I used to tell criminals sent to my office by the courts for psychotherapy that if you’re going to steal do it legally. They all doubled their incomes.
Now I tell people to learn how the master thief Mitt Romney did it, and maybe after you get your MBA you can do it to. Here’s how:
First, join onto a big Wall Street Brokerage. Show them that you are a cutthroat broker, who
presents to clients as a squeaky-clean nice guy. You smile and only take client’s money if they let you take a 5% fee upfront out of their cash. Then you take a secondary percentage fee from the profits. This will make so much money for the company that they will offer to let you run a subsidiary.
You argue instead that you want to be the operational partner and won’t settle for managing a subsidiary. They say OK and a few members of their board set up an independent company with you as chief. Now you call all the investors for whom you actually made money—not the ones who got burned by your shenanigans.
You tell the winners that you are now a venture capitalist and want them onboard. You take their money and invest in startups—new companies that want to grow. Your success rate at doing this is 50/50, with half of the companies failing. Fortunately, the losers don’t cost you anything—you’re using other people’s money—and the winners give you a hot reputation.
That’s when you start selling shares in your newly-invented private equity account. Your
investors now become shareholders and get a big piece of the profits if the private investments that you make succeed. Meanwhile, you have your staff look for nearly insolvent companies which have big pension plans and lots of tangible assets, like factories and buildings.
When a company in the skids is found, you take out huge loans and buy out the firm. Then, you pay yourself an enormous fee for your success. After that you invest the company’s pension fund in junk bonds, which have a high immediate yield before they eventually go belly up. Meanwhile, you take a 25% charge for your pension investment services.
To get more capital out of the company, you lay off half the workers and sell the plants where
they worked. Then, you sell what is left of the company cheap, leaving it with the debt from the loans that you used to buy it. Your investors, who gave you the seed money, get a great return on their investment, and you walk away with $20 to $50 million dollars. You invest half of that in the next private equity fund that you establish. The rest you ship off to secret tax-free accounts in the Caribbean and Switzerland.
Over time, half of what you touch goes belly up, but half of what you invest in stays afloat. Your track record does not matter. What’s important is that your reputation with your investors keeps skyrocketing. They make money when you bankrupt a company by selling off its assets.
As it stands, Mitt Romney stole maybe $10 billion from companies he gutted. He also probably made another $10 billion for his investors from those companies that stayed afloat. As for job creation, Romney claims to have created 200,000 while doing this. That’s technically correct.
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Romney’s winners employ over 200,000 people.
The truth is, however, the companies Romney gutted created large secondary job losses. That occurred when suppliers to those shuttered companies had to fire thousands of people because their parts and materials we no longer needed at any U.S factories. This is why Romney’s record for job creation is zero. Create 200,000, kill 200,000.
Fortunately for Romney, this job neutrality issue is not an election issue. The real issue is:
Americans love a thief, especially one who can pull off a $10-billion-dollar con. And as a master thief, 40% of Americans are already convinced Romney will make a great president—privatizing Medicare and Social Security, as he has promised. And getting Congress to let people invest the cash … you got it! … in private equity firms.