The reason why the Obama campaign is focusing so much on Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital is because they are trying — mostly successfully — to tear down the one thing Romney continually points to as the key reason why people should vote for him, because he’s a businessman who knows how to create jobs. Paul Waldman explains why this is nonsense:
Mitt Romney barely bothers to persuade the voters that he will be able to get things done in Congress or that he understands foreign policy. Instead, the phrase he repeats over and over on the campaign trail is “I know how the economy works.” The current arguments over Bain Capital notwithstanding, this has been the basic rationale for Romney’s candidacy, that during his time in business he gained a body of knowledge and a unique insight that will allow him, as president, to make dramatic improvements in the economy. During the primaries he argued that this experience would make him a better president than his Republican opponents, and today he argues that it would make him a better president than Barack Obama.
But if there were a magic key to unlock spectacular growth and widely shared prosperity, you’d think we would have found it by now. There hasn’t been a president in decades, the current one included, who didn’t have lots of businesspeople working in his administration. And Barack Obama talks to corporate leaders all the time. If Romney knows something they don’t, he hasn’t told us what it is. If you read through his economic plan, you’ll find that it contains the same things Republicans always advocate: lower taxes, reduced regulations, free trade, and so on. You’ve certainly heard Romney say that his business experience helps him understand the economy. But have you ever heard him say what exactly he learned that no one else knows?
Of course not. Because, as Waldman points out, his “economic plan” is just a laundry list of Republican talking points and platitudes that have never turned out to be true in practice. Lowering business taxes does not magically release a tidal wave of growth and new jobs, and lowering personal taxes certainly doesn’t increase government revenue.