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BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- As you head out to vote today (you are voting today, aren’t you?) you might want to keep something in mind – the integrity and competence of the people you vote into power really matters.
Case in point – the amazing story of how Bain and Company, the Boston-based consulting firm that is considered the gold standard of private-sector management consulting, pocketed $11 million bucks for lazy, worthless counseling of corrupt officials running an important South African tax agency--work that Bain executives concede was a “massive failure.”
They admit they did shoddy work that was exploited by criminal elements of the South African political establishment. Reports the New York Times: “In part because of the firm’s consulting work, critics say, South Africa’s tax agency, once respected internationally for its rapid advances since apartheid, lost hundreds of key employees and became an enfeebled institution, unable to pursue tax dodgers. In turn, the public has lost faith in an agency that now faces crippling tax shortfalls--more than $6 billion in the past two years alone. This has spurred the government to raise the value-added tax on products for the first time since apartheid ended--a move expected to disproportionately hurt poor people.”
Nice work, masters of the universe!
From Mitt Romney to Deval Patrick, politicians have flaunted their Bain connections as an indicator of their brilliance and competence.
But while plenty of smart people do and have worked at Bain, we would all do well to remember than the private sector does not have superpowers, and we’d better be smart about the watchdogs we elect unless we want to go all-in on people and institutions that sometimes have $11 million reasons to not give a darn.
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