Monday, August 13, 2012

The Bain of Mitt Romney's Existence

The folks of Freeport, Illinois know what it's like when Bain Capital comes to town and, pretty soon, so will most Americans.   Whether he likes to admit it or not, Mitt Romney is getting ever richer sucking the  blood out of towns like Freeport.

For decades Freeport had an industrial plant operated by a company, Sensata.   Even to the end, Sensata was both profitable and competitive - an American success story - until Bain Capital came to town.

Now Bain has gutted Sensata, sold the manufacturing assets to the Chinese and, to add insult to economic catastrophe, it's been forcing Sensata workers to train their Chinese replacements.

"...for Bonnie Borman – and 170 other men and women in Freeport, Illinois – there is a brutal twist to the torture. Borman, 52, and the other workers of a soon-to-be-shuttered car parts plant are personally training the Chinese workers who will replace them.

It's a surreal experience, they say. For months they have watched their plant being dismantled and shipped to China, piece by piece, as they show teams of Chinese workers how to do the jobs they have dedicated their lives to.

"It's not easy to get up in the morning, training them to do your job so that you can be made unemployed," said Borman, pictured, a mother of three who has worked for 23 years at the Sensata auto sensors plant.

Borman knows her eventual fate in the stricken economy that surrounds Freeport. "I am going to be competing for minimum wage jobs with my own daughter," she said.

...Bain has declined to comment. But it has made a lot of money from owning Sensata, quadrupling its initial 2006 investment. In business circles that focus on the bottom line is all that matters. But, not surprisingly, it cuts less ice in Illinois.

...Romney, who [supposedly] left Bain in 1999, has defended his long career there, saying Bain ends up generating economic growth and spurring job creation. Far from profiting from layoffs, Romney has portrayed Bain as a model for the American future.

That argument stuns Illinois governor Pat Quinn. "If he thinks that is the model for American economic growth then he is barking up the wrong tree," Quinn told The Guardian.

Of course, no one at the Romney campaign wants to be linked with the Freeport plant closure. "Governor Romney is not familiar with this issue and has not been involved in the management of Bain since 1999," said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg."

Unless the Dems totally screw this up, Sensata should be their postal child for Romney's corporatist cannibalism of the American middle class.   All they need to do is hang this around Mitt's neck.

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