Nothing makes the 1 percent angrier than any suggestion that anyone else helped them acquire their beautiful, beautiful cash.
So I was a little surprised to find out from the New Yorker magazine this week that one of Bain Capital's very first deals was buying "a small airline that ran military shuttles between Tonopah, Nevada and Las Vegas."
Here are the details, from the Financial Times:
In the mid-1980s Tonopah, also known as Area 52, was home to the newly developed, top secret F-117A stealth fighter. Pilots and support personnel lived in Las Vegas and spent their working week in the desert.
A $10m-a-year contract to shuttle them back and forth was the prize asset of a small charter company called Key Airlines, which became a formative deal for Bain Capital…
So from the start, Bain Capital had support from the government. We all built that. Just don't ever mention that in public, or come around asking Mitt and his billionaire friends to kick in a little more so your aunt can pay for her breast cancer treatment or your 5-year-old can have a good kindergarten teacher. That would make them very angry, and you wouldn't like them when they're angry.
P.S. A federal judge ruled in 1992 that Key Airline management had illegally suppressed a 1985 attempt by its pilots to unionize. According to the pilots, they had to form a union to stop unsafe conditions; according to Bain, they were just pissed off with their "admittedly low" salaries.
Of course, if you owned a company and were being paid a lot of money by your fellow citizens to fly stealth fighter pilots to work, you might not care what the reason was -- you might be happy to improve safety OR pay your employees more. Or even both! But that's why, unlike Mitt Romney, you're not worth 230 million dollars.
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