Christopher Ruddy's Perspective: Mitt Romney passed up well over a billion dollars to do public service.
It’s an amazing statement, but it’s true.
If you watched the media, you would think Romney is a greedy elitist. However, the three recent presidential debates showed the Republican presidential candidate to be a man passionately concerned about the future of America, and determined to do something about it.
But the true level of Romney’s passion about this country are in the numbers — his personal financial numbers, that is.
A recent Forbes magazine article by Nathan Vardi headlined, “Mitt Romney: The Most Expensive Political Career in American History.”
As Vardi observes, “Lots of people pay a high price for getting into politics, but no one has likely given up more, at least financially, than Mitt Romney.”
Just how much?
Well, Forbes estimates Romney would be worth around $2 billion if he had stayed at Bain Capital rather than run for office.
Romney decided to leave his thriving private-equity firm Bain in 1999 to rescue the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He went on to pursue a political career that led him to the governorship of Massachusetts and now the GOP presidential nomination.
And while Romney is today worth an estimated $230 million, it is indisputable he could have accumulated a far greater fortune had he not left Bain.
Forbes calculates that had he remained at Bain, Romney’s stake in the company would be worth $1.5 billion today. Bloomberg has come to a similar conclusion, estimating that his stake would be worth $1.32 billion.
By leaving Bain when he did, Romney missed out on a decade of lucrative performance fees and the ability to claim some of the firm’s most profitable deals, which all told could have brought in another $500 million.
Had he remained at Bain, then, Romney would “probably be worth $2 billion by now,” Vardi writes, adding that Romney “has consistently shown that he is willing to sacrifice huge sums of money in order to chase his political dreams.”
That amazing sacrifice shows Mitt Romney is clearly on a mission, and that is to make America stronger.
America today faces an economic crisis of gargantuan proportions. Romney can bring to bear his considerable, and successful, business experience to aid a nation that is in financial danger.
Another point addressed by Forbes: President Obama and his supporters have attacked private-equity firms in general, and Bain in particular, as greedy corporate predators.
“My view of private equity is . . . that their priority is to maximize profits,” Obama said in May in reference to Romney’s experience at Bain. That is “not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers.”
As Forbes points out, what Obama and his cadre fail to remember is that private-equity firms are often high-risk ventures that lose money on their investments.
A case in point: Clear Channel Communications. Bain and a partner bought the group of radio stations for $24 billion in 2008, just as the U.S. economy was about to collapse and take the advertising market down with it.
“Loaded with $21 billion in debt and a $1.5 billion annual interest tab, Clear Channel barely earns enough to cover its interest payments and capital expenditures,” according to a companion Forbes magazine article written by Daniel Fisher.
Bain has also seen disappointing results from investments in Toys “R” Us, Home Depot, Burlington Coat Factory, and Guitar Center.
It’s important to note that a number of Bain’s less-than-stellar investments came in the later years of Romney’s involvement with the firm, which he founded back in 1984, and after his departure.
In fact, during Romney’s tenure heading Bain, it boasted an astounding 173 percent annual internal rate of return on the firms it bought and sold through the end of 1999, when he left the firm.
All of which goes to show that not only is would-be president Mitt Romney an experienced businessman, he’s a very good one as well.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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