Mitt Romney Explains What He Learned At Bain Capital

Tyler Durden's picture

Since the GOP presidential candidate still refuses to give any substantial details on how the republicans plan to grow the country, not to mention fund the budget deficit (even as various pageview hawking blogs concurrently try to give the impression that private equity prospectuses stamped with the "confidential" seal for purely regulatory reasons will somehow provide an insight into the Bain Capital CEO's taxpaying practices, confirming that "finance for the masses" may not be the best idea), those who wish to gain some insight into the actual workings of Romney's brain may have to resort with the following Op-Ed published overnight in the WSJ titled, "What I Learned at Bain Capital: My business experience taught me how to help companies grow—and what to do when trouble arises. When you see a problem, run toward it before the problem gets worse." Read it - it may well be the only public policy "prescription" out of the republican before the election.

By Mitt Romney, published in the WSJ

What I Learned at Bain Capital

The back-to-school season is here, and as parents take their children to shop for school supplies, I suspect that many of them will be visiting a Staples store. I'm very familiar with those stores because Staples is one of many businesses we helped create and expand at Bain Capital, a firm that my colleagues and I built. The firm succeeded by growing and fixing companies.

The lessons I learned over my 15 years at Bain Capital were valuable in helping me turn around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. They also helped me as governor of Massachusetts to turn a budget deficit into a surplus and reduce our unemployment rate to 4.7%. The lessons from that time would help me as president to fix our economy, create jobs and get things done in Washington.

A broad message emerges from my Bain Capital days: A good idea is not enough for a business to succeed. It requires a talented team, a good business plan and capital to execute it. That was true of companies we helped start, like Staples and the Bright Horizons child-care provider, and several of the struggling companies we helped turn around, like the Brookstone retailer and the contact-lens maker Wesley Jessen.

My presidency would make it easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses to get the investment dollars they need to grow, by reducing and simplifying taxes; replacing Obamacare with real health-care reform that contains costs and improves care; and by stemming the flood of new regulations that are tying small businesses in knots.

My business experience confirmed my belief in empowering people. For example, at Bain Capital we bought Accuride, a company that made truck rims and wheels, because we saw untapped potential there. We instituted performance bonuses for the management team, which had a dramatic impact. The managers made the plants more productive, and the company started growing, adding 300 jobs while Bain was involved. My faith in people, not government, is at the foundation of my plan to strengthen America's middle class.

I also saw firsthand through these investments how energy costs impact the ability of a business to grow. Today, energy costs are weighing on job creators across America because President Obama has limited energy exploration and restricted development in ways that sap economic performance, curtail growth, and kill jobs. I will take a sensible approach to tapping our energy resources, which will both create jobs and make energy more affordable for every sector of our economy.

In the 1990s, when the "old-technology" steel industry in the U.S. was failing, Bain Capital helped build a new steel company, Steel Dynamics, which has grown into one of the largest steel producers in America today, holding its own against Chinese producers. The key to its success? State-of-the-art new technology.

Here are two lessons from the Steel Dynamics story: First, innovation is essential to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. We are the most innovative, entrepreneurial nation in the world. To maintain that lead, we must give people the skills to succeed. My plan for a stronger middle class includes policies to give every family access to great schools and quality teachers, to improve access to higher education, and to attract and retain the best talent from around the world.

The second lesson is that we must have a level playing field in international trade. As president, I will challenge unfair trade practices that are harming American workers.

Running a business also brings lessons in tackling challenges. I was on the board of a medical diagnostic-laboratory company, Damon, when a competitor announced that it had settled with the government over a charge of fraudulent Medicare billing. I and fellow Damon outside board members joined together and immediately hired an independent law firm to examine Damon's own practices.

The investigation revealed a need to make some changes, which we did. The company, along with several other clinical-laboratory companies, ended up being fined for billing practices. And a Damon manager who was responsible for the fraud went to jail. The experience taught me that when you see a problem, run toward it or it will only get worse.

That will be my approach to our federal budget problem. I am committed to capping federal spending below 20% of GDP and reducing nondefense discretionary spending by 5%. This will surely result in much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Washington. But a failure of leadership has created our debt crisis, and ducking responsibility will only cripple the economy and smother opportunity for our children and grandchildren.

I'm not sure Bain Capital could have grown or turned around some of the companies we invested in had we faced today's anti-business environment. Andy Puzder, the chief executive of CKE Restaurants Inc., which employs about 21,000 people at Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants, has said that the "current unfriendly economic environment perhaps best explains why American companies are sitting on over $2 trillion which they could invest."

President Obama has piled on excessive regulations, proposed massive tax increases, added more than $5 trillion in federal debt, and failed to address the coming fiscal cliff—all of which is miring our nation in sluggish growth and high unemployment.

