About the best that can be said about the Republican attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital is that President Obama is going to do the same thing eventually, so GOP primary voters might as well know what’s coming. Yet that hardly absolves Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and others for their crude and damaging caricatures of modern business and capitalism.
Bain’s business model is little more than “rich people figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company,” says Mr. Gingrich, whose previous insights into free enterprise include years of defending the taxpayer-fed business of corn ethanol.
We have our policy differences with Mr. Romney, but by any reasonable
measure Bain Capital has been a net job and wealth creator. Founded in
1984 as an offshoot of the Bain consulting company, Bain Capital’s
business is a combination of private equity and venture capital. The
latter means taking a flyer on start-ups that may or may not pan out,
something that neither Mr. Gingrich nor Mr. Obama seem to find offensive
when those investments are made by Silicon Valley firms in “clean
One Bain investment during Mr. Romney’s tenure was to back an
entrepreneur named Tom Stemberg, who was convinced he could provide
savings for small-business owners if they were willing to shop at a
store instead of taking deliveries. Today, the Staples chain of
business-supply stores employs 90,000 people.
Imagine what might have happened if Chrysler or GM had been bought by
private equity two or three decades ago. They might have been turned
around much earlier, at far less pain to fewer workers, and without any