Ken Blackwell: Warren Advocates Policies That are Bad for the Economy

In her campaign for president, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) continues to tout several big-government priorities that are a direct attack on job creation and economic growth. Her efforts have landed her the coveted endorsement of the Des Moines Register.

In their endorsement, the editorial board claims that the senior senator from Massachusetts will push an unequal America in the right direction. No doubt this statement is motivated in part by Senator Warren’s outright hostility toward private equity.

Senator Warren says private-equity firms “are like vampires”—leaving “enriched” while the company suffers and sometimes “succumbs.” Her language is over-the-top and an unfair representation of private equity firms.

Every day in communities across Iowa, local businesses partner with private equity to help them unlock and reach their full economic potential.According to a recent EY report, private equity supported 313,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity in Iowa in 2018.

Happy Joe’s Pizza, United Life Insurance, Inland Coatings and Grape Tree Medical Staffing are a few examples of success stories for private equity in Iowa. Targeting private equity with more regulations and higher taxes would discourage investment and, consequently, put an end to the innovation and job creation that often comes when private-equity funds are used to purchase and expand businesses.

In some cases, private equity funds purchase and rejuvenate floundering businesses. Sometimes the funds simply help restore the business’ ability to turn a profit and the business remains under the same ownership.

A recent Chamber of Commerce study finds that the restrictions and taxes proposed by Senator Warren would be so impactful that, if enacted, even in a modest-case scenario, the country’s workforce would be reduced by approximately six million jobs, and combined federal, state, and local tax revenues would drop by approximately $109 billion per year in the long run.

Across the country, 8.8 million workers, who earn $71,000 per year in wages and benefits on average, work for private-equity-backed businesses. When looking at the full impact, the private equity industry supports more than 26 million US jobs and approximately 5% of U.S. GDP, according to a new report by EY and the American Investment Council (AIC).

A large portion of the monies used for investment by private equity comes from pension funds that look to the returns from these investments to secure the retirement of public employees. The continued growth of public-employee pension funds depends upon high-yield investments.

Public employees depend upon retirement investments that yield a relatively high rate of return, and private-equity funds get some of the best bang per buck, with a median 10-year annualized return of 8.6 percent.

In Senator Warren’s home state of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Trust (Mass PRIT) earned a 10-year annualized return of 13.63 percent from their returns Private Equity. The Pension Reserves Investment Management Board (MassPRIM) saw its private equity investments boast the strongest returns for the year with a “seismic” 18.51%.

What problem is Senator Warren trying to fix, exactly? The private equity industry benefits investors, companies, workers, and communities.

Ken Blackwell is the former treasurer of state in Ohio.  He is an adviser to the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. and serves on the boards of directors of the Club for Growth and the National Taxpayers Union.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

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