Tag Archives: I like being able to fire people

Brace yourselves

Many have probably heard Mitt Romney's line about firing people.  Here it is in full (ish):

ROMNEY: I want people to be able to own insurance if they wish to, and to buy it for themselves and perhaps keep it for the rest of their life and to choose among different policies offered from companies across the nation. I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep people healthy. It also means if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I’m going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me.


This has some people jumping with glee.  It has others justifying (unfortunately) the context-free narrative-reinforcing interpretation, and maligning those who don't want to join in:

How did so much of the left descend into this kind of dickless navel-gazing? Because you know this is pretty typical of the tote-bag crowd. I’m glad Mike Royko isn’t alive to see all of this.

This was the response to someone's cautioning that Romney didn't mean he liked firing people while at Bain, when even by his own account he caused a lot of people to lose their jobs.

I'm (obviously) not a fan of Romney.  But I don't see any value in taking his claim out of context.  It lets him claim, truthfully this time, that his critics cannot be trusted.  Now someone might claim, plausibly, that he will say that anyway.  Nonetheless, it's still false.

Besides, there is a stronger criticism in its truthful interpretation.  Romney likes, as he claims, "being able to fire people."  That's a little bit like saying "I like being able to kill people in war."  It's a power people have, and you might think it's good that you have it, but it's not one you ought to "like" having.