A Yale professor and think tank analyst defended the private equity industry on Friday after recent attacks by a journalist and Republican candidates in recent days, as the business career of GOP candidate Mitt Romney gets closer scrutiny.
In an opinion piece published in the Wall Street journal on Friday, Jonathan Macey, a law, corporate finance and securities law professor, and also a fellow at the Hoover Institution, calls the attacks “anticapitalist claptrap.”
Macey cites a film sponsored by Newt Gingrich’s political action committee titled "When Mitt Romney Came to Town" which accuses Romney and his former company, Bain Capital, of taking companies, looting them and then tossing their workers out on the street.
Macey also brings up John Huntsman’s attacks on Romney including the description of private equity as an industry that "breaks down businesses [and] destroys jobs, as opposed to creating jobs and opportunity, leveraging up, spinning off, [and] enriching shareholders".
Macey cites an article by Forbes.com writer Robert Lenzner stating that there was only one transaction in which Bain paid a significant dividend. Lenzer says the private equity industry is one of “company stripping, the ruthless way for a raider to exploit a weaened prey for its own profit.”
Macey says private-equity firms make money only if they improve the performance of their companies, and don’t profit unless their companies can meet their obligations to worker and other creditors.
Usually private-equity firms only profit when companies have grown, rather than shrink, Macey says. These firms not only help corporate performance but in the long run they lead to more employment and higher wages as well.
“The alternative to the leaner, smaller firms created by private equity are bankrupt firms that do not employ anybody. And private-equity firms tend to use more incentive-based pay than other firms,” Macey added.
Macey pointed out that according to a 2008 Government Accountability Office report, companies invested by private-equity that had low growth grew significantly after being acquired by a private-equity firm.
“Unlike some other investors who trade in debt and derivatives, private-equity firms make money by investing in businesses that make things and provide services. This industry should be applauded, not attacked,” Macey said.
“Assaults on the private-equity industry really are attacks on economic freedom, because the private-equity process is nothing more and nothing less than free-market capitalism at work. Shame on all the people, particularly those who claim to be friendly to capitalism, who attack Mitt Romney because of his association with the U.S. private-equity industry,” Macey concluded.
Published by Medicaldaily.com