Friday, August 10, 2012

The Real Romney 5

My latest reading of The Real Romney, by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, concerned Mitt Romney's participation in the Mormon church and in Bain Capital.

Regarding Romney's participation in the Mormon church, Kranish and Helman talk about the positive and the negative.  On the positive side, Romney was hospitable to others in the church and was very generous towards fellow Mormons who were in need.  He was also open to egalitarian policies (with respect to women) when he was in a position of authority within the church.  On the negative side, Romney could be rather authoritarian.  He reportedly told a low-income woman in the church that the church wanted for her to give her baby up for adoption or she would be excommunicated (and the implication of that is that she would not be saved).  This is according to the woman's account, but Romney denies that he threatened her with excommunication.  She kept the child (or so I gather), and he grew up to be a successful electrician.

I've not read all of what the book says about Romney's time at Bain Capital, but I learned about what Bain Capital did: it invested in companies, advised them in order to make them better, and sold them at a profit.  This could create jobs, but it could also get rid of jobs that were not deemed efficient, or enable big companies (like Staples) to put mom-and-pops out of business.  But Romney saw value in creative destruction, as the new replaced the old.

I liked what Kranish and Helman said on page 134 about those who joined Bain Capital: "One former partner described the group as a cast of brilliant, socially awkward young men...anxious to prove that they were just as worthy as peers who had gone to big Wall Street firms."

Kranish and Helman also talk about something that they mentioned earlier in the book: that Romney, even though he is wealthy, is quite Spartan when it comes to spending money.  He doesn't like even a little amount of money to go to waste.  I know (or know of) rich people who are like that.

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