The feds take $100 billion a year from taxpayers and send it to companies like Romney's, says DeHaven, who now works for the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank.

But like most good Republicans, he's reticent to single out the candidate for criticism. "It depends on what he knew and Bain's involvement in obtaining subsidies," he says. "I don't know if it makes him a hypocrite or not, but he should answer questions about it."


Romney (center left) and a colleague hold a bill together in a Bain Capital photo.
Romney (center left) and a colleague hold a bill together in a Bain Capital photo.
Romney
Romney

Those answers won't be forthcoming. Romney refuses to discuss most of the companies he purchased at Bain, nor will he release his tax records from those years. As a result, voters are left to make their own call on his catalogue of creative destruction — and what he might be like as president.

Romney has professed his admiration for Ronald Reagan. But judging by his business history, the president he most resembles is Vladimir Putin. Romney has devoted his life to ensuring that every last possible penny rises to a few hands at the top. And, like Putin, he's never shown much concern for the countrymen he tramples along the way.

"The word 'oligarchy' comes to mind," says Michael Keating, when asked to envision a Romney presidency.

Keating is a former business consultant and executive at Bertelsmann, an investment firm operating in 63 countries. He asserts that men like Romney "hide their anti-social actions behind a rhetoric of free-market capitalist platitudes. But in the end, it's all about the bottom line — and only their own bottom line . . ."

"I don't think Romney is so much dangerous as he is unimaginative," Keating adds. "And in the world we live in, that amounts to the same thing."

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