Feb 022011
 

About the only the job that Jeffrey Immelt would be less qualified for than jobs czar would be to lead a crackdown on the influence of big money lobbyists.

Oh wait- there is no crackdown on lobbying.

So Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, will have to make do with the job the president has given him as head of the administration’s reconfigured outside economic advisory council, which is supposed to focus on job creation.

I’ve written before about G.E. as a prime example of how major corporations benefited from the bailout without exhibiting any gratitude to taxpayers.

To say that Immelt is a weird choice for a job creation initiative is an understatement.

Under Immelt’s stewardship, G.E. has shredded thousands of jobs in the U.S. while outsourcing many jobs to India and China. In the years before the financial collapse, G.E. focused on building up its enormous credit operation, which melted down under the weight of bad loans along with the rest of the financial sector. If not for the generosity of taxpayers, who gave G.E. more than  $16 billion in low-interest loans to keep it afloat, Immelt himself probably wouldn’t have a job. In 2008, Forbes named Immelt one of the U.S. most overpaid executives.

His company has engaged in economic blackmail, threatening the state of Massachusetts that G.E. would close plants if state officials didn’t cough up tax breaks. It’s true that Immelt’s GE has embraced green technology – but only wherever there is a substantial government subsidy involved.

Meanwhile, GE is spending more than any other firm on lobbying, while it pays little or no taxes.

If Immelt has had any previous innovative ideas about substantially reducing unemployment, he’s kept them to himself. This is the person our president chooses to lead his jobs effort? For Immelt and other corporate and financial titans, the “too big to fail” bubble has never really burst. They’re continuing to rake in profits and shape government policies in their own interests, while the majority who don’t have access to power are shut out from financial security as well as political influence. Rather than challenging this unequal equation, our president has chosen to try to climb into the bubble himself.

About Martin Berg

Martin Berg, WheresOurMoney.org editor, is a veteran journalist.

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