David Brooks of The New York Times also makes the Bain-as-savior mistake in a wildly wrongheaded column on how leveraged buyouts and corporate raiders supposedly saved American capitalism, an incorrect argument his colleague Paul Krugman, as usual, debunks.

Bain made money while its investment went bust—in no small part because of the debt piled on it to ensure Bain made money—and hundreds of people lost their jobs (this isn’t to mention that the industry games the tax code to make its money and that its profits are taxed at less than half the rate of other workers via the absurd carried-interest tax break).

That’s why elitist (cough) defenses like Mallaby’s and Brooks’s are so flawed.


Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.