In W. Mitt Romney’s convention speech he spoke of workers who make $22.50 with benefits only to lose their job and take two jobs at $9 an hour.
His attempt was to describe America’s resolve in the face of the Republican Great Recession.
He was also, quite accurately, describing what his company, Bain Capital, did to American workers. They acquired companies, loaded them with debt, shipped jobs overseas and put them out of business while making billions in profits and leaving others to settle the tab.
Mitt Romney and Bain Capital also directly profited from companies that shipped jobs overseas.
Because Mitt Romney and Bain Capital purchased a factory in China that took on the demand from outsourcing from other US companies.
So they profited by increasing profits from companies they owned by shipping jobs overseas and they profited from other companies shipping jobs overseas by doing the work that used to be done in cities and towns across America.
Recently a video has surfaced of Romney discussing his trip to China to purchase this factory. During the event that was closed to reporters Mitt Romney said the following:
“When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there. It employed about 20,000 people. And they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married.
“And they work in these huge factories, they made various uh, small appliances. And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10, 10 room, rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room.
“Three bunk beds on top of each other. You’ve seen, you’ve seen them? (Audience: Oh…yeah, yes) And, and, and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And, and, we said gosh! I can’t believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! They said, no, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in…
So Mitt Romney walked through this factory, with 20,000 young women working many hours for a “pittance”, sleeping in rooms where they were stacked like cords of wood and his conclusion was: gosh, we’ll take it!
Most Americans would be disgusted.
But not Mitt Romney.
The job of the president should not be to abuse workers and to find locking them in under armed guards acceptable.
What happens, for example, if there is a fire?
The fact is that the job of the president is to be the polar opposite of Mitt Romney.
The job of the president is to help create an environment that leads to job creation in the US.
The job of the president is to encourage US companies to keep jobs here and to shine a bright spotlight that exposes human rights abuses.
We do not know what the conditions in the factory were. How their employers treated the young women. What the security was like. What happened if women wanted to leave the factory. What the hours of work were or the pittance they were paid.
But the description offered by Romney is jarring in the golly-gee-wiz description of what sounds like a nightmare existence.
Options for employment in China, especially for women, are not great. But that is not the point of this story.
The point is that someone that holds the world view of the global economy that Romney does is antithetical to the office of the President of the United States.
You can imagine some part of Romney marveling at the spreadsheet like efficiency of stacking workers like cords of wood. Making them work long shifts for little money.
His total dismissal that the women could be mistreated under these conditions is almost as shocking as his unquestioning acceptance of his Chinese counterparts explanation for the guard towers – another piece of evidence that Romney is not ready for primetime when it comes to foreign policy.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.