie.

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