I know what it takes to turn around difficult situations. And I will put that experience to work, to get our economy back on track, create jobs, strengthen the middle class and lay the groundwork for America's increased competitiveness in the world.

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GetZeeGold's picture



Cut your hair hippie.....or I'll do it for you.


Balance the budget Barry......or I'll do it for you.


Butt out or you're going to ride on the top of the car.



piliage's picture

He'll fire half the country to improve our working capital leverage ratio then list the US in an IPO.

Gazooks's picture


With Bain Capital as its new owners, Accuride revamped production and restructured executive pay. 

Bain Capital sold the company to a mining conglomerate 18 months later, making approximately $120 million from its $5 million investment.


In October 2009, the company sought legal protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules, and in November 2009 sought court approval to reorganize itself. 


Suck it dry, spit it out, rinse, repeat.



piliage's picture

All hyperbole aside, even the best VCs see about 1/3rd of all deals loose everything, 1/3rd break even, and 1/3rd become home runs.

Bain's record is well above average for the sector as they lost or broke even on less than 50% of their deals. That is very impressive.


James_Cole's picture

USA already run like it was taken over by a PE firm.

Load up on debt, slash the workforce, sell at profit and then sit back and watch it collapse. 

ToNYC's picture

"Bain Capital sold the company to a mining conglomerate 18 months later, making approximately $120 million from its $5 million investment."


That's nothing for tricks. He got 100 million in his IRA by setting up companies with Founder Stock at 0.01 par value and putting it in his Roth IRA, then selling that company for $100 per share..all cap gain appreciation in Roth IRA grows untaxed..10,000 times a mere $10,000 in the IRA gets you 100 million every time.

How did you fill up your Roth?

It's a great country, America!


Bob's picture

Wonder why Ron Paul got so little attention?  Seems one thing Rmoney learned at Bain was how to buy the conservative media:

GetZeeGold's picture



I wouldn't know.....I only watch MSNBC.


When I pump enough hydrogen gas up Ed Schultz's ass.....I plan on detonating.


Fair might want to stand back.


Disclaimer : I don't actually plan to harm Ed Schultz. No need to send the Feebees. Although a 30 day paid vacation is tempting I must say.



Bob's picture

Totally controlled opposition.  Reverend Al, seriously?

Bob's picture

He painfully discovered his impotence at mobilizing the masses and left the frustration behind, to do things independently:

It appeared to me that he discovered just how fucked up the world is: Most of the dimocrat demographic has little interest in math/financial details (and bucking Obama) and most business people have little interest in radical reform . . . or watching anybody on MSNBC (regardless of what he was saying.) 

He was largely ignored even by ZH.  'Nuf said. 

Proudly partisan ignorance reigns.

machineh's picture

"When you see a problem, run toward it before the problem gets worse."

The thing is, Mittens, Israel is not our fucking problem.

So get off your knees and get out of Jerusalem.

GetZeeGold's picture



Have you seen the price of gas these days? No way we can afford to do that again!


Disenchanted's picture




Starvation and disease are still they were in the time period I implied.



bullet's picture

anything would be better than the current "not my fault" ...

Sauk Leader's picture

I just don't get it. I understand the skeptics for all the right reasons but are you fucking serious that this guy is going to be just like Obama? I want cheap gas, I want more high paying oil company jobs HERE, All the public and private 401K and Pensions who own big oil want profits. I want the media to question the decisions of the POTUS. AND I WANT A SWISS BANK ACCOUNT!

Treeplanter's picture

Sell the spike but the Swiss don't want your dollars, Dear Leader.

Disenchanted's picture




"I left any responsibility whatsoever, any effort, any involvement whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999,"

~  Mitt Romney

Gazooks's picture

Romney owns a stake in Sankaty Credit Opportunities L.P., a Delaware-based partnership. According to its financial statements, it had $201 million in assets in 2009 and a $52 million gain on the year—that's after a stunning $91 million loss in 2008.

But what's interesting about Sankaty Credit Opportunities is that, according to his 2012 financial disclosure, Romney's interest in the entity was part of his retirement package: It was made "pursuant to an agreement with Bain Capital regarding Mr. Romney's retirement" in 1999.

But according to its audited financial statement, Sankaty Credit Opportunities didn't exist yet when Romney retired: "Sankaty Credit Opportunities, L.P., is a Delaware limited partnership which commenced operations on August 12, 2002." In other words, Romney's 1999 retirement agreement included an investment in an entity created in 2002.

When Romney explained at an October 29, 2002, debate in Massachusetts that he wasn't responsible for Bain's actions after his 1999 retirement, it was just 8 weeks after the creation by Bain of a fund that was part of his retirement agreement.

