The 1 Percent Speaks

A former Bain Capital man and Romney supporter says income inequality shows our economy is working.



My guest today Ed Conard was a partner with Mitt Romney at Bain Capital -a partner and managing director at the private equity firm Romney helped start.  Made – ballpark – hundreds of millions of dollars.  Retired at 51, rich. 

Now Ed Conard is a major Romney supporter, and he’s thinking and talking about the US economy.  About growth and incentives and inequality.  Inequality is not the problem, he says.  Inequality is the answer.  A sign of the riches – the incentives – that drive the economy forward. 

Up next On Point:  the “point-one” percent speaks.  Ed Conard, American incentives, and inequality.

-Tom Ashbrook


Edward Conard, former managing director and partner at Bain Capital. He worked there from 1993-2007, and worked side-by-side with Mitt Romney. He’s the author of Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong. You can find an excerpt here.

Timothy Noah, senior editor at The New Republic and author of The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It.

C-Segment: Romney at Liberty University

You can find a full transcript of Mitt Romney’s commencement address at Liberty University from May 12, 2012 here.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Ever since the financial crisis started, we’ve heard plenty from the 1 percent. We’ve heard them giving defensive testimony in Congressional hearings or issuing anodyne statements flanked by lawyers and image consultants. They typically repeat platitudes about investment, risk-taking and job creation with the veiled contempt that the nation doesn’t understand their contribution. You get the sense that they’re afraid to say what they really believe. What do the superrich say when the cameras aren’t there? ”

The New Republic “Conard says that the more investment you have, the cheaper the stuff that the 99 percent buy will become. This argument (which I think of as the “Who Needs Good Jobs?” argument) presumes that Americans will consume even when they can’t actually afford to, and data on the current recovery provide some evidence that may be true.”

Slate “Conard’s more interesting claim is that inequality isn’t just the consequence of socially beneficial activities, it’s the cause of socially beneficial activities because inequality leads to investment”

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