Reagan Budget Director Challenges Romney’s Claim Of Being A Job-Creator

David Stockman, who was director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan and largely crafted Reagan’s fiscal policy, published a column in the Daily Beast excoriating Mitt Romney’s claim that being a private equity executive makes one a job creator and, thus, qualified to be president. Stockman wrote:

Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses. He did not build enterprises the old-fashioned way—out of inspiration, perspiration, and a long slog in the free market fostering a new product, service, or process of production. Instead, he spent his 15 years raising debt in prodigious amounts on Wall Street so that Bain could purchase the pots and pans and castoffs of corporate America, leverage them to the hilt, gussy them up as reborn “roll-ups,” and then deliver them back to Wall Street for resale—the faster the better. […]

The larger point is that Romney’s personal experience in the nation’s financial casinos is no mark against his character or competence. I’ve made money and lost it and know what it is like to be judged. But that experience doesn’t translate into answers on the great public issues before the nation, either. The Romney campaign’s feckless narrative that private equity generates real economic efficiency and societal wealth is dead wrong.

Stockman, who also worked in private equity during his career, used much of the column to criticize the Federal Reserve, a constant target of his ire. But his overall point aligns with that made by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who said that Romney “makes his money the same way I make my money. He makes money by moving around big bucks, not by straining his back and going to work cleaning the toilets or whatever it may be. He makes it shoving around money.”

Stockman has been a thorn in the side of the GOP over the last few years, criticizing its fealty to tax cuts above all else. “After 1985, the Republican Party adopted the idea that tax cuts can solve the whole problem, and that therefore in the future, deficits didn’t matter and tax cuts would be the solution of first, second, and third resort,” he said. He also said that the House Republican budget authored by Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan “boils down to a fetish for cutting the top marginal income-tax rate” and “is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices.”