NEW YORK — Mitt Romney cannot run from his record at Bain Capital. So, he might as well give this speech. ...
Ladies and Gentlemen:
You have heard plenty about my previous life as a rich businessman. Yes, I made some $250 million in free enterprise and am proud I did — just as Berry Gordy is proud that he produced millions at Motown and Steve Jobs was proud he yielded billions at Apple. Like these respected and wealthy entrepreneurs, I added value, delivered products and services that people wanted and created thousands of careers along the way.
At Bain Capital, my team and I took small and sometimes struggling companies, injected cash and — eight times out of 10 — made them blossom. Among our triumphs:
Bain seeded Staples with $650,000. Its 1,500 stores now employ 88,000 people who generated $25 billion in revenues last year.
Bain helped Sports Authority boom from 10 stores to almost 700 outlets and 15,000 employees.
Brookstone reportedly was in "dire straits" before Bain's 1991 investment. It then opened 104 new shops, hired 741 people, and tripled net sales from $95 million to $270 million by 1999.
Atop private money, we added our management expertise to help our portfolio companies refine, manufacture and sell their market offerings. When we succeeded, we enjoyed the fruits of our labors. When we failed, we internalized our losses.
Contrast our venture capitalism with President Barack Obama's "venture socialism," as Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., calls it. Obama has "invested" $34.7 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees for "green" companies. The Energy Department boasts that this money has created 60,000 jobs. That equals $578,333 per position. This is nine times the private-sector cost.
Even worse, at least 10 of these companies took your tax dollars and then went broke. Beyond Solyndra and the $528 million it flushed down a solar toilet, consider these Obama-led bankruptcies:
Raser Technologies got a $33 million stimulus grant. Its geothermal ambitions turned to steam, and it went bankrupt in April 2011.
Ener1 received a $118.5 million government grant to make electric-car batteries. It lost power last Jan. 26.
Aptera scored a $150 million federal loan to make three-wheeled electric cars. It drove into a ditch last Dec. 2.
Your taxes sponsored at least six similar Obama-backed bankruptcies.
Using my Bain skills, I hope to turn around another distressed enterprise: the American economy.
The growing and uplifting economy that most of us remember can rise again. The key is to starve and sedate the federal government that expanded for decades, became fat under President George W. Bush and then, under Obama, grew morbidly obese and openly hostile to job creators.
How, specifically, can we reverse this damage? For starters:
An optional, 15 percent flat income tax would put today's flaccid 1.5 percent growth on steroids. So would cutting America's uncompetitive 35 percent corporate tax rate to 15 percent. Capping dividend and capital gains taxes at 15 percent also would electrify business investment and expansion.
A moratorium on new regulations and a critical review of Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley and other impenetrable laws would loosen and remove the red tape strangling American companies. Repealing and replacing Obamacare would be a powerful remedy.
Freeze federal spending for one year, and then cut it 1 percent every year thereafter. Obama's 49.7 percent increase in U.S. national debt (from $10.63 trillion at his inaugural to $15.91 trillion today) bought America nothing. Enough!
I have a secret weapon to make this plan succeed: the American people.
We can inspire the world again with our products, inventions and ideas. First, we must pry Uncle Sam's unaffordable, dream-crushing boots from the necks of enterprising men and women. I have maximum confidence that when Washington once again is the home of our servants and not the mansion of our masters, this republic's emancipated citizens will reconstitute the economy, the society and the nation that we love, remember and miss so much.
Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with Stanford University's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Email deroy.Murdock@mail.com.