Monday, October 15, 2012


Wow. I mean, just, wow. This is bone-crushing. Ronald Reagan's budget director, David Stockman, simply OBLITERATES Willard in this devastating article. There are many highlights; here are a few:

...Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses. He did not build enterprises the old-fashioned way—out of inspiration, perspiration, and a long slog in the free market fostering a new product, service, or process of production. Instead, he spent his 15 years raising debt in prodigious amounts on Wall Street so that Bain could purchase the pots and pans and castoffs of corporate America, leverage them to the hilt, gussy them up as reborn “roll-ups,” and then deliver them back to Wall Street for resale—the faster the better.

That is the modus operandi of the leveraged-buyout business, and in an honest free-market economy, there wouldn't be much scope for it because it creates little of economic value. But we have a rigged system—a regime of crony capitalism—where the tax code heavily favors debt and capital gains, and the central bank purposefully enables rampant speculation by propping up the price of financial assets and battering down the cost of leveraged finance.


The secret was leverage, luck, inside baseball, and the peculiar asymmetrical dynamics of the leveraged gambling carried on by private-equity shops. LBO funds are invested as equity at the bottom of a company’s capital structure, which means that the lenders who provide 80 to 90 percent of the capital have no recourse to the private-equity sponsor if deals go bust. Accordingly, LBO funds can lose 1X (one times) their money on failed deals, but make 10X or even 50X on the occasional “home run.” During a period of rising markets, expanding valuation multiples, and abundant credit, the opportunity to “average up” the home runs with the 1X losses is considerable; it can generate a spectacular portfolio outcome. 

In a nutshell, that’s the story of Bain Capital during Mitt Romney’s tenure. The Wall Street Journal examined 77 significant deals completed during that period based on fundraising documents from Bain, and the results are a perfect illustration of bull-market asymmetry. Overall, Bain generated an impressive $2.5 billion in investor gains on $1.1 billion in investments. But 10 of Bain’s deals accounted for 75 percent of the investor profits.

Accordingly, Bain’s returns on the overwhelming bulk of the deals—67 out of 77—were actually lower than what a passive S&P 500 indexer would have earned even without the risk of leverage or paying all the private-equity fees. Investor profits amounted to a prosaic 0.7X the original investment on these deals and, based on its average five-year holding period, the annual return would have computed to about 12 percent—well below the 17 percent average return on the S&P in this period.

The startling fact is that four of the 10 Bain Capital home runs ended up in bankruptcy, and for an obvious reason: Bain got its money out at the top of the Greenspan boom in the late 1990s and then these companies hit the wall during the 2000-02 downturn, weighed down by the massive load of debt Bain had bequeathed them. In fact, nearly $600 million, or one third of the profits earned by the home-run companies, had been extracted from the hide of these four eventual debt zombies. 

Read the whole thing, folks. There's MUCH more, including the story of how Willard and friends stripped and looted companies with icy efficiency. Romney's lying, ridiculous claim to be "qualified" for the presidency is his so-called "business expertise". The only thing he's ever been an expert on is gaming the system so as to line his own pockets more efficiently. Read Stockman's warning--and GET THE WORD OUT!

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