Are Mitt and Newt channeling their inner progressives?

As the two Republican front runners take swipes at each other over their pasts with large companies, they seem to agree with some very liberal ideas about government oversight and corporate reform.

By , Guest blogger

  • close
    Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, right, talk during a break in the Republican debate in Des Moines, Iowa. The two Republican frontrunners have been exchanging barbs over one another's corporate pasts.
    View Caption

Two important reforms are stopping the revolving door between Washington and the nation’s financial giants, and preventing financiers from flipping companies(making short-term profits by borrowing big sums to buy them, then squeezing payrolls and firing employees, and reselling the stripped-down companies at a profit — unless the debt-laden firms fall into bankruptcy first).

Remarkably, the frontrunners for the Republican nomination for president seem to agree. At least, that’s the clear implication from what they’ve said today.

During a morning appearance on Fox News, Mitt Romney said Newt Gingrich should return the $1.6 million in payments he received from mortgage financial giant Freddy Mac.

Recommended: Election 101: Ten questions about Newt Gingrich as a presidential candidate

Gingrich has tried to defend himself by saying Freddy paid him as a “historian,” but anyone with half a brain knows Freddy wasn’t interested in history. It coughed up the money because they wanted Newt to influence his former House colleagues, so they wouldn’t take steps to reduce Freddy’s financial risk or reach.

In effect, Romney is taking a swipe not only at Gingrich but at the well-oiled revolving door linking financial giants to former congressional leaders, Treasury officials, and their staffs. That revolving door is one of the reasons the Street and its auxiliaries (like Fannie and Freddie) took the risks that caused the financial crisis, and have still never paid the price.

What’s Gingrich’s response? He said this morning ”if Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain than I would be glad to then listen to him.”

Newt is criticizing not only Romney but also the pump and dump practices of Wall Street that have caused hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose their jobs, put countless companies in jeopardy, and earned a fortune for private-equity managers and others.

If this goes on much longer, the Mitt and Newt Show will get a slot on MSNBC.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. This post originally ran on www.robertreich.org.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...