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Obama’s “venture capital vampire”

Posted by Richard on May 27, 2012

The Obama campaign continues to hammer Romney for his association with Bain Capital, the private equity firm they portray as a “vampire” that profited from layoffs and plant closures. So Todd Shepherd at Colorado Peak Politics decided to play the ever-popular “sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander” game.

It seems that former Denver mayor Federico Peña, who is again this year (as in 2008) Obama National Campaign Co-chair, is every bit as much a “venture capital vampire” as R0mney. Since 2000, Peña has been a partner in the private equity firm Vestar Capital. Shepherd documented some of the recent Obama campaign contributions of Peña and Vestar managing director James Kelley. Then he highlighted some of Vestar’s layoffs and plant closures at the companies it acquired, like Del Monte Foods and Solo Cup Company.

To his credit, Shepherd pointed out that Vestar Capital isn’t a bunch of “evil corporate raiders.” Neither is Bain Capital. These firms serve a valuable purpose, rescuing ailing companies when they can and redirecting resources to more valued uses when they can’t. Their goal certainly is (and ought to be) to make money. But in the process, they improve the economy and make us all better off.

Inefficient, uncompetitive companies failing and factories shutting down are an essential aspect of economic growth and progress, leading to more wealth and better products, jobs, and living standards for all. If that idea is new or strange to you, read about Joseph Schumpeter’s concept of Creative Destruction.

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