I came to be a Mitt Romney supporter by way of my anybody-but-Obama inclinations. That is no longer the case. Now I am firmly in the pro-Romney camp, and that change is the result of me taking the time to get familiar with his record, thinking about the major problems facing America today, and what he can bring to the job. Now I’m of the mind that Mitt Romney is the right man for the right job at the right time. This makes him unique in presidential politics, and offers us the compelling chance to vote our consciences, instead of for the lesser of two evils.
Words I would use to describe Mitt Romney: Moderate. Moral. Man of his word. Business acumen. Leadership skills. Political experience. No modern president of the United States can lay claim to all these descriptors, and they provide a stark contrast to what President Obama has brought to the job. These might seem like vague terms, but once I’m finished presenting the case for Mitt Romney, I think you might be inclined to agree. I’ve broken this down into the three major issues that I think take precedence over everything else in America right now: The economy, jobs, and budgets.
Mitt Romney is a good choice for the economy because of his record producing financial growth. This record extends from the time he graduated from Harvard with a dual Law/MBA degree. Shortly thereafter he went to work for Bain & Company, a management consulting company, where he worked for 7 years, from 1977-1984. There he and his peers created what was eventually called “the Bain way,” which was more than just offering advice, but actively working with companies to implement recommended changes. He became Vice President of the company one year after being hired.
In 1984, with the blessing of Bill Bain, creator of Bain & Company, Romney started an offshoot of the business, the private equity firm Bain Capital. This firm would buy into companies, creating a greater stake than merely consulting on management. According to the LA Times, which hired Stanford economics lecturer Alex Gould to review Bain’s prospectus, the company averaged an 88% rate of return on investment (ROI). To put that in perspective, the current average ROI for hedge funds is 40-50%. Gould made the point that if an investor had gotten in on the ground floor with $1 million dollars in 1984 and left that money there until Romney left for the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympics in 1999, the compensation payout would have been $12 billion dollars. Imagine our economy if Mitt Romney could do that for America.
But let’s look more closely at his record at Bain Capital. You’ve most likely heard the stories of factories that Bain Capital had to close down. But did you know that that Bain company successfully salvaged 80% of the troubled companies they bought into? From the NYT:
The private equity firm, co-founded and run by Mitt Romney, held a majority stake in more than 40 United States-based companies from its inception in 1984 to early 1999, when Mr. Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. Of those companies, at least seven eventually filed for bankruptcy while Bain remained involved, or shortly afterward, according to a review by The New York Times.
Everyone and everything can’t be saved all the time, especially in a struggling economy and with companies that have had a history of making poor choices. So while seven companies went under, 33 companies were saved, and many of their employees got to keep their jobs. On balance, I’d prefer this record over Obama’s current record.
In 1999, Romney left Bain Capital to preside over the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics. When Romney took over, the games were plagued by scandals that had rocked the world gaming community and threatened the sponsorships on which every Olympics relies to fund events. Through his leadership abilities, Romney was able to restore honor and cooperation among sponsors, gained new sponsors, closed a $370 million dollar shortfall, and successfully pulled off a memorable Winter Olympics that saw a profit of $100 million, at least $40 million of which was set aside for maintenance of the newly built Utah Olympic Park. This is an extraordinary feat considering that most Olympic games result in debts, not profits. So Mitt Romney came on board with a $370 million deficit, raised enough to spend $1.2 billion on the games, and turned a $100 million dollar profit. Imagine if he could do that for America.
In 2003, Mitt Romney became the 70th Governor of Massachusetts, one of the bluest states in the union. His governance of the state economy also suggests that Romney has what it takes to lead America back to prosperity. In his inaugural address, he said he’d bring a “lighter, more agile bureaucracy.” And he did. When he took office, the state faced a $3 billion budget deficit. Over his tenure, he eliminated $1.5 billion in debt via cuts and fee increases. This is the strategy roughly espoused by current economic thinking, except instead of fees, they’d like to see taxes raised. As a taxpaying American voter, I’d prefer to see fees increased, as fees are often voluntary where taxes are not. But he also cut spending by $1.6 billion, partly by restructuring government. Between the restructuring, spending cuts, and fee increases, Massachusetts generated $501 million in new income in his first year in office, more than any other state in the union. Midway through his first term, the state started showing surpluses for the time in decades. He did all of this with a hostile state legislature comprised of 85% Democrats. Imagine if Mitt Romney could bring these dynamics to play in Washington.
It appears as if Mitt Romney has the golden touch when it comes to smart fiscal policy and economic growth. Through careful planning, sound policy, and the ability to persuade those of an opposing view point to his side, he has created economic growth in every job he has held. Mitt Romney is the man we need to restore prosperity to our economy, and in that, most Americans can benefit. Continue reading