Biden Vilifies Romney/Ryan at Labor Day Rally, Unaware that Unions Invested $1.56 Billion with Bain
posted at 8:14 pm on September 3, 2012 by Matt Vespa
Our inimitable Vice President Biden was courting big labor today. Of course, it’s Labor Day. However, it appears the Democrats are beating a dead horse. Unions looked invincible during the Wisconsin labor reforms, but Gov. Scott Walker eventually got more votes during his recall election than he did in the 2010 gubernatorial race. Furthermore, union membership rates have been declining steadily over the past two decades. Regardless:
Biden told about 3,500 supporters Monday that the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would roll back collective bargaining rights, denigrate their work and undermine the slow economic recovery under way.
One of Obama’s top ambassadors to the working-class, Biden also sought with his remarks to keep a group of reliably Democratic voters motivated before an Election Day that is shaping up to be close.
‘Romney and Ryan don’t think that much about you guys,’ he said at the outdoor rally. ‘They view you, the working women and men of America as the problem. We view you as the solution. Look folks, we know who built this country and we know who is going to rebuild it. It’s you. Instead of vilifying you, we should be thanking you. We owe you.’
However, such sentiments are blunted by the fact the party of labor is having their convention in the right-to-work state of North Carolina – with the president’s acceptance speech being held in the Bank of America stadium. I’m sure labor is thrilled.
In angry response to the decision of national Democrats to hold their convention in labor-unfriendly turf, many union leaders are scaling back their participation in the party conclave or pulling back from it altogether. Although AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka plans to be in Charlotte this week and will hold a meeting of labor delegates Tuesday, he made it clear in a letter to fellow labor officials that ‘we will not be making major monetary contributions to the convention or the host committee for events or activities around the convention.’
To make matters worse, Democrats may not be able to fill all the seats in the Bank of America stadium in time for President Obama’s acceptance speech. Howard Portnoy posted about this embarrassing scenario in the Green Room today.
FOX News reports that college students and members of predominantly black churches from all across the Carolinas are being shuttled to Charlotte by the busload in the hopes of having enough warm bodies to fill the stadium’s 73,778 seats:
Democrats have been fretting for months over whether the president can draw a capacity crowd…. Polls show voter enthusiasm is down, as are Obama’s crowds for his battleground state campaign rallies.
In its own coverage of the story, UPI writes that ‘empty seats would present a devastating image to President Barack Obama’s campaign.’ The article proceeds to quote a former administration official as saying, ‘This isn’t 2008 and this isn’t Colorado.’ The reference is to the Denver sports venue previously known as Mile High Stadium, where Obama accepted his party’s nomination in front of a ‘sell-out’ crowd.
Nevertheless, labor is expected to dole out some serious cash to Democratic candidates in this election cycle with “the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)… expected to spend more than $60 million to help re-elect Obama and assist congressional Democrats. Overall, labor unions are likely to spend $400 million on behalf of Democratic candidates this fall.”
However, while Obama/Biden may be happy with their $400 million dollar gift, are they aware that these people, who vociferously espouse their support for the Democratic ticket, also invested with Bain?
For all the ranting and vilifying of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, unions had zero problems investing money with the firm. As Deroy Murdock of the New York Post wrote on September 1,”Bain’s private-equity executives have enriched dozens of organizations and millions of individuals in the Democratic base — including some who scream most loudly for President Obama’s re-election.”
Here is the list:
Government-worker pension funds are the chief beneficiaries of Bain’s economic stewardship. New York-based Preqin uses public documents, news accounts and Freedom of Information requests to track private-equity holdings. Since 2000, Preqin reports, the following funds have entrusted some $1.56 billion to Bain:
* Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund ($2.2 million)
* Indiana Public Retirement System ($39.3 million)
* Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System ($177.1 million)
* The Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System ($19.5 million)
* Maryland State Retirement and Pension System ($117.5 million)
* Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada ($20.3 million)
* State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio ($767.3 million)
* Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System ($231.5 million)
* Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island ($25 million)
* San Diego County Employees Retirement Association ($23.5 million)
* Teacher Retirement System of Texas ($122.5 million)
* Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System ($15 million)
These funds aggregate the savings of millions of unionized teachers, social workers, public-health personnel and first responders. Many would be startled to learn that their nest eggs are incubated by the company that Romney launched and the financiers he hired.
This serves as another undercutting of the president’s pathetic campaign narrative against Mitt Romney and the Republicans. Moreover, Tom Blumer wrote on Newsbusters yesterday, that:
On August 12, the Boston Globe’s Scott Helman generated a ten web-page tome on Bain and private equity. Included therein was this gem of a quote, which one would think might have raised “uh-oh” alarms among many of Bain’s fiercest critics on the left (at Page 8 of 10; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Take the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which has some $1.25 billion invested with Bain. A spokesman for the system, Ricardo Duran, says in an e-mail that its fiduciary duty to 856,000 members and their families is paramount. ‘With that as a backdrop,’ he says, ‘the scrutiny generated by a heated election year matters less than the performance the portfolio generates to the fund.’ And private equity, Duran says, has been the best-performing asset class in the system’s portfolio over the past 24 years.
However, Blumer notes that the press has “virtually” ignored this story.
Murdock concludes his piece asking:
Is Bain really a gang of corporate buccaneers who plunder their ill-gotten gains by outsourcing, euthanizing feeble portfolio companies and giving cancer to the spouses of those whom they fired? If so, union bosses, government retirees, liberal foundations and elite universities thrive on the wages of Bain’s economic Darwinism. If, however, these institutions relish the yields that Bain Capital generates by supporting start-ups and rescuing distressed companies, 80 percent of which have prospered, then this money is honest — and Team Obama isn’t.
Unions hate being in a right-to-work state for a convention, but a few of them managed to invest over $1 billion dollars with Bain, who then vilify them for being evil capitalists. I think their credibility is shot. The mere fact that they’re a cartel operating into a free market system is a good enough reason for their dissolution, but unions have no business complaining about anything during the Democratic convention– let along the location of the event.
Happy Labor Day!
Recently in the Green Room: