Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Bain Capital Paradigm

In a recent NPR piece presidential candidate Mitt Romney briefly weighed in with his perspective on the conversation and growing concern about income inequality: “I think it's fine to talk about those things [income inequality] in quiet rooms…”

Unpacked, this is a jaw-dropping window on his and his 1% ilk’s Bain Capital paradigm. It is identical to the “don’t worry your pretty little heads about it” school of thought, differing only in the percentage it disenfranchises, 99% rather than 50%. It endorses a paradigm in which the 99% of us are best suited to “quietly” slinging burgers for minimum wage, so that the 1% can be left to consider the issue of income inequality in “quiet” boardrooms as an agenda item between votes on outsourcing jobs, reneging on retirement obligations, and increasing executive compensation; in “quiet” private club libraries while sipping brandy and between banter about recent developments in offshoring profits for tax benefits and desirable locations for a 4th house; in “quiet” lobbyist offices between developing strategies to gut the social safety net and to hamstring essential government functions.

Finally, there is, perhaps, just a whiff of fear in Romney’s sentiment, a concern that the 1% is sensing loss of control over their “quiet” domination of the income inequality conversation. I hope I’m right and that his fear becomes ever more palpable.