In campaigns, as in life, it is easy to profess support for an agenda or policy to garner support from like-minded voters even though the candidate’s actions are in stark contrast to their purported position on any number of subjects. There are sayings like, “talk is cheap” or “actions speak louder than words” that voters should pay heed to when selecting a candidate to serve in any position, but especially if the candidate seeks the presidency. Willard “Mitt” Romney is renowned for changing his position on any topic depending on his audience, and his practice was on display in Michigan where he attempted to curry favor with unions and auto workers after claiming the federal government should have let the automobile industry fail costing hundreds-of-thousands of jobs directly, and countless more indirectly. Now, Romney claims he loves the auto industry and that he wants it to thrive and grow.
In November 2008, Romney wrote an op/ed titled, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” and warned that “if General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.” The Bush Administration gave the automakers a bailout that President Obama proposed increasing that inspired Romney’s assertion the industry should fail. Romney’s company, Bain Capital, leveraged one of their companies with crushing debt and bankruptcy, and had to be bailed out by a federal agency as Bain walked away with a hefty profit. Now, Romney claims the auto industry should have went through a managed bankruptcy that is precisely what the Obama Administration implemented. The bailout’s results are an undeniable success with Chrysler posting its first profit in more than a decade last year and expects profits to continue growing in 2012. It has hired enough workers to make up for all those laid off during the recession, and American and foreign automakers plan to add 167,000 jobs at American plants this year. Since the Obama Administration bailout, the success of Chrysler and General Motors has helped American automakers control more than half of the industry’s market share.
Willard’s plan of preference now is to sell investors the government’s share’s in the industry, let the industry falter, and leave taxpayers in the lurch. It is not surprising Romney is pushing the tactic he employed while head of Bain Capital where investors like himself reaped the huge profits when Bain leveraged nearly 25% of the companies they managed into debt, forced them into bankruptcy, and walked away with billions of dollars in profits. One of Bain’s procedures to help struggling businesses was firing employees, re-hiring them back at lower wages without union representation or benefits, or closing the business and shipping jobs overseas. Romney’s actions speak louder than his campaign rhetoric. He says he loves the auto industry, but only if private investors and bond traders reap profits at the expense of jobs and America’s economic health that owes much to labor unions.
In Michigan, Romney praised union labor saying, “labor unions play an important role in our society and are an important part of America’s economy.” Last week in Florida however, Romney slammed unions and claimed, “Once upon a time, labor unions fought to secure important protections for American workers and help our economy grow. Unfortunately, today they stand as obstacles to growth and fight against the workers they are supposed to serve.” Willard continued that, “I’ve taken on union bosses before. I’m happy to take them on again,” and the truth is that while at Bain Capital, a standard procedure was eliminating union labor and re-hiring workers at reduced wages that punished workers so investors could reap higher profits. If elected president, Romney promises to support states pursuing right-to-work laws, amend the National Labor Relations Act, prohibit unions from using dues for politics, and reverse an executive order from President Barack Obama requiring government agencies to use union labor on some projects. Based on his actions at Bain Capital and campaign promises, Romney’s sudden pro-union stance is a lie to curry favor with voters in Michigan.
Many pundits and critics claim one never knows exactly where Romney stands on the issues, and voters may have the same quandary. Instead of listening to Willard’s ever-changing stance on unions and the automobile industry, they need just look at his record during his tenure at Bain Capital. His faux concern for labor and a healthy auto industry is contrary to the practices that made him and his elite friends incredibly wealthy, and his preference to sell the government’s interest in the auto industry to bond traders leaving taxpayers holding the bag belie his alleged regard for the nation’s economy. Throughout the Republican primary race, Romney has proven time and time again that his talk is cheap, but his actions speak louder than his pandering lies and if any voter wants to fully understand Romney’s real intentions for America, they can look no further than his job-killing, union-busting record while he headed Bain Capital and know that regardless what lies he tells now, he will revert to what he was good at; destroying businesses, jobs, and getting fantastically wealthy in the process.