 In November 1999, Bain Capital and Madison Dearborn Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, filed with the SEC a Schedule 13D, which lists owners of publicly traded companies, noting that they had jointly purchased $75 million worth of shares in Stericycle, a fast-growing player in the medical-waste industry...The SEC filing lists assorted Bain-related entities that were part of the deal, including Bain Capital (BCI), Bain Capital Partners VI (BCP VI), Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors (a Bermuda-based Bain affiliate), and Brookside Capital Investors (a Bain offshoot). And it notes that Romney was the "sole shareholder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of BCI, BCP VI Inc., Brookside Inc. and Sankaty Ltd."  - John Cook - Gawker 



Gromit's picture

Every time i run a scheme like this my accountant says no.

I want to see those tax returns!

piliage's picture

In the man's defense, the US corporate taxes are the highest in the world. The US has the most complex tax system and tax law in the world. Romney could have moved to Zug like Marc Rich and paid a one time payment to the government and lived tax free for the rest of his life.

He didn't

I don't blame him one bit for reducing his tax liability to the best of his ability and according to the law. What I do blame is the current administration for demonizing people who make money and reduce their taxes and then not doing anything to fix the core problem, the US tax code. It is particularity awful for those of us who live and work abroad.


Judge Fedd's picture

You're neglecting the fact that the US corp tax code is so complex because it's riddled with loopholes for specific businesses and industries. Their lobbying efforts serve 2 purpsoes, to keep their tax rate low and keep the everyone else's tax rate high (someone has to pay it might as well be the small and medium businesses). It's a good way to stop competition if you are the large incumbent. This one reason why we've seen so much consolidation in the marketplace. Add enough holes to the swiss cheese and at somepoint it ceases to be cheese. I have no sympathy for Bain or any major corp crying about US tax code or rates, it's really your local dry cleaner and resturant owner who is getting screwed.

piliage's picture

No, I'm not neglecting that fact. If they didn't create those loopholes, there would be no business in the US at all when the corporate tax rate and often the individual rate in many other countries with equally good business climates are half as high as the US. The total tax in Singapore is no higher than 20%, same for Switzerland and Hong Kong.

Switzerland is great. Clean, great schools, excellent standard of living. Kind of like California when I was growing up.

Why are so many businesses leaving California now? Aside from the awful infrastructure, terrible schools, and pathetic state government, by the time you get done with state, city, corporate and federal tax (and healthcare) you're well over 50% in total tax liability. Add to that crime and insane property prices, I don't blame anyone by voting with their feet.

Using all the tax advantages you have at your disposal is logical. I'm sure you take every credit you can when you do your 1040s too.

The only way this situation is going to get better is to seriously cut the size of government, reduce debt, make US taxes competitive (at least on an equal footing with other countries) and let working people keep their money.

But to blame someone to keep as much money as possible that they've made, well, I don't agree. Why as Americans should we give our money away for little returns except larger parasitic government?

Escrava Isaura's picture

I would feel a lot safer from America and European intrusion—and it would be a lot cheaper—hiding in Paraguay than Switzerland.

Gazooks's picture

report from the Institute for Policy Studies...


Nationwide, budget cuts have axed 627,000 public service jobs just since June 2009. Schools, health clinics, fire stations, parks, and recreation facilities—virtually no public service has gone unsqueezed. Tax dollars haven’t seemed this scarce in generations.

Yet tens of billions of these scarce tax dollars are getting diverted. These tax dollars are flowing from average Americans who depend on public services to the kingpins of America’s private sector. They’re subsidizing, directly and indirectly, the mega-million paychecks that go to the top executives at our nation’s biggest banks and corporations.



report here:

LawsofPhysics's picture

If you are not that smart baffle them with bullshit?

He who has the gold makes the rules?


Like any other venture capital firm, his "solutions" last long enough to extract his pound of flesh.  Whether the company is a around a year later is of no concern.  Moreover, the wealth he extracted will be safely in a tax haven somewhere while those employees still pay 35-40% of their income in taxes.

This is "winning" in the kleptocracy of american "capitalism".  Same as it ever was...

buzzsaw99's picture

at long last. i have been waiting such a long time to hear a d.c. politician promise answers for all my problems. so excited that it will be different this time if i just vote for the right candidate. [/sarcasm]

Vooter's picture

Anyone who doesn't vote third party is PART OF THE PROBLEM.

piceridu's picture

Correction: Anyone who votes is PART OF THE PROBLEM.

