The Romney Economy (Updated)by David Pinar on Oct. 14, 2012, under Pol. & Govt.
UPDATE: The article originally had a picture of a Sensata Technologies factory from what I considered a reliable source reported as being the Sensata factory in Freeport, IL. It was not. Thanks to commenters on this story, the inaccurate picture has been removed. I apologize sincerely for trusting information which I thought was reliable but was not. The original article also had a couple of inaccurate sentences concerning what happened when Chinese workers arrived in Freeport for training and positioning of Chinese & American flags; those have also been edited. Again, my sincere apologies for any information that has been shown to be inaccurate, it was not intentional.
Photo courtesy of American workers fighting for their jobs at
An American factory is being closed, with all it’s jobs outsourced to China. Not breaking news, but it’s important news in the context of this election. The factory is located in the northwestern Illinois town of Freeport. Before the end of the year the factory will be closed, all it’s workers out of a job. It’s a Sensata Technologies factory. It’s workers used to make auto-senors. Today, they’re training their Chinese replacements. Chinese workers who back home will earn 99 cents an hour, working 12 hour shifts, housed with 2-3 workers crammed into a single room in barracks. Mitt Romney says America needs to learn to compete with foreign countries in free trade. Compete in what? A race to the bottom? Compete with workers making 99 cents an hour housed 2-3 to a a room, while we need to earn enough to try to pay our mortgages? You can call it “free trade”, but it sure as hell isn’t fair trade. We’re supposed to compete with those wages, those worker conditions, no OSHA rules protecting the workers, no Workman’s Compensation if those workers are injured on the job, no environmental rules against dumping pollution into the air and streams? That isn’t free trade, it isn’t fair trade, that’s completely unacceptable trade. I hope the Obama Administration taxes those Chinese made auto-sensors all to hell with tariffs. Let’s see just how clever Sensata/Bain Capital thinks they are when they have to pay more for those Chinese made sensors than if they’d been made right here in the USA. You can read the stories from Sensata Freeport IL factory workers directly at Bainport.com.
Sensata Technologies is majority owned by Bain Capital. Late last year Sensata/Bain purchased this Freeport IL auto-sensing unit from Honeywell. The very next day after the purchase was completed Sensata/Bain assembled all the workers and told them they would all be losing their jobs, that all the production would be outsourced to China. Was this factory unprofitable, with the “crushing” tax burden Republicans claim is placed on American businesses? Nope. Was this factory unprofitable because of “over paid”, “unproductive” American workers? Nope, this factory was very profitable – Sensata/Bain simply thinks it can be more profitable paying workers 99 cents an hour in China.
Mitt Romney recently said on the campaign trail in Ohio: “How is it China’s been so successful in taking away our jobs?. Well, let me tell you how: by cheating”. Well, Mitt Romney should know. From the New York Times:
The tale of Asimco Technologies, an auto parts manufacturer whose plants dot eastern China, would seem to underscore Mitt Romney’s campaign-trail complaint that China’s manufacturing juggernaut is costing America jobs. Nine years ago, the company bought two camshaft factories that employed about 500 people in Michigan. By 2007 both were shut down. Now Asimco manufactures the same components in China on government-donated land in a coastal region that China has designated an export base, where companies are eligible for the sort of subsidies Mr. Romney says create an unfair trade imbalance.
But there is a twist to the Asimco story that would not fit neatly into a Romney stump speech: Since 2010, it has been owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mr. Romney, who has as much as $2.25 million invested in three Bain funds with large stakes in Asimco and at least seven other Chinese businesses, according to his 2012 candidate financial disclosure and other documents.
A confidential prospectus for one of the Bain funds, obtained by The New York Times, promotes China as a “great investment”. It cites that Chinese manufacturing wages are 85 percent lower than what Americans earn. According to 2012 candidate financial disclosures and public records, Romney has as much as $250,000 in the Bain Capital Asia Fund and as much as $1 million each in Bain Capital Funds IX and X, all Cayman Islands entities used by Bain to make sizable investments in China. Among those funds’ holdings is $234 million that Bain invested in 2009 in Gome Electrical Appliances, a major Chinese retailer that was accused by Microsoft this year of selling computers with pirated software. Mitt Romney is an astute businessman, and he sure knows a thing or two about how China has taken away our jobs by cheating – because Mitt Romney has profited handsomely from that very cheating.
Well, to be fair, Mitt hasn’t always profited handsomely from some of his Chinese investments. In 2008 Bain planned to team up with a Chinese technology giant Huawei to buy 3Com, a network equipment maker that supplies software and equipment to the Pentagon and other federal agencies. The deal collapsed, resulting in a a lawsuit, when the Bush administration released intelligence reports indicating that Huawei, which was founded by a former People’s Liberation Army officer, posed national security problems. Just this week the (Republican) House Intelligence Committee report released Monday said Huawei continued to have troubling connections to the Chinese government.
But wait a minute, you say? Romney no longer has any connection to Bain Capital, his holdings have been in a blind trust since he became Governor of Massachusetts in 2003? Well, Mitt Romney is an astute businessman, and he knows a thing or two about how blind trusts work. Let him explain it to you:
The blind trust is an age old ruse. You can always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do. You give a blind trust rules.
Age old ruse notwithstanding, ABC New is reporting Mitt Romney’s Blind Trust Not So Blind:
But government ethics experts and election lawyers told ABC News that Romney’s trust might not be quite as blind as he has long maintained. That’s because Romney placed his quarter-billion dollar family fortune in the hands of his personal lawyer and longtime associate Bradford Malt. Federal officeholders are required to either fully disclose all their financial holdings and any possible conflicts of interest, or place their holdings in a blind trust. Robert Kelner, a Republican election lawyer in Washington, D.C. with no ties to a current presidential campaign, explained the federal rules governing those blind trusts. “The Office of Government Ethics requires that a financial institution be appointed as the trustee and that the financial institution not be controlled by or have done business with the candidate,” said Kelner. “It would preclude you from hiring your favorite lawyer as the trustee.”
Romney filed his financial disclosure report this past August. It revealed that his “blind trust” had invested over $1 million in the Solamere Founders Fund. Solamere is managed by Tagg Romney, Mitt’s son.
Romney claimed in the first debate that “his plan” will create 12 million jobs in the next four years. Mitt Romney is an astute businessman – he didn’t tell us where those jobs would be created. Who do you trust to continue rebuilding our economy for the next four years? The guy who thinks that because Chinese manufacturing wages are 85 percent lower than America’s it’s a fantastic investment opportunity? The guy who said “Let Detroit go bankrupt”? Or the guy that said our automakers were too important to let them fail?
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