“You let one little ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up!”

There was an episode of The Sopranos back in 2000 that dealt with Tony Soprano’s friend (played by Robert Patrick) who had a gambling problem. He got into Tony and his crew for $45,000 in a high-stakes poker game that he had no business in. In an effort to get out from under the debt, Patrick’s character gave Tony control of his sporting-goods business. The family proceeded to act like locust by stealing huge quantities of merchandise and selling it on their own. A healthy business goes bankrupt within a matter of months.

Patrick’s character ended up without a business (which was owned by the character’s wife), without a marriage (his wife divorced him), without his children’s love, and without a home.

This episode was brought to mind with the current discussions concerning Bain Capital, the equity company started by Wilfred Romney (and bankrolled by his father George). Bain is in the business of buying up companies to generate profits for its investors. But instead of investing on those acquisitions and improving the business, profits are usually generated by selling off the valuable pieces of acquired companies and thus bankrupting them. This has the effect of destroying many healthy business and putting a lot of people out of work.

Equity companies make no products and provide no services. They solely exist to turn a profit for those who own them, much like the grasshoppers in the Pixar film A Bug’s Life.

One of the interesting (and entirely predictable) aspects of Wilfred Romney’s current presidential campaign is that he doesn’t represent himself as a parasitic bloodsucker, which has been his business role for his entire professional life:

“Bain’s top 10 dollar investments under Romney — averaging $53 million — spanned a number of sectors, including healthcare, entertainment and manufacturing. The firm’s largest investment was its 1999 buyout of Domino’s Pizza, into which Bain put $188.8 million, eventually reaping a fivefold return…four of the 10 companies Bain acquired declared bankruptcy within a few years, shedding thousands of jobs. The prospectus shows that Bain investors profited in eight of the 10 deals, including three of the four that ended in bankruptcy.”

Doesn’t sound like much of a “job creator” to me. Sounds to me more like a great big dog tick.

I wonder how many Republican supporters have thought this through.