Wouldn't it be grand if they held a vote and nobody came? Politicians, Judges bureaucrats pissing in their collective pants...

ozzzo's picture

Anyone who votes is part of the problem. Voting sustains the illusion of choice. You can choose door #1 (smooth-talking east coast liberal), door #2 (obnoxxious plutocrat) or door #3 (your vote is wasted on someone who will not be allowed to win) but all three lead to the same room in which at least half of your income is stolen and used to buy things that you don't want. The only rational response is to refuse to participate.

GetZeeGold's picture



No worries......2 days before the election we're gonna spring hope and change on their asses.


They won't know what hit them......wear sunglasses......cause it's gonna be bright.



augustusgloop's picture

what a putz. entrepreurship already works in the US. it's called silicon valley: there's a system for funding it: it's called VC and angel investing. bain capital is exactly the problem, a bunch of dickhead consultants trying to apply their powerpoint skills on companies w/o risking any on their skin. 

Mercury's picture

Nice try but this can't hold a fucking candle to "What I Learned At ACORN". 

I think Mitt also learned that when you are paid with company shares into your IRA and then your partners buy back those shares upon your retirement, at a huge premium, you can get really, really rich with zero immediate tax liability.

Apocalicious's picture

Thank goodness he gives us such detailed specifics as "real health-care reform that contains costs and improves care." Phew, for a minute there I thought you were going to pass laws to intentionally make it worse and more expensive.

What other nuggest do you have? Fixing the tax code? Improving the economy? Yes, yes, great.

I'm personally running on the campaign of super-awesomeness and goodness. I will make everything all better...

CrimsonAvenger's picture

Romney gonna gimme an offshort account, and he gonna gimme summa dat gray poop-on mustard...

Disenchanted's picture



The Iron Fist in Tampa

Dissent will be crushed, warns J. Raimondo

GetZeeGold's picture



Dude owes me money....but then again......he owes a lot of people money.


LawsofPhysics's picture

Please, I dare the GOP to further practice fascism on Ron Paul Supporters.  Fucking idiots, the Ronmey-Paul ticket would have made for an easy win, but then the bankers and other paper-pushing fuckers would have to deal with the constitution.

Can't have that now can we.

Disenchanted's picture




I hear ya LoP. Isn't this special? From my link:



Inside, efforts are underway to make it impossible for delegates pledged to antiwar libertarian Ron Paul to place their candidate in nomination — an effort the Huffington Post deems a “defense” against Paulian “shenanigans.” Party rules say officially-recognized candidates must have pluralities of delegates in at least five states: however, at a recent Republican National Committee meeting, Texas committeeman John Ryder moved to increase the number of states to ten — just to make sure Paul doesn’t make the grade. Disdaining convention floor fights as “the residue of the 19th century,” Ryder averred it is time to “streamline” the process by which the GOP nominates its standard-bearer. Ryder claimed that he wanted to eliminate “distractions” at the Republican convention:


Unless you’ve got a real contest, where you have two candidates or three candidates who actually have a mathematical chance of winning, then why do we want to go through the exercise?”

turnus68's picture

If this is the best the Republicans have to offer better start praying because after Obamacare all we will get if Romney gets elected will be increased military spending and one or maybe two new wars, marginal cuts in the social spending, more debt, more restricted civil liberties and a lot of BS (see the last bait: audit the FED, another Gold commission). The choice is between a socialist("You did not build that.") and a crony capitalist(" I will not release my tax returns.").

firstdivision's picture

I believe the only thing he learned as Gov. of MA was to tax the crap out of people, and turn any road into a toll road.

SoNH80's picture

I actually lived in Mass. when he was governor.  His administration had that "Jon Corzine-esque" feel to it for sure.  Most of the heavy lifting to semi-fix the Commonwealth was done by his low-key predecessor Paul Cellucci.  Romney spent most of his short time campaigning for President and desperately kissing the asses of the corrupt Democratic/Mafia/Irish Mob/"Union Delegate" legislators on Beacon Hill.  With no real effect.

Politicians suck today.  Period.  Dwight Eisenhower isn't going to spring out of this HBS wanker.

Monedas's picture

I think we need at least a Bain butt kicking mentality to even begin to fix things .... Europe could use a little Bain butt therapy, too !  Just because the Socialist disease is borderline terminal .... is no reason to throw in the towell .... just yet !  Treating the US as a distressed company .... is just what we need !      Do you really want more of "The Obesity of Dope" ?

Ar-Pharazôn's picture

i m sorry for you but looking at the last statistic Switzerland is the most innovative country

Monedas's picture

Switzerland is a country where there are more responsible people like Romney .... and fewer dead beats, off beat races and Muslim terrorists !  If the Swiss had to choose between Romney and Obama .... Romney would win in a landslide or an avalanche !

eurogold's picture

Then ...Thank God the Swiss can't vote in the U.S. Election!