Presidential Campaign

Rick Perry attacks Mitt Romney’s ‘vulture’ business

I never thought I would write this, but Rick Perry hit the nail on the
head by attacking Mitt Romney for acting like an economic vulture in his
business of buying into companies and laying off workers to maximize
profits for the 1 percent. Certain elements of the right are furious
with Perry (and Newt Gingrich), which raises an enormous opportunity for
Gingrich, Perry and President Obama.

What the Bain Capital issue will do is transform the campaign into a
serious debate about basic financial, business and economic philosophy
and policy. What is fascinating politically is that the Republican Party
now has an openly pro-layoff wing led by Romney, and opposed by Perry
and Gingrich.

In economic theory the philosophy is called “creative destruction.” In this theory, layoffs are good when they increase efficiency and profits. Hence Romney is the leader of the pro-layoff wing of Republicans, and Gingrich and Perry are the opponents.

The problem with this theory is that it assumes an honest market based on efficiency, and it assumes a rational capitalism in which success is rewarded and failure is punished. Of course, this is not the capitalism of today, which, like politics, is a rigged game with warped rules. Witness the bailed-out bankers who made huge money and received huge bonuses for their failures, which is the exact opposite of true capitalism, and the exact opposite of creative destruction as intended by its originators.

It will be fascinating to watch whether Gingrich and Perry have the fortitude to keep up the attack. Note Ron Paul has sided with the vultures because of his libertarian philosophy (I will have more to say soon about this), Rick Santorum has defended Romney (methinks he wants to be VP) and Jon Huntsman has been on all sides of the vulture issue in the last 48 hours.

For now:

1. This will a huge issue in the general election, to the strong advantage of President Obama.

2. This presents an interesting opportunity for Gingrich or Perry in the Republican battle if they stand firm and keeping fighting on the vulture issue.

3. I believe it is healthy for the nation if this issue begins a very serious national debate about true economic philosophy and the true impact on workers and the economy of policy decisions.

A note regarding Rick Perry: Not long ago I wrote a piece here referring to Perry as Mitt Romney’s poodle. My theory was, there might have been some incentive or reason for Perry to stay in the race, which I suggested only helps Romney.

It is too early for me to retract that piece, but if Rick Perry continues his attack on the vulture issue I will retract it, and admit I was wrong about Perry’s reason for staying in the race. Perry’s vulture attack is certainly not doing Mitt Romney any favors.

Isn’t it amazing that Republicans now seem to have an overtly pro-layoff wing of the party?


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