Friday 9.21.12

Curious.

This campaign thing is ramping up to be full on nasty over the coming weeks. I recall the last few weeks of the McCain/Obama bout and wondering what could possibly happen next? It seemed as if all you had to do was wait another week and the talking points would be on a completely different subject. The whole thing (for the GOP) spiraled out of control and down a shit hole so deep that you could see China from Sarah Palin’s house.

Segue… Speaking of China:

This week started out with the startling hidden video of Romney discussing the 47%. The 47% – the 47%… that is what the news seems to be focusing on. 47% of Americans who will vote for Obama, who – according to Romney – pay no taxes, seek entitlements and just pretty much suck. Of course, when I say suck I am paraphrasing a little. You get the idea.

If you read the entire transcript of that $50,000.00 per plate dinner where Romney makes these statements, you find out that he discusses much, much more.

He mentions blacks and latinos: “if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting bloc has in the past, why we’re in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation.”

This was not the thing that made me curious though. The election should not be about ONE thing or ONE topic. We tend to only recall the most recent soundbites and run with that. There are a lot of things that we need to know about a candidate in order to make a decision on how we should vote. Reading through that transcript got me thinking…

Romney talks a lot about how his Grandfather, Father and Ann’s Father all came from nothing and became something all due to the fact that they we here in America. Mitt says that he and his wife, Ann, gave away their inheritances and pretty much started with nothing. I seriously doubt they experienced life as most of us do. Maybe in the world of really rich fuckers, they we on the low end in the early days. Keep this idea of struggling to get ahead in mind as I delve into the focus of curiosity.

During his talk he mentions going to China: when I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there, employed about 20,000 people, and they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married, and they worked in these huge factories, they made various small appliances, and as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with little bathrooms at the end with maybe ten rooms. And the rooms, they had 12 girls per room, three bunk beds on top of each other. You’ve seen them.

And around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire, and guard towers. And we said, “Gosh, I can’t believe that you, you know, you keep these girls in.” They said, “No, no, no—this is to keep other people from coming in. Because people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out, or they’ll just come in here and start working and try and get compensated. So, we—this is to keep people out.” And they said, “Actually, Chinese New Year, is the girls go home, sometimes they decide they’ve saved enough money and they don’t come back to the factory.” And he said, “And so on the weekend after Chinese New Year, there’ll be a line of people hundreds long outside the factory, hoping that some girls haven’t come back and they can come to the factory. And so, as we were experiencing this for the first time, for me to see a factory like this in China some years ago, the Bain partner I was with turned to me and said, “You know, 95 percent of life is settled if you’re born in America.” This is an amazing land.

And, that is how he ends it. He does not mention whether or not Bain bought or invested in this company. THIS is where I became curious. I figure that if you are going all the way to China, you are going to come back with something more than a tee-shirt or ball cap. I decided to investigate. I discovered this article: Click this bitch. Evidently, Bain and then eventually just Romney have or had ownership of a percentage of these firms. I don’t know if the company he ended up investing in was the same one as mentioned above – but that one had 20,000 employees living and working in what most Americans would consider less that ideal conditions… for less than ideal pay.

So, I am curious: Did Mitt Romney do anything to improve the conditions of those workers who are building your small appliances or did he simply maintain things as they were. My guess is – and this is only a guess – is that he did nothing other than collect a check. I am guessing that he profited on the misfortune of those young women who worked at that type of factory and did it because it was China – and that’s the way you do it in China. He did not have to worry about getting away with anything because things are so shitty there that everyone else would love to have that shitty job working for shit money. It was SOP and those workers were SOL.

It also says, maybe, that Romney can tune out feelings of responsibility for people less fortunate. It simply made me curious.

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