Next thing you know, Mitt Romney will say
critics of monopolies are attacking economic freedom
Mitt Romney's "new" Bain strategy appears to be
more of the same. Instead of directly answering questions about how Bain profited from bankrupting companies and laying off workers, they'll run ads saying he also invested in companies that created jobs:
Romney adviser Kevin Madden said they’re confident they’ll quash those attacks with their new rebuttal.
“For every scare story that they try to present related to the governor’s experience in the private sector and free enterprise,” Madden said, “we can point to a whole host of successful enterprises that have resulted in job creation and wealth and prosperity.”
Of course, saying Mitt Romney created jobs in company X doesn't explain why he was able to profit from destroying jobs in company Y. But instead of explaining that, Romney is falling back on the crutch of "criticizing me is criticizing capitalism."
“Our identification with core Republican principles helps us in the primary,” said one senior Romney adviser, who asked not to be identified. “Being in favor of capitalism is always a major positive in the Republican primary.”
But that's pious baloney. Nobody—not a Romney rival, not President Obama—is questioning the notion of free enterprise. Nobody is saying that it's inherently wrong for companies to lay off workers or cut expenses. What people are saying is that bust-out artists are the lowest of the low. But instead of defending himself, Romney's response is that criticizing bust-out artists is an assault on economic freedom:
Romney’s also engaged his surrogates to mount a line of attack that’s been circulating among Republican pundits since the Bain firestorm began at the NBC News/Facebook debate on Sunday: GOP presidential candidates who attack Romney for working in finance are anti-capitalist.
“We have a real problem when we have Republicans talking like danged Democrats against the free market. We believe in the free market,” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said at a Romney rally here Wednesday evening. “We want companies to be able to do what is best for companies and during tough times, you downsize and you make hard decisions and during good times, you expand and you help the businesses grow more. That’s what he’s done. He’s done what every business has tried to do.”
That's just nonsense. Again, nobody is saying that it's inherently wrong for a company to reduce its workforce. Sometimes that's what a business has to do in order to strengthen itself over the long haul. But that's not what we're talking about here.
It would be one thing if Mitt Romney and his investors lost money when companies went out of business—but they didn't. They profited from failure. Questioning whether or not that's a good thing isn't an attack on capitalism or economic freedom. It's just good common sense.