Being Pro-Business

Mitt Romney shouts from the rooftops how pro-business he is, but here's the deal: he is only pro-certain kinds of business.
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Sometimes candidates running for office say especially ridiculous things, but the conventional wisdom crowd doesn't even notice because it sounds like something they already assume to be true. Mitt Romney's statement on Wednesday that the Obama administration had pursued the "most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs series of policies in modern American history" is the ultimate example of this.

Mitt Romney shouts from the rooftops how pro-business he is, but here's the deal: he is only pro-certain kinds of business. His policies, whose only differences with George W. Bush's policies are that Romney's are more extreme, are lavish in being supportive of the biggest banks and his old pals in the leveraged buyout world; the biggest fossil fuel energy companies; big insurance and pharmaceutical companies; the biggest defense contractors; the companies who dominate certain industries like retail and agribusiness. Romney is pro-incumbent businesses who are already big and wealthy and powerful, and pro-financial sector businesses who make money off of financial speculation and tax loopholes. But that's pretty much it. For the 200 or so big conglomerates in those categories, he is all for them.

But for all the small businesses that got destroyed in the wake of bank collapse caused by financial speculation, he's no help at all. For the small community banks and credit unions competing with the Too Big To Fail banks, he has nothing to say. For green jobs companies fighting to compete with oil and coal companies and all the solar, wind, and conservation industries being created in China and Europe, Romney will not lift a finger. For the small retailers trying to compete with Wal-Mart, there will be no targeted help of any kind. For independent bookstores and publishing houses trying to survive Amazon's anti-competitive practices, there will be no relief at all. The auto industry and their suppliers would be gone if Romney had been president these last four years. U.S. steel and rubber companies would have been decimated. Home construction companies and realtors would just have wait to let the housing market "hit bottom," and would continue to be decimated in the meantime.

And in community after community, all those local businesses who survive because teachers and cops and firefighters and road construction workers have jobs and the money to come in and buy things would be out of business. As entrepreneur Nick Hanauer said so brilliantly, it isn't the rich people who create the jobs, it is the middle-class people who are their customers, and in Mitt Romney's economy, a whole lot less of them would have jobs. That is not pro-business.

The contrast between President Obama's speech and Mitt Romney's economic speeches yesterday could not have been clearer. Romney believes in siding with the incumbents -- the most powerful businesses who make money because they dominate the marketplace and because their lobbyists and their political money get them extra tax breaks and subsidies they can manipulate. Romney wants the wealthy people and businesses at the top to stay firmly and permanently planted at the top of the heap, and give them ever more tax cuts and loopholes and subsidies from our government. Obama's speech made clear that his vision of the future is more firmly planted on the side of growing the middle class and helping up and coming entrepreneurs rather than just the incumbents. And it was Obama who made the decision to save the American auto industry and the hundreds of thousands of small businesses who supply parts and sell those cars and have autoworkers as customers. It was Obama who is pro-solar and wind and energy conservation. It is Obama who wants to expand broadband internet access, which could create millions of new jobs all across the country. It is Obama whose stimulus bill and fiscal relief for state and local governments that has created or saved the jobs and customers that kept hundreds of thousands of local businesses alive.

Both Romney and Obama have businesses that they are for helping, but the number of businesses in Romney's case is so much smaller, because he wants to help only the biggest, wealthiest, and most politically powerful. Obama is pro-business, the difference being that the number of businesses he is working to help is a whole lot bigger.

As weak as our economy is right now, Romney's version of economics would break us, causing a depression as millions more people get laid off, millions more homes get foreclosed, and a few powerful banks and companies rob the rest of us blind. That isn't pro-business, it's pro-economic collapse.

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