As Mitt Romney defends his record running a private equity firm, he frequently points to a fast-growing Indiana steel company, financed in part by Bain Capital, that now employs 6,000 workers.
What Romney doesn't mention is that Steel Dynamics also received generous tax breaks and other subsidies provided by the state of Indiana and the residents of DeKalb County, where the company's first mill was built.
The story of Bain and Steel Dynamics illustrates how Romney, during his business career, made avid use of public-private partnerships, something that many conservatives consider to be "corporate welfare."
According to the L.A. Times report, Bain earned $85 million from its Steel Dynamics investment—thanks in part to $37 million in subsidies and grants from state and local governments in Indiana. Steel Dynamics is now a multi-billion dollar company, but despite Romney present-day rhetoric about the evils of government involvement in the private sector, it never have gotten off the ground without government aid.
It's the kind of story that puts the lie to Mitt Romney's claim that it's President Obama who is a crony capitalist. Turns out, Mitt should have been talking about himself.
But at least in this story, we're talking about a company that still exists. As the L.A. Times story notes, that hasn't always been the case when it comes to Romney and government subsidies. When GS Industries went bankrupt, 700 workers lost their jobs—but before going out of business, Bain Capital cashed out with large dividend payments, locking in millions of dollars in profits but leaving behind an unemployed workforce and an underfunded pension plan. In the end, the federal government got stuck with a $44 million bill to bailout the firm's pension plan.
And let's not forget that Mitt Romney even got federal aid for Bain & Co., the consulting firm at which he started his career. In 1993, he secured $10 million in debt forgiveness. Once again, Mitt Romney profited ... and left others holding the bag.
Mitt Romney's pulled some amazing tricks over the course of his career, but he's on the verge of pulling off his most amazing feat yet: convincing Republicans that his record at Bain is the living, breathing embodiment of free enterprise.