Republicans have championed Mitt Romney's record as a Wall Street buyout specialist as head of the private equity firm Bain Capital this week, celebrating the investment company as an example of Romney's financial acumen and ingenuity. However, Romney has consistently sought to distance himself from at least one controversial aspect of Bain Capital's record: sending American jobs overseas.
As The Washington Post reported in June, Bain Capital "invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India." Those investments would seem to undermine Romney's public statements as a presidential candidate about offshoring. “For me it’s all about good jobs for the American people and a bright and prosperous future,” Romney said in June.
A former partner of Romney's at Bain Capital, however, hasn't been nearly as skittish about the firm's record of relocating jobs overseas as Romney has. In a book published earlier this year, Ed Conard, who served as a partner at Bain Capital from 1993 to 2007, extolled the virtues of inexpensive offshore labor:
Let's not kid ourselves about just how cheap offshore labor really is. We not only pay substantially less per hour, we also avoid the costs we would incur if these workers immigrated here. We don't pay for their medical expenses when they show up in the emergency room without insurance. We don't pay for their pension costs if they don't save for retirement. We don't pay for their children's public education. Nor do we pay for their out-of-wedlock children, their unemployment benefits and workers' compensation, their slip and fall torts, their wear and tear on our public infrastructure, and the cost of their drunk driving, drug use and other crimes. We outsource pollution, its adverse effects on our health, and its clean-up costs. Neither the employees nor their employers are here to vote and seek political handouts.
In an exclusive interview with Up w/ Chris Hayes in July, Conard predicted that Romney, too, would eventually embrace the entirety of Bain Capital's record once the campaign intensifies in the fall, and said he did not think Romney was "ashamed" of any of the work he did at Bain Capital. “You say ashamed, I see great pride,” Conard said. “When the debate really starts, in August, September and October, we’ll see. I think he’ll own it.”
Sal Gentile (@salgentile) is a segment & digital producer for Up w/ Chris Hayes.