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.These are the labor conditions Romney and Bain were looking for to drive down costs. It's not clear if they actually followed through and bought this factory, but we know that moving jobs overseas was the business Romney and Bain were in. And Bain is still doing it, with the help of hefty investments from Romney. Right now, a group of workers in Illinois is pleading with Romney to keep their jobs at a company he's invested in from being sent to China.
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? (Oh...yeah, yeah!) 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.
I don't know how much American voters will care that Romney sees living 12 to a room, 120 to a bathroom, working for a "pittance" as a reasonable way for young Chinese women to live, or how much they'll care that he for one instant believed that guard towers and barbed wire are directed against people who want to get in to get jobs and not against the young women inside. But what every voter should remember is that creating those jobs and cutting good American manufacturing jobs is a big part of how Romney made (and continues to make) his hundreds of millions. And he's pointed to China as a model for the U.S. when it comes to job creation, saying that "They’re moving quickly, in part because the regulators see their job as encouraging private people." Encouraging the "private people" who own factories to make 120 of the meaningless people who work in the factories share a bathroom not just where they work but where they live.
And whether it happens by moving the jobs to China or moving Chinese practices to the United States, that's Mitt Romney's real vision for the American economy.