Our nation’s founders in their infinite wisdom articulated the job description of a President in Article II, Sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution—simply put, he (and someday, hopefully a she) is the Head of the executive branch of the Government and the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces. The primary responsibility of a President, as the head of the administration, is to lay out a vision and propose policy and budget proposals, market them to the public using the “bully pulpit” and use their earned support as a leverage to lobby Congress to pass legislation, besides hiring the right talent to run the administration efficiently and effectively within budget, and to report on the “State of the Union” to Congress.
In short, the President is the CEO of America Inc. with the Congress akin to the Board of Directors and the citizens being the shareholders.
The job description makes the Obama campaign’s argument a disingenuous and specious one, that Mitt Romney’s corporate business leadership experience does not qualify him to be President. In fact, Mitt Romney’s resume uniquely qualifies him in this election to be the Chief Executive of our nation.
With an MBA from Harvard University, Romney joined Bain and Company in 1977 and rose through the ranks to become the CEO credited with rescuing the company from financial crisis. In 1984, Romney co-founded Bain Capital, and steered it to become one of the largest private equity investment firms in the world.
Later, Romney took a leave of absence to turnaround the troubled 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. According to Wikipedia, the 2002 Olympics had a $379 million shortfall, was mired in bribery allegations and scandal—and Romney is credited with revamping the organization, for raising the needed funding and for the successful conduct of the Games. Later, Romney was the Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 credited with eliminating the state’s budget deficit. No dearth of executive leadership experience here!
Perhaps the need of the hour is for us to have a President with proven success in business to come into office and address our monumental problems of stubbornly high unemployment, budget woes and waste in Government with a clinical focus and ruthless efficiency as the private sector runs its business.
A President who will simply run America as a business with the goal of returning value to its shareholders—us the citizens. And at the end of four years, the voters can decide if we should renew his contract for another term.
There may be many policy reasons to not support Romney in this election but his background and business qualifications is certainly not one of them.
Rameysh Ramdas, an SF Bay Area professional, writes as a hobby.
No, it won’t help him solve America’s problems.
Romney’s goal as head of Bain Capital was to generate a profit. Government, by definition, is a not for profit entity. This makes Romney’s experience uniquely unsuited to government.
The head of this nation should be someone who is able to take risks, make quick decisions and keep this country’s edge, fiscally and intellectually.
When examining Romney’s business experience, it is clear that he is risk-averse. Consider that venture capital and private equity firms both invest in companies. Private equity firms buy mature companies and venture firms fund new, early stage and pre-revenue generating companies, which is a high risk proposition. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, three out of four startups fail. The potential for failure in private equity investments is virtually next to nothing. It is more than likely an assured investment. When offered a choice between private equity and venture capital, Romney chose the lower risk option of private equity. It is this type of risk aversion that we do not need in the next CEO of America. We need a president with a venture capital mentality.
Romney had a unique opportunity in 2009 to apply his business acumen and elaborate contacts to help the ailing U.S. Auto industry. Instead he wrote in The New York Times about the President’s bailout strategy “With it, the automakers will stay the course—the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.” These dire Romney predictions thankfully have been proven wrong. These are words of a man who tries to extrapolate his private equity experience; it is not a venture capital frame of reference. Romney missed an opportunity then which could have not only helped Detroit it would have significantly swung the election in his favor.
Interestingly, a political survey by The Slate/SurveyMonkey asked the question “Will Mitt Romney’s business experience make him a better president, a worse president, or neither a better nor a worse president?” A majority of the people polled, 36.4%, indicated that it would not make a difference.
Mitt Romney as Governor of Massachusetts took over during a recession and at the end of his term did not have a very good job growth record. Understandable, given the recession. This is not unlike the current POTUS who took over the worst recession since the Great
Depression. Now, near the end of his first term, things appear headed in the right direction.
Governor Romney’s record in Massachusetts therefore is certainly valid experience to evaluate his candidacy. But he rarely mentions it. So we are left with his experience at Bain Capital which America can do without.
Mani Subramani works in the semi-conductor industry in Silicon Valley.