Monday, October 15, 2012

#Sensata-- Don't Expect Darrell Issa To Trump Up One Of His Witch Hunts On This One


When far right propagandists can get some traction for whatever made-up nonsensical story-- Obama's wedding ring, Obama arming Mexican dug lords, Michelle Obama forcing kids to eat vegetables-- that starts as chain letters to the low-info GOP base, they can count on Moe Howard Darrell Issa to launch one of his expensive and pointless partisan witch hunts, using the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee exactly the way it was never supposed to be used.

You can rest assured he won't be launching an investigation into Sensata, a Freeport, Illinois company owned by Mitt Romney that is forcing its workers to train their Chinese replacements before firing them and sending their jobs to China, where wages are lower and Romney will make greater profits to hide away from tax collectors. Rich people not paying their taxes by sending their money to Swiss banks and shady offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and Luxembourg, isn't something that concerns former car thief Darrell Issa, now the wealthiest person in Congress himself. [Note Obama won Issa's congressional district in 2008 but Steve Israel, the reptilian chairman of the DCCC has given him a free pass to reelection, along with all the worst of the GOP House leaders.]

Following the Mitt Romney business model, Bain Capital, which is still in great part owned by Romney, is moving Sensata, a company that makes high tech sensors and controls for cars and airplanes, to China the day before the election. 170 Illinois workers will lose their jobs and they have begged Romney to intercede on their behalf. There's lots of profit for him in the move so, of course, he's adamantly refused and ignored their desperate entreaties. According to the NY Times Romney remains deeply tied to business decisions like this."
As Bain’s founder, he established its business model, which is to wring the maximum efficiency from a company for the benefit of Bain’s investors, even if that means closing plants, shipping jobs to China, and laying off American workers. That’s how private equity often works, and Bain has done it many times before, sometimes to the benefit of a company’s workers, and sometimes to their detriment.

When Bain first led a buyout of Sensata, in fact, it laid off hundreds of American workers and sent their jobs offshore. As the Times reported, the Labor Department spent $780,000 retraining some of the laid-off employees.

In addition, Mr. Romney’s generous retirement agreement ensures that he continues to profit from the deals and decisions that Bain makes. He owns about $8 million worth of Bain funds that hold 51 percent of Sensata’s shares. If Sensata saves money by closing the Freeport plant, that could add money to Mr. Romney’s trust accounts, now or after the election.

Many conservatives want Mr. Romney to make a full-throated defense of these practices, and hope he explains to Americans that plant closings and offshoring are a natural part of capitalism and can have long-term positive effects for the economy.

But Mr. Romney clearly feels he can’t do that, because the political effect of defending layoffs would be toxic. That’s especially true because his entire campaign is built around accusing President Obama of not creating enough American jobs.

As on so many issues, he is trapped between his past and his politics, unable to defend his career and unable to escape it.
Yesterday, much to the Romney-Ryan campaign's chagrin, Jake Tapper brought the Sensata issue into the mainstream by talking about it on ABC News' This Week.
In December of 2011, the Romney campaign attempted to deal with this conflict by claiming that the candidate shed all of his interests in China at the same time as Romney made “confronting China” a central part of his message, but the truth is that he still holds interests in Bain Capital that make a profit off of investments in Chinese companies, one of which is being sued by Microsoft for piracy of American products.

In September of 2012, the Romney campaign admitted to PolitiFact that Romney was still invested in China. The campaign claims the money is invested through Romney’s blind trust, but even Mitt Romney once warned that blind trusts were a ruse.

In fact, Mitt Romney’s blind trust doesn’t meet federal requirements for a blind trust. It’s called a blind trust because the candidate chooses to call it so, not because it adheres to the federal rules that would qualify it as such.

...On China, Romney is as hypocritical as he has revealed himself to be on most issues of the day. The only thing he seems sure of is that a 20% tax cut starting with the rich will save us all. The rest is nothing but campaign rhetoric often belied by his own actions even as he feverishly and with great neediness to be loved by all proclaims it on the trail.

Tough on China for cheating, but not when he’s making money off of that cheating that steals from American companies? You betcha. Kudos to Jake Tapper for coming prepared with some hard facts today.

I’d like to see the mainstream media discuss the labor conditions that allow Romney’s Chinese investments to be so profitable, given Romney’s utter cluelessness about the working class here (he proclaimed a $19,000 a year job to be a good middle class job) and his belief that the Chinese factory he visited was surrounded by wire to keep wannabe workers out instead of fencing the workers in.

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