[Photo: Vanity Fair]
Mitt Romney says that he's the man to fix our nation's ailing economy because of his extensive business skills. Well, he is a wealthy member of the one percent, however, he's not always such a successful businessman. Actually, one Kansas City company in that Romney purchased a majority share was bankrupt within a decade. Also, your tax dollars likely helped hand Romney a nice bail out.
In October 1993, Bain Capital, co-founded by Mitt Romney, became majority shareholder in a steel mill that had been operating since 1888.
It was a gamble. The old mill, renamed GS Technologies, needed expensive updating, and demand for its products was susceptible to cycles in the mining industry and commodities markets.
Less than a decade later, the mill was padlocked and some 750 people lost their jobs. Workers were denied the severance pay and health insurance they'd been promised, and their pension benefits were cut by as much as $400 a month.
What's more, a federal government insurance agency had to pony up $44 million to bail out the company's underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees (Emphasis mine).
Lost jobs, no severance pay, no health insurance, drastically cut pensions...these are the business skills Romney is going to use to turn our economy around? These things sound horribly familiar. Just how did things work out for the people who worked for Mitt Romney's company?
Before the bankruptcy filing:
Veteran crane operator Ed Mossman says he was ordered to pick up a load of steel that was 50 percent above the recommended weight limit - a prospect that could have toppled the crane and sent Mossman plunging to his death. When he refused, he says, he was fired after putting in 29 years at the mill.
"The first 15 years, I had the best job in the United States, as far as I was concerned," Mossman said. "The last five years down there got to be pure hell."
And after the plant shutdown?
After nearly 30 years as a steelworker, Joe Soptic found a job as a school custodian. The $24,000 salary was roughly one-third of his former pay, and the health plan did not cover his wife, Ranae.
When Ranae started losing weight, "I tried to get her to the doctor and she wouldn't go," Soptic said. She ended up in the county hospital with pneumonia, where doctors discovered her advanced lung cancer. She died two weeks later.
Soptic was left with nearly $30,000 in medical bills. He drained a $12,000 savings account and the hospital wrote off the balance.
"I worked hard all my life and played by the rules, and they allowed this to happen," Soptic said.