Of all the divisive issues and divisive non-issues that will be brought forward during this election cycle, the one thing actually affects all of us is the U.S. economy. As James Carville so succinctly stated 20 years ago during the recession left behind by an earlier George Bush: "It's the economy, stupid."
President Obama's economic record is easily verifiable, being forever etched in government statistics. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (G.D.P.), essentially the sum of all goods and services, fell off the economic cliff during President George W. Bush's tenure, declining 9% in the last quarter of 2008 alone. Obama took the presidential reins during the first quarter of 2009 and by the 3rd quarter, our G.D.P. had climbed back into positive territory and has stayed there ever since. This positive growth has been in spite of the seemingly coordinated strangulation of the economy by bankers, setting new records for not lending and American corporations, now holding more cash than ever. The bankers' previous record for excess reserves, that is, money available to loan, was at $19 billion, due to the national financial paralysis which followed the 9/11 attacks. Today, it is nearly 100 times that prior record, translating into about $15 trillion missing from circulation, prolonging this economic malaise and stifling employment. Unemployment numbers have also remained persistently high and hiring has been anemic due in part to increases in productivity as those of us with jobs work harder and harder with less and less help. This increase in productivity has caused corporate profits to soar to pre-recession highs and is currently reflected in robust stock market averages.
In a February ABC News/Washington Post poll, 48 percent of potential voters said Romney's business experience was a major reason to support him. The narrative that the Romney campaign wants you to hear is that in 1984, Mitt and a handful of partners at Bain Capital, gave $4.5 million to two guys running a successful office supply store called Staples. That money allowed them to expand and the rest, as they say, is history. Unfortunately, Romney's venture capital story doesn't end there. Recently released campaign videos document a pattern where Romney and his partners would buy companies, borrow heavily on the company's credit, pay themselves millions of dollars from those loans, and then let the company go bankrupt - leaving thousands of American workers without retirement plans, healthcare, or jobs. You would think this type of Darwinist, survival of the biggest scheme would fit well with Republican core values, but even some Republicans have labeled Romney's anti-worker tactics "Vulture Capitalism." Newt Gingrich said, "Look, I'm for capitalism, but if somebody comes in, takes all the money out of your company and then leaves you bankrupt while they go off with millions, that's not traditional capitalism." If Romney's behavior were labeled anything but "venture capitalism," his desecration and lack of concern for thousands of American citizens would not be considered an astute business practice deserving of self-praise on the campaign trail, but rather a sociopathic illness requiring powerful medications, intensive therapy, and a locked ward.
Far from being an American success story, Mitt Romney's rise as the child of a wealthy, politically well-connected father to potentially becoming leader of a country is an only-in-America-and-everywhere-else-in-the-world tale that stands Horatio Alger on his head. We've had two other Republican "businessmen" as presidents: Herbert Hoover also made money in the stock market before leading America into the Great Depression and George W. Bush, who obtained his Master's Degree in Business Administration before he administered us into our current mess. Perhaps the third time's the charm?