A very basic primer on deciding between Romney and Obama in November [Reader Post]

By 20 Comments 623 views

In business there is something called “sunk costs” which refers to funds that have been spent and are unrecoverable. At any given point sunk costs are irrelevant to the decisions going forward. An example of this would be a company that has spent a billion dollars building a plant and now has to choose whether or not to spend another billion dollars hiring staff and actually operating the plant. At the point of the decision the only thing that should be relevant to the decision makers is what makes best sense for the firm going forward. Does the company make more money by staffing and operating the plant or by selling it? The decision should be based solely on what’s best going forward, with no sentimental attachment to the billion dollars already spent building the plant.

The key element of sunk costs is recognizing that you can’t change or undo anything that has already happened and therefore the focus of your attention should be what you can do today to impact tomorrow.

The last three years should be looked at as sunk costs… or simply unalterable history. The November election cannot turn back the clock. It can only look at a course for the future.

As such, voters should evaluate Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as a board of directors would if they were seeking to hire a president or CEO to run their organization.

The first thing you’d do is take a cursory look at their resumes. Obama earned an undergraduate degree from Columbia while Romney earned his from BYU. Both men earned graduate degrees at Harvard. On that score you’d have to say that the men were very similar. As for their success as students it is not currently possible to compare the two. Romney graduated in the top 5% of his class at Harvard while Obama has refused to release any of his school transcripts.

The next thing you might look at their relevant work experience.

Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago, taught Constitutional law at Columbia, was elected to the Illinois Senate and then the US Senate. His most important work experience comes from his three years as President of the United States.

Romney worked as a business consultant, founded a private equity firm, managed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and served as Governor of Massachusetts for four years.

Finally you might look at their family situations and personal life as you wouldn’t want your new leader embarrassing your organization. Obama is a nondenominational Christian and is by all measures a devoted husband and dedicated father of two little girls. Romney is Mormon, has been married to his wife for 43 years and the couple has raised five boys.

On first blush both men seem to have the basic qualifications necessary to be President. But one needs to look at the experience a bit deeper now.

Barack Obama’s career was fairly unremarkable prior to entering the White House. As such, his best case can be made when looking at his time in office. He was presented with a difficult situation of the American economy in 2009. What has he done? The most obvious thing is that he’s borrowed and spent a great deal of money. Results? Higher unemployment than when he took over. Fewer people are actually working than when he became President. Inflation is 3% higher although the economy is experiencing stagnant, albeit positive, growth; the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. He passed ObamaCare and was subsequently sued by 27 states and the law is in front of the Supreme Court. Osama Bin Laden is dead. American troops are out of Iraq.

Romney’s work experience is far more telling: While at Bain Capital he earned his shareholders billions of dollars via his rescuing and restructuring companies – although not all such attempts were successful. In Olympic host city Salt Lake, he took a Winter Games that what was on course to lose hundreds of millions of dollars (which is the norm for host cities) and turned it into a money maker – to the tune of $100 million – and a successful Olympics to boot. So too as Governor of Massachusetts, where he left the state with a surplus after having entered office with an expected $3 billion shortfall.

Romney’s tenure as Governor was anything but spectacular however. Although he helped the city of Boston climb out of its Big Dig disaster, he left with a 34% approval rating and budget deficits returned once he left office. He also implemented the blueprint for ObamaCare in Massachusetts during his tenure.

As a member of the nation’s board of directors tasked with choosing a new leader you might want a viable third candidate, but you don’t have one. As such, the question is who will do a better job of running the country for the next four years. The answer is actually crystal clear. While Mitt Romney’s tenure as Governor of Massachusetts was less than spectacular, his business career was everything including spectacular. In addition, at the Olympics he had to deal with a plethora of international organizations, federal, state and local governments and everything was under klieg lights unlike any other event around the world. And he performed that job flawlessly.

Barack Obama on the other hand has made an absolute mess of the US economy, he has divided the country and has accumulated more debt in three years than any person in human history. At the same time he has discouraged millions of Americans from looking for work while dramatically increasing the number of people on the government dole. At the same time he has promised to put the United States on the socialist path of Europe, just as that continent is disintegrating.

