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THE BAIN SOLUTION

January 13, 2012

 

 

        Before I was a lawyer, I was a computer guy whose "big idea" launched a company which forever changed the way the world entered information into computer systems.  In those halcyon days, virtually every bit of information entered in a computer got there by way of a keypuched IBM card.  Tens of millions of IBM cards were punched each and every day, world-wide.  There was no other way.  Today, many people would look at you blankly were you to ask them about an IBM card, much less a keypunch.

 

           The details are unnecessary here but available to anyone interested; just ask me.  Our company's main selling point was this: entering data this new way increased the productivity of each data entry operator by at least 33%.  That meant a company could FIRE 33% of its operators by using our equipment rather than IBM's equipment.  It was demonstrably true, easy to validate and we sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of our computer equipment plus our competitors sold hundreds of millions of dollars more.  In those days, hundreds of millions was a lot of money.

 

          Thus, we caused thousands and thousands of people to be FIRED which resulted in the enrichment of the three founders, our investors and our shareholders.  And nobody took us to the woodshed for it.  Indeed, we were lauded for being prescient.  Merrill Lynch, then the Holy Grail of the investment banking business, took us public after much vetting.

 

            Enter, Willard Romney.

 

            Bain's business was basically the same: make a business more efficient.  Often, that means saving labor costs for customers or labor costs for the company.

 

            Here's the debate and marketing pitch: It's only the government which is indifferent to saving labor costs.  The government does not need to make a profit, it can print or borrow money easily, tax its citizens without firing anybody and the Obama democrats simply do not give a damn.  In fact, they love it; it's in their DNA.

 

           If, for example, the government had been in the telephone business, we'd still have telephone operators for long-distance calls; direct-dial would cause government employyees to be fired.  That philosophy is exactly why there are still hundreds of thousands of Postal Service employees who are unnecessary when FedEx or others would gladly replace them were the government to end its monopoly on delivery into mailboxes.

 

           So, soon-to-be Mr. rather than President Obama, are you in favor of the inefficient keypuch operators or the unneeded telephone operators?  If you are, then you're in favor of continuing the waste of government (taxpayer) money.  If you are not, then you are in the same business as Bain: making government, business, people, everthing work smarter, better and more effectively.

 

            Where's your beef with that Hussein?

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jim sweeney

Jim Sweeney

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