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    How Mitt Romney's Bain Career Will Inflame the Class Warfare Debate

    Last Wednesday a Pew Research Center poll revealed that 66% of respondents think class conflict in American society is "strong" to "very strong."

    Now that Mitt Romney is increasingly likely to be the Republican challenger to Democrat Barack Obama this November, that same divide is likely to become even more inflamed.

    In fact, Romney's career as the CEO of private equity company Bain Capital ensures the class warfare debate will only get uglier.

    That's why it's important to understand what private equity companies really do, what role Romney played at Bain, and how class warfare combatants will size each other up.

    The Truth Behind Private Equity

    Bain Capital is a private equity shop. What you need to know is that "private equity" is a rebranded name. Private equity companies used to be known as leveraged buyout shops.

    But, leveraged buyouts (LBOs) have a bad reputation, so the industry -- or club, which it more closely resembles -- began referring to itself as private equity. It's the same as junk bonds being rebranded as "high yield debt."

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  • social class