The economy created a disappointing 115,000 jobs in April, and the “official” unemployment rate “dropped” to 8.1 percent (from 8.3%) as a result of more Americans leaving the job market altogether. The economic recovery is stalled and does not look to change any time soon. It is appropriate to ask: how did we get here?
After his election, President Obama wasted no time investing in green energy ventures he confidently predicted would occasion America’s next “Sputnik moment.” However, just as there were no “shovel ready” stimulus projects, the green dream was just that. Bankrupt solar company Solyndra is the poster child for Mr. Obama’s green misadventures, and representative of the wider wreckage his policies have caused.
In the past several months, the following green companies – which received state or federal funding guarantees – declared bankruptcy or laid off hundreds of workers to avoid bankruptcy: Ener1 (renewable energy storage battery technology components), Abound Solar Manufacturing (solar panels), Beacon Power (energy storage), Evergreen Solar (solar panels), SpectraWatt (silicon solar cells), and Solar Trust of America (1,000 megawatt solar plant).
The sheer volume of this waste is astounding. Solyndra defaulted on a $535 million federal loan guarantee, leaving recession-battered taxpayers holding the bag. Solar Trust received a $2.1 billion federal loan guarantee, but last month, the company sought bankruptcy protection in Delaware after failing to meet a federal Energy Department loan guarantee deadline.
Against this backdrop of waste, crony capitalism and failure arrives Mr. Obama’s opponent Mitt Romney, who represents something else entirely: private sector success at Bain Capital. Founded in 1984 by Mr. Romney and two partners, Bain has risked billions investing in hundreds of companies across America. No investment was guaranteed to succeed; many did not pan out. But here’s a very short list of Bain’s more famous successes: AMC Entertainment, Brookstone, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Clear Channel Communications (the largest radio network in America), Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts, Guitar Center, Staples, Toys “R” Us, and Warner Music Group.
Thus, if you go to the movie theater, eat a hamburger, wear a coat, listen to the radio, eat pizza or donuts, play guitar, and buy printer ink, toys or music albums, you’ve benefitted from Bain Capital and Mr. Romney’s leadership. Unlike in politics, where results too often play second fiddle to good intentions, in business, results determine survival. Mr. Romney survived and thrived at Bain.