Maha has occasionally focused on mesothelioma, and yesterday she emailed a link to this from Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Cohn. It is a look at how a Kansas City steel company named GS Industries was bought out by Bain Capital, sucked dry and shut down. The resulting struggle for many former employees to secure useful health care shows one of the dark sides of leveraged buyout culture.
The article details how Bain engaged in what former Reagan budget director David Stockman calls “leveraged speculation” and how its behavior - which both venture capitalists and Mitt Romney himself acknowledge is not about growing new businesses - has inflicted catastrophic human consequences on those unfortunate enough to be standing between Bain executives and a fat bonus check.
As a side issue, one of the unheralded players in this election season is the U.S. Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp (USPBGC). It makes an appearance in Cohn’s piece, and its role in assisting people who had been left stranded by Bain also gets examined in this piece on the business side of the GS deal, as well as in this one looking at Bain’s strategy of debt-fueled profit taking. The USPBGC has long been used by companies wishing to restructure debt, but no one seems much interested in reconciling the glorious pursuit of swashbuckling capitalism with its apparent need to rely on the federal government for these kinds of back door bailouts.
In any event, Cohn’s piece is very well documented, compellingly written and well worth a few minutes of your time. Give it a look.
On another note, no I have not fallen off the face of the earth. After several fairly intense weeks of activism on the fracking front I needed a little breather. Between that, a certain amount of extra business elsewhere, and the political scene largely turning over to the horse race, I decided to take a little break. Regular posting should resume next week.