Fiscal Skills: Romney vs. Obama
Let's put the financial and management skills of President Barack Obama up against his potential opponent in the presidential election, Mitt Romney. After all, with Obama becoming the president when he did, he had a role quite similar to that of Mitt Romney in the business world. Instead of being in charge of turning around businesses, as was Romney's job at Bain Capital, Obama was in charge of improving the world's largest economy.
Consider first the business history of the potential GOP presidential candidate, as it has garnered plenty of scrutiny lately. As a co-founder of Bain Capital, Romney led the venture-capital company in the funding, management, and turnaround of numerous companies, including Staples, Domino's Pizza, and Sports Authority.
Success in these and other investments led to more money flowing into Bain Capital, as investors gained confidence in the skills of Romney and others at the firm. Yes, there were investments that went south, which is to be expected from a firm that either invests in the early stages of a company's growth cycle or becomes involved in trying to turn around a slow-growth or fledgling company.
Romney and Bain Capital were successful. Otherwise, investors would have stopped supplying them with millions of dollars to invest in various businesses.
Unlike tax dollars, which are paid to the federal government regardless of the desire of the taxpayer, the amount of investment given to a company such as Bain Capital is the result of free choice and is reflective of the investors' expectation that their investment will grow in value.
In other words, those who were supplying Bain Capital with investment dollars had confidence in the decisions and actions of Mitt Romney while he was leading Bain Capital.
Now let's consider Obama's fiscal job performance. Like Romney, who worked to turn around businesses that were struggling to grow, Obama, as he often reminds us, inherited a struggling economy. With three years as the "chief executive officer" of the largest economy, let's evaluate Obama's performance in the same way in which we evaluate a corporate executive such as Romney.
What about corporate debt? While corporate debt has its place in a business, such as to finance the expansion of a business unit, too much debt can quickly become detrimental to the corporation. President Barack Obama has overseen U.S. debt growth from $10.6 trillion to $15.2 trillion. That represents a 43% increase in the total debt under the leadership of America's CEO. For the first time in history, the United States has received a downgrade of its sovereign debt rating, something thought nearly impossible prior to the Obama presidency.
Worse yet, total debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has risen from 57% in 2000 to 94% in 2010 and now has passed 100%. We as a nation, under President Barack Obama, are nearly to the point in which we are borrowing more than we're producing.
Any CEO with these types of performance figures would, to say the least, have great difficulty in keeping his job. The shareholders of the company would want him ousted and would seek a new CEO with a proven track record of success. It would be inconceivable for the company to sign the CEO to a new four-year contract after his dismal performance.
Then there's the unemployment rate under President Obama. Think of U.S. workers as customers of the federal government, as their tax dollars from wages provide some of the revenues for the government. A corporation would not want its customer base to shrink, as that results in fewer entities providing revenues. Yet, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, the U.S. unemployment rate has risen from 7.3% in December 2008, a month before he was sworn into office, to 8.5% as of December 2011, and as high as 10% at one time.
Add to this the multiple bailouts, including the Solyndra debacle, and the rise of gasoline prices under this administration, and the results are far from producing confidence among us, the citizens or stakeholders of this nation.
Stack the fiscal "accomplishments" of Barack Obama alongside the business accomplishments of Mitt Romney, and there is no comparison. The voters and the media would be wise to further scrutinize the fiscal results of Barack Obama's presidency instead of look for the few disappointing business investments by Mitt Romney at Bain Capital.
While America would benefit from Mitt Romney's financial skills and judgment as our president, simply ask yourself this question: politics aside, and based upon experience, would Bain Capital hire Barack Obama?
Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.