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Faces of Romney economics: Randy Johnson, American Pad & Paper

Randy Johnson had a good job making quality paper products at Ampad in Marion, Indiana. But when Mitt Romney and his partners bought the plant, everything changed. This is Randy’s story:

I was working the night shift and making hanging file folders, a quality product, proud of it. We showed up after the Fourth of July holiday and all we found was a one page note that said we were fired. They brought in security guards, walked us out, and wouldn’t let us back in the building.

They let some of us come back to work, but only after they cut our wages, they slashed our health care benefits, and threw out the retirement plan. Then, instead of negotiating with us, Romney and his partners closed the factory and laid us all off.

But the story of Ampad doesn’t end there. It turned out that Romney and his buddies had been loading up Ampad with debt by borrowing more and more against the company. At the same time, they were demanding millions in management fees every year, to ensure that they and their investors got paid first. By 2000, Ampad couldn’t even pay the interest on the debt. Romney dumped it—said that was it. In seven years, the debt was more than 35 times as big, and it had grown to more than $400 million. [Ampad] had to declare bankruptcy at that point.

When it was all over, Romney and his pals squeezed more than $100 million out of the company, 20 times the amount they first put in. They closed Ampad factories across the country, from Georgia to Texas to California to New York.

Romney and his fellow investors got into the game to grow their own wealth, not to create jobs or grow the company for everyone. To them, Ampad must’ve been a resounding success.

If he took those values and lessons to the White House, it would be a resounding failure. Romney economics devastated my family and devastated the workers’ families and communities. The jobs have to be the first priority in this country—we ought to be focused on that, and from my experience, Mitt Romney is not the man for the job. I believe the American people—especially American workers—need to know about the values and experiences Romney the businessman would bring to the table as Romney the president. And it’s only fair to ask whether those values and experiences qualify him to be our president—or in my book, disqualify him.

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