Mitt Romney on Corporations

Former Republican Governor (MA)

Key to economic stimulus: get companies to buy more stuff

Q: The president’s economic stimulus plan would send out 116 million checks to American homes. The plan is somewhat contrary to yours, providing lots of short-term stimulus to individuals. Your plan focuses as much on the long term as the short term. Are you disappointed that your recipe for the economy was not embraced by the president? And will you now embrace his plan?

A: Well, there’s a great deal that is effective in his plan. First, he’s getting money back to consumers. That makes sense to me I just think we need to go further. We go to corporate support and helping corporations have the incentive to buy more capital equipment. That he also does. I do it more aggressively by writing off a larger amount of capital expenditures--getting companies to buy more stuff so that other companies will hire people. If you want to turn an economy around, the key thing is to grow jobs. It’s not just to get checks in the hands of consumers; it’s consumers & companies buying things that create jobs.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

Reduce corporate tax rate--we have 2nd highest in world

Q: Some economists have suggested a reduction in corporate taxes to try to stimulate the economy, create jobs, encourage foreign companies to come invest in the United States, create jobs here. Is that a good idea?

A: It is a good idea. It’s something I’ve been proposing for many months. We have a roughly 35% corporate income tax rate. It’s almost tied with Japan, which is the highest in the world. Nations like Ireland have learned the game. They’ve put the rate down at half of ours or less and have attracted a lot of jobs. The challenge with a corporate tax cut is that it takes a while to have an impact. It has a significant positive impact over time. It’s probably not likely to have an immediate boost because it takes a while for companies to make investment decisions. But it is a good idea.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Jan 13, 2008

You don’t help the wage-earner by attacking the wage-payer

Q: Mike Huckabee took this swipe at you indirectly in this ad: “I believe most Americans want their next president to remind them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off.” That last line, about “the guy who laid them off,” a lot of his supporters are saying that would be you.

A: Well, you know, as it’s been said for a long time, you don’t help the wage-earner by attacking the wage-payer. And this kind of divisive, populist approach is like he’s channeling John Edwards. It is not working for John Edwards. It’s not going to work for Mike Huckabee. The Republican Party is one where people recognize opportunity, and they welcome individuals who have gone out and taken risks and tried to create jobs. Small companies in this country create the vast majority of jobs in America. I began a very small business that’s grown. My business has not laid people off. It’s grown and grown and grown.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Jan 13, 2008

FactCheck: Closed $174M in corporate tax loopholes

In a new twist on an old theme, Romney downplayed the fee increases he enacted during his tenure as governor. Romney claimed, “We raised fees by $240 million... we brought them up to the cost of providing services.” However, in 2006 his own administration estimated the figure to be higher--$260 million. Independent estimates were higher yet, up to $400 million.

Moreover, Romney ignores the $174 million that his own administration figures he raised through “closing loopholes” in the corporate tax structure, which amounted to a tax increase for those who were using them.

Nor is it true that all of Romney’s fee increases were aimed at providing services. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says, “It’s been disingenuous to say there’s no new taxes, in the sense that there’s very little connection to the fee increases and the cost of services that the fees are supposed to represent.”

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Fox News NH Republican primary debate Jan 6, 2008

Don’t apply Sec. 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley to smaller companies

Q: Is London going to replace New York as the financial capital of the world?

A: Is London going to replace New York? Of course not. Should we fix Sarbanes-Oxley and take out Section 404 as it applies to smaller companies? Of course we should. Is this country the hope of the world? Absolutely.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan Oct 9, 2007

Spun off Bain Capital from Bain Consulting & earned fortune

In 1984 Bain’s top brass asked Mitt to form Bain Capital, a venture capital spin off. Romney, like anyone else starting a business, needed to raise start-up money. He did, to the tune of $30 million. Today the firm has approximately $40 billion of assets under management.

Romney recruited the best of Bain Consulting. Bain Capital invested heavily in struggling businesses or bought them outright. Their modus operandi as simple: find failing companies and apply the proven approach of quality thinking, rigorous analysis, and sound business principles to raise profitability. When the companies sold, Bain partners made fortunes.

Source: The Man, His Values, & His Vision, p. 20 Aug 31, 2007

Approach to business as “Bainiac”: meritocracy & results

Bain & Company was run as a complete meritocracy. Their “case method” formed Mitt Romney’s approach to business, catapulted him to the top of two professions--consulting and investment--and earned him the reputation as a gifted turnaround artist.

Bainiacs, as they are called, are driven to succeed, and are a dogged group of Type AAAs. Bain’s slogan is: “Helping make companies more valuable.” The promise is profit. The promise is usually kept.

Bain became one of the most sought-after landing zones for Harvard Business School’s best and brightest, because Bain mattered; Bain changed things. “The idea that consultancies should not measure themselves by the thickness of their reports, or even the elegance of their writing, but rather by whether or not the report was effectively implemented [as Bain did], was the inflection point in the history of consulting,” Romney told Consulting magazine. Bain’s website cited a press quotation, “Bain delivers results, not theory.”

Source: A Mormon in the White House?, by Hugh Hewitt, p. 47-49 Mar 12, 2007

Company’s culture must align with mission, or mission fails

I know what it’s like to work at a place where the culture doesn’t fit the vision. It’s the mission that suffers most. The culture overpowers the most noble mission statement. A few years into the life of Bain Capital, a number of my partners and I began to feel that something was wrong. We went through a “team building” exercise with psychologists in California called Human Factors.

One of the more revealing observations was that our firm’s culture was inconsistent with our stated mission, with stress and dissonance as the result.

At Bain Capital, we aspired to have a firm that put our investors’ interests first, even before our own. But competitive self-interest increasingly figured quite prominently in decision-making.

We went to work to change our culture, to make it more consistent with our personal values and with the objectives we had for our firm. The struggle for integrity between mission and culture was never abandoned. And that made Bain Capital a better place to work.

Source: Turnaround, by Mitt Romney, p. 83-84 Aug 25, 2004

Piracy protection key to selling Olympic sponsorships

The heart of our pitch was all about associating products and services with the qualities that the Olympics had come to represent: athleticism, achievement, sacrifice, competition, and ideals like peace and brotherhood. If brand is what we were selling, we had to make sure the sponsors actually got the positive associations they were paying so much to get. We had a budget for “ambush marketing prevention” because you will not be able to sell sponsorships unless you can deliver on your promise to go after people that pirate the Olympic brand.

Use of Olympic symbols, or even the words “Olympic” or “Olympiad” without permission were easy ways for companies to get Olympic association free. The government passed a law making it illegal.

We took public relations hits for our brand protection efforts. It never goes over well when the guys in the suits come down on the little Mom and Pop operations that do not know enough not to use the Olympic rings in their homegrown marketing.

Source: Turnaround, by Mitt Romney, p.213-215 Aug 25, 2004

Other candidates on Corporations: Mitt Romney on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010