By now, virtually everyone has seen at least part of the Mitt Romney Secret Video. And the mainstream media has focused on Romney's jaw-dropping assertion that 47% of Americans are dependent on government and possessed of what he describes as a sense of "entitlement" to such things as food, health care, and housing. These people, he says, don't pay income taxes, and since they won't be voting for him, they aren't worthy of his attention.
However, there is another segment that deserves attention. And I can only imagine why it's not, as of this writing, being widely discussed: it is, in short, a devastating indictment of the horrific truth behind outsourced labor.
It shows Romney talking to the rapt fundraiser-attending audience about a Chinese factory he was considering buying during his Bain days. He describes what sounds like a gulag with wonder and admiration in his voice:
"Ninety-five percent of life is set up for you if you were born in this country," Mitt scolds. "We went to China to buy a factory there. It employed about 20,000 people, and they were almost all young women, between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married." [How Romney knew this about the employees, one can only guess--it was probably something the factory owner told him through a translator, knowing Romney was a man whose faith placed a great deal of value in being married, ahem.]
"...seeing them work, the number of hours they work per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with, uh, little bathrooms at the end of maybe ten...ten rooms. And the rooms, they have twelve girls per room. Three bunk beds on top of each other."
"And, and, and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And we said, Gosh! I can't believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! And they said, No, no, no, this is to keep other people from coming in, because people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out!"No mention of Foxconn-style netting around the upper floors to catch any stray suicidal workers.
Now, if you think for a moment that Mitt Romney, Outsourcer-In-Chief of Bain Capital, believed that Chinese factory owner's story to the rich American men to whom he wanted to sell his factory, I've got several bridges to sell to YOU.
Romney knows full well what goes on in places like the one described.
He simply didn't want to spoil everyone's dinner.
Do watch the whole thing. I have a feeling the reason the network Chatterati are not talking about this too much is that many of the products made by their sponsors come from factories exactly like this one.
UPDATE: Via Patrick at Politicalgates, here is a short documentary called Santa's Workshop. It details the conditions at factories like the one Mitt Romney described at his USD$50,000-a-plate fundraiser earlier this year.
I urge readers to watch it; its subject matter is undeniably heartbreaking, but nothing is going to change until a hell of a lot more Americans are fully aware of what goes on in these sub-Dickensian factories halfway around the world. I don't mean just entertaining an abstract notion à la "Oh, this was probably made in a sweatshop, ha-ha", but rather, having a full, visually and viscerally-informed understanding of the way their fellow human beings are treated in order to keep toys, electronics, and other consumer goods ultra-cheap--and corporate heads like Mitt Romney ultra-wealthy.
This film, Santa's Workshop, is almost entirely in English; the few foreign-language segments are all accompanied by English subtitles.