Over the weekend I read Lee Fang’s expose of the “Romney Family Business” in the latest issue of The Nation.
All this time I thought that the only thing Mitt Romney really cared about was lowering taxes on the wealthy. It turns out he plans to peddle influence and sell off the government to cronies and those who pay to be his pal—CORRECTION—the pal of his son Tagg. You know the young Mormon who wanted to slug the President of the United States.
Lee Fang reports that Mitt’s tag-along son owns a company that is a fund of funds for rich investors. For a big take of the action and fees up front, Tagg’s company, Solamere, invests the money of very rich folk into various hedge funds and private equity funds. But they do it through a series of corporations in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere so that the investors don’t pay taxes. It makes the Bush family ties to Saudi oil interests seem virtuous.
But wait, it gets worse.
Investors expect, and get, special access to the presidency.
The article focuses on the potential for giving away the government store to cronies. Here’s one example of what we might expect from a Romney presidency: twice on the campaign trail, Mitt has gone out of his way to praise a for-profit college called Full Sale University in comments about education reform. Full Sale is owned by one of the Solamere equity partners, TA Associates. It’s a real bargain, too—LOL—the third most expensive college in the country.
We can expect Romney to privatize as much as he can and then give the rights away in sweetheart deals to cronies, defined as those who invest with Tagg. BTW, here’s what privatization mean to the U.S. economy: middle class government jobs are replaced by jobs that pay less and more money goes to the executives and owners of the companies with the government contracts.
But wait, it gets worse.
Solamere has invested in Hart Intercivic, which makes voting machines that Politico reports are prone to failures and counting errors. And yes, the Hart Intercivic machines are being used on voting day in parts of Ohio. Of course the good little Tagg-along would never dream of cooking the voting books. That would be illegal.
At this point, it might be best to begin remembering the difference between aristocracy and plutocracy. Aristocrats can be rich or poor, although the rich aristocracy will often help poor relations, especially the talented ones, kind of like Gavin Newsom and John Kerry got help as youths. (Of course, when the help is offered to all regardless of family background it’s sometimes called a meritocracy and sometimes called godless socialism.) You can’t stop being an aristocrat, because it’s in the blood.
But the plutocracy operates on a cash only basis. If you don’t have the money, you have no influence in government. Without the big bucks, you are essentially without a vote.
Keep that in mind in the case that Mitt Romney wins the presidency.