Bain & Co.’s government bailout

Oh, shit.

The FDIC agreed to accept nearly $5 million in cash to retire $15 million in Bain’s debt – an immediate government bailout of $10 million. All told, the FDIC estimated it would recoup just $14 million of the $30 million that Romney’s firm owed the government.

It was a raw deal – but Romney’s threat to loot his own firm had left the government with no other choice. If the FDIC had pushed Bain into bankruptcy, the records reveal, the agency would have recouped just $3.56 million from the firm.

Not surprisingly, the reason Romney resorted to fairly revolting measures to save the company was to protect his reputation as a sharp, savvy businessman:

Romney had a direct stake in the survival of Bain & Company: He had been working to build the Bain brand his entire career, and felt he had to save the firm at all costs. After all, Bain sold top-dollar strategic advice to big businesses about how to protect themselves from going bust. If Bain & Company went bankrupt, recalls the Romney deputy, “anyone associated with them would have looked clownish.”

This is, of course, the very same reputation on which he’s currently attempting to coast into the presidency. Let’s let that go, shall we? Bain was never a company that “created jobs,” not in the traditional General Motors sense, anyway. But maybe, like Bush before him, Romney wasn’t even a particularly talented manager or capitalist. And maybe we should stop being suckered by the shiny glamor that seems, in our society, to attach to the title of “CEO.”

Personally, I’d like to see Romney run on his record as a successful, moderate governor of Massachusetts. But, you know, hell freezing over and all that.

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