In 1983, Mitt Romney was an employee at the consulting firm Bain & Company. So was IvyGate icon, New Hampshire celebrity, and Dartmouth alum Joseph Asch ’79! By 1985, Romney had departed for the offshoot Bain Capital, where he submitted to Christian-themed pictures of he and his colleagues cavorting with paper currency, and firing lots of people. Meanwhile, Asch had decamped for Paris, where he peddled medical supplies. Fifteen years later, in spring 2010, while Romney was ramping up his campaign for the Republican nomination, Asch’s much more important political ambition—a seat on Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees—was thwarted by two other Dartmouth alumni. Since then, guided by personal bitterness over his defeat and a consequent desire to douse Dartmouth College with Bain’s holy water, Asch now spends much of his energy harassing his alma mater’s administration for not buying his “solution” of massive cuts to benefits and wages, particularly those of the school’s lowliest laborers. On a blog. Meanwhile, he parries inquiries into his personal business practices. Sound familiar?
The last time we heard from Joe Asch, the cranky Dartblogger had completely lost his dark horse bid for Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees, soon after which he vowed to never blog again, citing the “unceasing negativity” and “rampant dishonesty” that allegedly determines the membership of Dartmouth’s Board. The honorable Asch was probably referring to The Dartmouth’s discovery of and investigation into Asch’s medical supply business, the very name of which Asch deliberately refused to discuss. (Apparently, it’s because Asch didn’t want others to find out how wildly profitable the health care industry is—which is, of course, a huge secret.) As it turns out, Asch forgot to pay $8,000 in taxes to French tax authorities, in 2004. No biggie, though, right? Well! Asch did not appreciate the paper’s attempt to “discredit” his very successful company, thank you! Which meant Asch missed the whole point: his own bizarre refusal to discuss in detail the business experience on which he based his Trustee campaign.
Following his defeat and subsequent promise to never blog again, and after pretending that he never said that, Asch turned the ostensibly undergraduate Dartblog.com into an elaborate LiveJournal on which he continues to investigate a shadowy cabal of administrators who are LYING TO DARTMOUTH.
One of Asch’s more recent posts dissects what he suggests is Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim’s egomania. Really, yes: have you seen Kim’s CV? Criminal. Among Kim’s profusion of shortcomings, according to the same entry: contriving to appropriate the . . . aesthetic . . . of . . . socialist realism . . . to mask . . . male-pattern balding. Okay, Asch. That sort of insinuation makes you look totally sane and super-fit to make decisions.
What really bothers Asch, though, are the non-shitty wages and benefits Dartmouth pays its workers. Asch’s preferred solution to this manifest injustice should be familiar to anyone fortunate enough to have been affected by the business practices of Mitt Romney’s Mormon charity, Bain Capital: slashing workers’ wages, health benefits, and pensions.
Despite his professed distaste for the public assessment of personal financial matters, Asch has taken (again) to Dartblog.com to repeatedly and publicly mock the wages and benefits Dartmouth pays its workers. As it turns out, Dartmouth demonstrates an uncommon commitment not to swindle their workers. The College pays them a decent salary, contributes to a defined-benefit pension, subsidizes non-crappy health coverage, and assents to union representation. In other words: Dartmouth declines to exploit the working class of rural New Hampshire. Those with even the smallest acquaintance of the ruling class’s antecedent regard for labor might, you know, consider this arrangement a good thing.
Alas, not Joe Asch. Read the rest of this entry »