American success was built on the backs of entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors, capitalists and workers seeking their own piece of the American Dream. Unleashing the power of that lineup to help the country emerge from the never-ending economic quagmire we find ourselves in is going to take someone who has a basic understanding of what it takes to incentivize those players to not only want to get back into the game of productivity and profitability, but more importantly, understand what keeps them from doing so… i.e. how organizations function or don’t. The organization in this case is the United States and the thing that keeps it from functioning properly is government regulations and interference.

When the American people walk into the voting booths in November and decide which lever to pull, they should imagine themselves pulling the lever for the candidate who is going to help not just them, but the employer who pays their salary or the customer who buys their products or the employee who works for them. Or if they don’t’ have a job, who can create an economic foundation for enough to be created for them to have a choice as to which one to take. They should then open their eyes and pull the lever for Mitt Romney.


The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.

20 Responses to “A very basic primer on deciding between Romney and Obama in November [Reader Post]”

  1. 1

    Nan G

    When you compared the two mens’ marriages you missed a few details.

    Romney has stuck with his wife (and visa versa) for 43 years through her diagnoses with a progressively worsening disease.

    Obama knew his wife was so upset that he lost one election that she drew up divorce papers for them (he bitched to his friends about it).
    Was it money or power that she was so afraid of losing?
    Obviously her ”love” for Obama hinges on one or the other.
    Why else would she go on vacations alone or a day longer than him on separate planes?
    Her spending habits are so lavish that the two of them are actually worried about their finances now as well as into the future!

  2. 2


    Should I vote for a man who wears magical underwear, thinks drinking coffee will keep you out of heaven, and believes that Jesus visited the Americas shortly after His crucifixion?

    Maybe we should just stick to the candidate’s political views and forego attacks on the person.

  3. 3



    Should I vote for a man who wears magical underwear, thinks drinking coffee will keep you out of heaven, and believes that Jesus visited the Americas shortly after His crucifixion?

    Religious bigotry much?

  4. 4

    another vet

    @Aye: He is going quite vile today. With this post, he can no longer take the moral high ground when discussing matters related to bigotry or intolerance.

    Relax Greg. Yesterday was a defeat for Obama but the election is still 5 months away. That’s a long time in politics.

  5. 5


    Maybe I should have waited for a thread on Obama’s Muslim Religion, or his Black Liberation Theology.

    Yeah, you’re right. Yesterday’s outcome was a disappointment, and a few personal comments directed at me afterward left me antagonized. I should probably have just taken it out on the people who made the comments and gotten it out of my system.

    In truth, I hold no one’s magical underwear against them. The other person’s religion always seems a bit odd. It’s all a matter of perspective.

  6. 6

    Nan G

    Greg, you remind me of that tribe on Papau New Guinea.
    They JUST this month apologized for how many Methodists they ate when those people came to their land to bring them the Gospel.

  7. 7


    @Nan G, #6:

    Possibly they were confused by the Methodist communion service. “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Something may have been lost in the translation.

  8. 9

    another vet

    @Greg: The Democrats would be wise not to downplay the results and the Republicans would be wise not to consider it the nail in Obama’s coffin.

  9. 12


    ^^^ Fails

    The U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp, which insures company retirement plans, determined in 2002 that GS had underfunded its pension by $44 million. The federal agency, funded by corporate levies, stepped in to cover the basic pension payments

    The PBGC is not funded by general tax revenues. Its funds come from four sources:

    – Insurance premiums paid by sponsors of defined benefit pension plans;
    – Assets held by the pension plans it takes over;
    – Recoveries of unfunded pension liabilities from plan sponsors’ bankruptcy estates;
    – Investment income.

  10. 13


    What seems to be somewhat missing from the conversation is that two large Cities in the PRK have told their workers to tighten their belts a bit. Plus, a tax increase on coffin nails is currently losing, it’ll be weeks before the results of this tax increase are finalized.

    That said, currently the best man for the job of POTUS is Mittins. As long as the Congress is full of TEA.

  11. 14


    @mossomo, #12:

    Actually, the PBGP is being used as a means for corporations to unload their unwanted pension liabilities onto unsuspecting taxpayers before going on their merry way. On paper it’s funded by those sources listed. In reality, the PBGP won’t have the money to cover all its obligations. It’s being turned into corporate welfare scam to get private interests off the hook while sticking the government and the public with the bill.

    Record Deficit for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

    Pension Backstop Posts Record Shortfall. Is a Bailout Next?

