Uncommon Sense

January 26, 2012

Raising the Level of Our Discourse

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 1:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

Mitt Romney’s supporters, and Mr. Romney himself, claim that the private equity company Romney had a hand in creating, Bain Capital, was an uber-capitalist company that did only good for the economy. Mr. Romney’s critics, though, say that Bain Capital was a rapacious leveraged buyout machine which gobbled up companies, wrung whatever funds were available out of them and then buried the husks, along the way destroying hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs.

If one could drop the hyperbole it is clear that Bain was both. It served the economy and it’s own stockholders well from time to time and on other occasions, it was embarrassingly destructive, but still serving its stockholders well. (One wag pointed out in a classic case of cognitive dissonance that Mr. Romney was a serial killer because he a) believes corporations are people and b) killed a great many corporations as an officer of Bain Capital.) I have argued that public corporations are wrong headed from the get-go: they are set up and their only reason to exist is to make profits for their shareholders. But profits for what reason? Profits should be a means to an end, not an end in themselves, otherwise they are just a mechanism to grow a crop of greed. Bain Capital was a model corporation but not a good citizen.

Profits should be a means to an end, not an end in themselves, otherwise they are just a mechanism to grow a crop of greed.

The problem I wish to address is with our discourse. I am very tired of the “They are bad, we are good!” approach our political parties take. Our politicians are unwilling to grant anything done by those on the other side as being “good.” When President Obama ended the Iraq War and removed our troops from Iraq, he was roundly criticized by Republicans (and whatever those people on Fox “News” are). But the President was simply meeting his obligations under an agreement made by President Bush with the Iraqi government. Not one Republican had a nice word for a Democratic President upholding the word of a Republican predecessor?

We need to move passed the black and white rhetoric we seemed to be locked into now and move on to one more rationally based. Could not Bain Capital receive a “score card” or “report card” on how many positive and negative behaviors it engaged in. Aren’t these a matter of public record. If the report is largely positive we would then know. If it were negative, we would know that.

Similarly, the now infamous “stimulus” of 2009. Can we not get an independent analysis of its effects and once we know what they were, politicians who claims deviate from those findings would be found to be, well, lying? Why do we settle for sound bites when reality beckons?

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