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Tue May 1, 2012, 11:41 AM

Major Romney Donor, Ex-Bain Exec, Pens Book Defending The 1%

Major Romney Donor, Ex-Bain Exec, Pens Book Defending The 1%

Former Bain Capital executive Ed Conard, who TPM readers might know for donating $1 million anonymously to a pro-Romney Super PAC through a dummy corporation, is back in the news. He’s the subject of a lengthy New York Times magazine profile this week explaining his new book, “Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong,” which purports to explain why the 1% deserve every penny they have and why increasing income inequality is actually a good sign for the economy.

In one passage of the profile, Conard mocks Americans who don’t want to become ultra-wealthy entrepreneurs as lazy and unambitious:

A central problem with the U.S. economy, he told me, is finding a way to get more people to look for solutions despite these terrible odds of success. Conard’s solution is simple. Society benefits if the successful risk takers get a lot of money. For proof, he looks to the market. At a nearby table we saw three young people with plaid shirts and floppy hair. For all we know, they may have been plotting the next generation’s Twitter, but Conard felt sure they were merely lounging on the sidelines. “What are they doing, sitting here, having a coffee at 2:30?” he asked. “I’m sure those guys are college-educated.” Conard, who occasionally flashed a mean streak during our talks, started calling the group “art-history majors,” his derisive term for pretty much anyone who was lucky enough to be born with the talent and opportunity to join the risk-taking, innovation-hunting mechanism but who chose instead a less competitive life. In Conard’s mind, this includes, surprisingly, people like lawyers, who opt for stable professions that don’t maximize their wealth-creating potential. He said the only way to persuade these “art-history majors” to join the fiercely competitive economic mechanism is to tempt them with extraordinary payoffs.

Romney’s campaign isn’t touching the book, but it’s not hard to envision it entering the campaign if its release makes a splash. Already Democratic National Committee communications director Brad Woodhouse is tweeting out the article.

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/major-romney-donor-ex-bain-exec-pens-book

Holy shit! It's trickle-down on steroids.

12 replies, 1546 views

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Reply Major Romney Donor, Ex-Bain Exec, Pens Book Defending The 1% (Original post)
ProSense May 2012 OP
Enrique May 2012 #1
Bake May 2012 #11
sinkingfeeling May 2012 #2
Dawson Leery May 2012 #3
no_hypocrisy May 2012 #4
ProSense May 2012 #6
trotsky May 2012 #5
Angry Dragon May 2012 #7
surrealAmerican May 2012 #8
Dawson Leery May 2012 #9
sinkingfeeling May 2012 #10
Enrique May 2012 #12

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:45 AM

1. I'll take the art history majors

over these guys, any day.

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Response to Enrique (Reply #1)

Tue May 1, 2012, 01:15 PM

11. "These guys" are all going to hell in a handbasket.

The world will not miss them. Hell will welcome them.

And I will cheer while they burn.

Bake

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:45 AM

2. And I call bulls**t on the whole belief system. I believe that people

who spend their skill and talent on others should be paid ten times as much as the selfish egomanics like Conrad and Romney.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:46 AM

3. Conard, Rmoney, and the rest of the Bain thugs STOLE their fortunes

from those who worked hard to earn it.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:47 AM

4. They didn't get their money via "risk-taking". They got their money by taking my money via wealth

redistribution.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #4)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:53 AM

6. From the NYT

Magazine piece:

<...>

Conard’s version of the financial crisis ignores much reporting and analysis — including work I’ve done with NPR’s “Planet Money” team — that shows that some of the nation’s largest banks actively manipulated customers and regulators and, sometimes, their own stockholders to profit from dangerous risk. And for many economists, rising inequality can create exactly the wrong outcomes for society over all. Rather than simply serving as an invitation for everybody to engage in potentially beneficial risk-taking, inequality can allow those with wealth to crush new ideas.

I kept raising these questions with Conard, but he repeatedly waved them off. “I don’t want to talk about rent-seeking,” he told me. “When you go off to a third-world country, there’s a dictator who says, ‘I’m giving the telephone franchise to my brother-in-law.’ It’s pretty hard to do that here.” I countered that many economists see rent-seeking in the United States as a much more subtle but still destructive process. If some rich people are able to get and stay rich by messing around with the rules, then those art-history majors will feel as if they have no chance to break into a well-connected, well-protected elite.

Perhaps concentrated wealth will inspire a nation of innovative problem-solvers. But if the view of many economists is right — that it sometimes discourages innovation — then we should worry. While Conard offers deep and well-argued analyses on almost every issue, on this one he resorted to anecdotes and gut feelings. During his work at Bain, he said, he saw that successful companies had to battle against one another. Nobody was just given a free ride because of their power. “Was a person, like me, excluded from opportunity?” he asked rhetorically. “If so, I wasn’t aware!”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/magazine/romneys-former-bain-partner-makes-a-case-for-inequality.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

These people simply make up the narrative to justify their role as greedy predators.

Ties to Romney ’08 Helped Fuel an Equity Firm (updated)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002630962



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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:53 AM

5. Guys like him are mentally incapable of finding rewards in life...

that are not tied to money.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:54 AM

7. Another huge idiot heard from

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:00 PM

8. One other point about "fierce competition" and "risk taking" ...

... If they are genuine "risks", a majority of people who take them fail.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #8)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:02 PM

9. Conard also calls for the "risk takers" to be bailed out at anytime.

"Conard concedes that the banks made some mistakes, but the important thing now, he says, is to provide them even stronger government support. He advocates creating a new government program that guarantees to bail out the banks if they ever face another run. As for exotic derivatives, Conard doesn’t see a problem."

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Response to Dawson Leery (Reply #9)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:50 PM

10. Private gain and public loss.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #8)

Tue May 1, 2012, 01:41 PM

12. Romney's never taken a risk in his life

even his $10,000 bet with Rick Perry, I'm sure he had a hedge on that.

And there's this:

View profile
http://www.democrats.org/news/blog/romneys_sweet_bain_capital_no_risk_job

“Bain sweetened the offer. He guaranteed that if the experiment failed, Romney would get his old job and salary back, plus any raises handed out during his absence. Romney had one more concern: the impact on his reputation should he prove unable to do the job. In the end, Bain agreed to craft a cover story if necessary, promising to bring Romney back to the consulting firm and explain Romney's return as a matter of his being more valuable to Bain as a consultant. ‘So,’ Bain says, ‘there was no professional or financial risk.’"

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