  12. 15

    Nathan Blue

    @Greg: If Obama followed the doctrine you speak of, he would have never gotten close to the White House. Dems are the supreme character assasins. That’s all they have.

  13. 16



    Went fishing and got a bite.

    Greg – A shit ton of shady occurred with the GM bailout. One being the sellout of retired salaried Delphi employees. Delphi, a parts unit of GM, saw the auto czar/treasury dept/unions handoff their pensions to the PBGC. While 85% funded, all lost and a huge lot realized a 70% loss. Meanwhile no explanation was given to why their hourly union brothren remained 1oo% funded while being equally short. Here

    Then there’s this thing with Beth Steel. Here. A judge ruled those from local steel mills that busted who’s pensions are covered by PBGC could get “free” tax payer subsidized goodies. The judge bequeathed government, since govt is you and me, he bequeathed us and our children with a bill covering 72.5 percent of their health insurance and drug premiums – including dental and vision care for those who qualify.

    You say corporate welfare, I say union welfare.

    In 2011, the Department of Labor sent out “critical” status notices to the managers of 131 union pension funds that are underfunded by 35 percent or more.

    Today, defined benefit pensions are largely confined to government employers—and private sector unions. Interestingly, the major industries that have unloaded their pensions onto the PBGC—airlines, steelmakers, and automakers—once had something in common with government: They all once operated in an environment of very little competition. The implication is clear: Defined benefit pensions thrive in stasis. In a highly competitive economy, however, they are extremely risky.

    Defined benefit pensions thrive in stasis.

  14. 17


    Union welfare? The corporations defaulted on pensions that they were contractually obligated to honor. They got their 20 or 30 years of service out of people, and then decided to change their side of the agreement after they’d had their use of them and their profits from them. It would be forgivable if the corporations had gone out of business. Instead they often reorganized, cut their work forces, cut worker pay and benefits, and then went on to turn new profits and reward their CEOs for performance.

    Listen to what a few American Airline employees have to say about a fairly typical scenario.

  15. 18


    My friend – corporations defaulted on promises that the unions forced.

    But the beast will feed itself – the people involved who know how to create a product that you and me want to give them money for, they will want to eat today. I gota hundred on it. You can’t fight math and markets. Promises today won’t pay for tomorrow. Dinosaur. That’s why the majority of the private sector has moved on to defined contribution plans.

    It’s worth repeating: defined benefit pensions – union forced or lobbied by law (Project Labor Agreements in California) – defined benefit pensions thrive in stasis; in a highly competitive economy however, they are extremely risky [no longer exist in the private sector]; that’s why the majority of the private sector has moved on to defined contribution plans.

  16. 19


    Major factor – Do we want to live in a Government [takeover ] Regulated country and in Tyranny…OR do we want to live in Freedom, Liberty and Opportunity?

    Government regulated example: A New York “Liberal” is passing a LAW REGULATING the Size of Soft Drinks a business can sell and someone can purchase [Ahem – can drink] – Dumb, Dumb, Dumb…what is to prevent someone from purchasing 2 x 16 oz soft drinks?

    With every damn thing going on in the State of NY [people leaving in droves] and in the Nation – is this really something that is so “Important” at this very time and place….is this really necessary??

    This is something we face with a Government ‘Regulated’ in your Personal Lives, in your face we know better than you do – we know what’s ‘best’ for you mentality….

    At Jeopardy is the “freedom” for the business to sell said soft drink in any size, and the “freedom” the customer has to purchase the said drink in any size sold…. I might add it is a LIBERAL who is putting this into place …… Wake up America!!

    WAKE UP AMERICA!!! ‘LIBERALS’ WANT TO TAKE AWAY YOUR FREEDOM AND LIBERTIES!! Spend, Spend, Spend, Waste, Waste, Waste, And then TAX you [and your children ] to DEATH to BOOT!!

    REPUBLICANS / CONSERVATIVES believe in your Freedoms and Liberties…to Live your life without Government Regulated, we know what is best for you Intrusion(s)….

    BUT!! This is just what has been happening through LIBERAL POLICIES ….bit by bit, little by little, little step by little step – our FREEDOM is being taken away…and it doesn’t matter this [soft drink regulation] is a ‘small’ thing…small things lead to bigger and bigger things….bit by bit…

    Just sayin’