Mitt Romney on Corporations

Former Republican Governor (MA)

I was CEO at mainstream businesses, not Wall St.

CAIN: Gov. Romney has a very distinguished career. There's one difference between the two of us in terms of our experience. With all due respect, his business executive experience has been more Wall Street-oriented; mine has been more Main Street. I have managed small companies. I've actually had to clean the parking lot. I've worked with groups of businesses.

ROMNEY: The fact that we're both doing as well as we are is we both have a private-sector background. But I just want to set the record straight. I've been chief executive officer four times, once for a start-up and three times for turnarounds. One was a financial services company. That was the start-up. A consulting company, that's a mainstream business. The Olympics, that's certainly mainstream. And, of course, the state of Massachusetts. In all those settings, I've learned how to create jobs.

Source: GOP 2011 primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 18, 2011

No individual bailouts; but preserve financial system

Q: What would you do differently than what Pres. Bush did in 2008?

A: I'm not interested in bailing out individual institutions that have wealthy people that want to make sure that their shares are worth something. I am interested in making sure that we preserve our financial system.

Q: So would you not be open to another Wall Street bailout?

A: Well, no one likes the idea of a Wall Street bailout. I certainly don't.

Q: But you said in 2008 that it prevented financial collapse.

A: There's no question but that Bush's action was designed to keep the entire currency worth something and to make sure we didn't all lose our jobs. My experience tells me that we were on the precipice. Was it perfect? No. Was it well-implemented? No, not particularly. Should they have used the funds to bail out GM and Chrysler? No. But this approach of saying, look, we're going to have to preserve our currency and maintain America and our financial system is essential.

Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011

Net-net, Bain Capital created tens of thousands of new jobs

HUNTSMAN: [to Romney]: Some might see your past employment with Bain Capital as more of a financial engineer--somebody who breaks down businesses, destroys jobs as opposed to creating jobs and opportunity, leveraging up, spinning off, enriching shareholders.

ROMNEY: Well, my background is quite different than you describe. In the business I was in, we didn't take things apart and cut them off and sell them off. We instead helped start businesses. We started Staples, we started the Sports Authority, we started Bright Horizons children centers. We began businesses. Sometimes we acquired businesses and tried to turn them around--typically effectively--and net-net created tens of thousands of new jobs. And I'm proud of the fact that we were able to do that. That's a big part of the American system. People are not going to be looking for someone who's not successful. They want someone who has been successful and who knows how fundamentally the economy works.

Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011

Big banks handle massive regulations; small banks get killed

Q: My small business can't get credit. What would you do to make bank lending more accessible?

ROMNEY: What's happened in this country, [is] the absolute wrong time to have the absolute wrong people put together a financial regulatory bill was right now and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. They were the wrong guys at the wrong time. Because what they did with this new bill is usher in what will be thousands of pages of new regulations. The big banks, the big money center banks in Wall Street, they can deal with that. They have hundreds of lawyers working on that legislation. For community banks that provide loans to business like yours, they can't possibly deal with a regulatory burden like that. Small community banks across this country are starving and struggling because of inspectors that are making their job impossible. It's a killer for the small banks. And those small banks loaning to small businesses and entrepreneurs are what have typically gotten our economy out of recession.

Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011

America needs a conservative businessman to recover economy

Obama doesn't understand how the free economy works. I'm a conservative businessman. And that is what America needs if we're going to get our economy going. I put out a booklet which describes the things I'd do to get this economy going again. There are 59 different steps that have to be taken. And President Obama, there's no way he could do something like that because he just doesn't understand it.
Source: www. obamaisntworking.com, response to 2011 Jobs Speech , Sep 8, 2011

Corporations are people

Campaigning in Iowa, Mitt Romney told a heckler, "Corporations are people, my friend"--words immediately seized upon by Democrats in what they termed as a possible defining statement by the presidential candidate.

Romney, speaking to a crowd at the Iow State Fair, was being pressed about raising taxes to help cover entitlement spending. When one mentioned raising corporate tax rates, Romney responded by saying corporations were no different than people. The line earned him a sustained round of applause from the crowd.

But the Democratic National Committee fired off emails almost immediately after the remarks, as part of a continuing effort to frame the GOP frontrunner as an out-of-touch elitist, writing: "This is what Mitt Romney is going to run on?

A small band of hecklers, positioned near the stage, continually quarreled with Romney about whether wealthy Americans should pay higher taxes. "There was a time in this country when we didn't attack people based on their success," Romney said.

Source: James Oliphant in the Los Angeles Times , Aug 11, 2011

Corporations won't send jobs overseas if tax rates lowered

There's a good deal of rhetoric today from liberal politicians who say that we need to tax those corporations that "send jobs overseas." I'm afraid they don't understand that companies with subsidiaries in other countries pay taxes there. Requiring them to pay still-higher US taxes would make them less competitive in those markets, making it bad for their business overseas, and also for jobs here. Sales made by subsidiaries of US companies are often supported by high-paying jobs in finance, research & management at home. And if a company's tax burden under such legislation grew too high, it could simply move overseas to avoid it--resulting in a loss of tax revenue for the US, not a net gain. Those of us who want to see corporate tax rates lowered aren't trying to fill the pockets of executives. We're trying to keep businesses--and jobs--here in the US, and to expand savings and investment, personal incomes, and our entire national economy--all of which are very good things for everyone.
Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.133-134 , Mar 2, 2010

TARP should not be used for auto company bailouts

I know we didn't all agree on TARP. I believe that it was necessary to prevent a cascade of bank collapses. For free markets to work, there has to be a currency and a functioning financial system. But we can agree on this: TARP should not have been used to bail out GM, Chrysler and the UAW. And this is personal for me, I want the US auto industry to succeed. But that can only happen if its excessive costs and burdens are restructured. The right answer for Detroit is this: Fix it first.

All of these measures are meant to confront the current economic peril. Properly guided, Washington could in fact speed the recovery. So far, some of the actions it has taken will help, and some will hurt. But we can be certain that the American economy will recover. The invisible hand of the market is more powerful than the lumbering machinery of government. The private sector--entrepreneurs and businesses large and small--will create the millions of jobs our country needs.

Source: Speech to 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 27, 2009

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 governors on Corporations: Mitt Romney on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Deval Patrick
MA Senatorial:
John Kerry
Scott Brown

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011