Edward Conard, a former Bain Capital partner and a major donor supporting his old colleague Mitt Romney’s presidential prospects, thinks that everything you’ve learned about the financial crisis is wrong — including that the CEOs of the major banks were hopelessly incompetent.
“Well, I think the CEOs have suffered well over a billion dollars of losses, some couple billion dollars,” he told The Daily Caller in an interview about his new book, “Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy is Wrong.”
“I don’t think anybody recklessly put their bank at risk — and their career and the standing socially that they worked their whole lifetime to create. That they put that at risk for a couple extra dollars, and that they were willing to let the banks go bankrupted, I think this is a far fetched — it’s a far-fetched hypothesis.”
“So I think you could make the case they were incompetent perhaps,” he continued. “But then I think you always have to have this sort of God’s eye view of the world. So what is competent? Who is it that can adjudicate what is competent or not competent? If the guys that are running the most important banks in our country aren’t competent enough, well, then who is competent enough?”
In his book, Conard puts forth an alternative view of what caused the recent financial meltdown and makes the case that “the 1 percent” and Wall Street aren’t the villains some have made them out to be. He also lays out what he believes should be done to get us out of our current morass and prevent a future financial crisis.
“Don’t diminish the incentives for risk-taking,” he told TheDC.
Unlike Romney, Conard openly says that taxes will have to go up — he just doesn’t think they should be targeted toward the rich lest their incentive to invest is diminished.
“Let’s not kid ourselves: We’re spending at 25 percent of GDP and we’re taxing at 15 percent of GDP. There is going to be an enormous increase in taxes,” he said.
“Everyone’s trying to pretend that it’s going to be a lot smaller than it is really going to be. To the extent we want to skew that even more heavily toward the successful risk takers, I worry we’re going to end up with a growth rate that looks a lot more like Europe and Japan’s.”
Check out the full interview to see what Conard thinks about President Barack Obama’s efforts to fix the economy, what he believes caused the financial collapse and much more.
And check back tomorrow to see Conard’s defense of Bain Capital from Obama’s attacks and whether he thinks his former colleague, Mitt Romney, is truly an ideological conservative.
Videography by Sean Rainey and Sarah Hoffman.