"Anything Goes" Capitalism Destroys Companies and Workers' Lives
By Leo Gerard
In the title tune to the 1934 musical Anything Goes,"Cole Porter says "times have changed," since the stock market crashed in 1929, but the super rich, like John D. Rockefeller Jr., "still can hoard enough money to let Max Gordon produce his shows."
The lyrics also tease FDR because Eleanor advertised a mattress from a venerable company: "Missus R., with all her trimmin's, can broadcast a bed from Simmons, 'cause Franklin knows, Anything Goes."
That 133-year-old company, which employs members of my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), will file for bankruptcy soon. Then it will be auctioned to yet another private equity firm - the seventh such sale in little more than 20 years.
Repeatedly, new owners stuck their greedy hands under the mattress and pulled out money. Each time, that hurt the company and the workers. The firm is $1.3 billion in debt now - eight times what it was when the private equity companies started passing Simmons around like a cheap date. And a quarter of its workforce - 1,000 people - is laid off.
This is Anything Goes capitalism. It destroys companies. And it destroys workers' lives. But it sure does work for the private equity firms. They made around $750 million in profits from the now-indebted and bankrupt Simmons.
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