Third time is almost the charm: Here’s the way the workload has gone at The One True Liberal Channel this week:
All week, the rest of the children have gamboled and played, riding their favorite hobbyhorses. All by his lonesome, Ed Schultz has tried to explain the way Mitt Romney looted those steel workers.
We refer to the detailed report published by Reuters last week (click here). Last night, Schultz tried to explain this incident for the third time. This time, we’d say he came pretty darn close. To watch the full segment, click this:
SCHULTZ (1/12/12): McCain says Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital is the essence of what the Republican Party is all about?Key point: The American people won’t learn about this unless public figures tell them. (Public figures they can trust. Public figures who strike them as serious.)
Here’s the essence John McCain is defending: Robbing hard-working Americans of their pensions and putting the excess debt on the back of the United States taxpayer.
In 1993, Bain Capital became the majority shareholder of a Kansas City steel mill. Now according to Reuters, less than a decade later, the mill was padlocked and some 750 people lost their jobs. Workers were denied the severance pay and health care insurance that they had been promised. And their pension benefits were cut by as much as $400 a month.
How’s that for treating the workers good?
The remaining benefits, by the way, were paid by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, a pension protection agency in the United States government. Because Bain left the government on the hook for the pension benefits, the cost to the taxpayers was a $44 million bailout.
Mitt Romney’s candidacy may be the best thing that could have happened to the American worker because it’s a wakeup call for everybody. Now, we know income inequality has gotten worse in the last three decades. Now the American people are learning about the vultures who have helped make it worse.
This was Schultz’ third attempt at telling this remarkable story. This time, he came pretty close to getting it right. He should have included the basic facts about the massive payments Bain extracted from this steel mill. The money it extracted was remarkably close to the $44 million by which it underfunded those pensions, forcing the federal government to come in and clean up its mess.
Still and all, Schultz finally gave most of the basic facts about this remarkable episode. Moments later, he spoke with David Cay Johnston, the rare type of cable guest who knows what he’s talking about.
Johnston didn’t waste your time, or insult your intelligence, with stupid shoeshine tales. He had the following exchange with Schultz. The public should hear about this:
JOHNSTON: The record on Romney is somewhat mixed. There are companies that they essentially bought, sucked all the cash out of them, and then left behind. And I think the pension guarantee issue is one that will cause him a lot of problems, and a lot of explaining is necessary about why the government had to step in in this area.All week long, Schultz has tried to explain this matter. We'll make a wild guess:
SCHULTZ: Did Bain profit from reducing pensions?
JOHNSTON: Oh, there’s no question that they were able, in the particular case that was mentioned involving the steel mill, to take money out of this company, it didn’t have a properly funded pension, and fob it off on the Pension Benefit Guarantee Program, is clearly an important part of this story.
American voters would not be amused by the conduct Johnston describes. American voters would not be amused to learn that they had to clean up after Romney. They would not be amused to learn about the large sums he looted from this company—large sums the federal government had to restore.
They wouldn’t like the way he left those workers without their full pensions, without the insurance they had contracted for. Gail Collins thinks those people are amusing. Many voters would think something different.
Or what the heck? We can just tell the voters all about Seamus, as Rachel did last night. Once he began to leak those brown fluids, Mitt Romney should have let him get into the car!
We napped for decades; now we play. People are dead in Iraq thanks to us.
These are the ways of our tribe. As Romney tore some companies down, we tear down the culture.