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Ed Driscoll

GE’s Jeff Immelt and Obama’s Antipathy to Free Markets

January 31st, 2011 - 9:47 am

As Timothy P. Carney of the Washington Examiner recently noted, President Obama’s association with General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt doesn’t exactly mean that Obama is suddenly a business-friendly chief executive:

Since his party’s November shellacking, President Obama has worked hard to show America that he is not anti-business, notably by picking General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and Chicago banker Bill Daley for prominent posts in his administration. But their selection does not mean Obama is “pro-business,” at least as the term is commonly understood. The president is no champion of open markets and free competition. His idea of being friendly to business means more government subsidies and corporate-government cooperation, both of which are mother’s milk to Immelt and Daley.

Obama joined Immelt on Friday at a GE plant in Schenectady, N.Y., to announce his appointment as chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Like Obama’s pick of Daley as White House chief of staff, the selection of Immelt sparked applause from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and, in the eyes of the media, defused the Republican charge that Obama is anti-business.

But the anti-business charge against Obama was always off target. “Anti-free market” was — and is still — more accurate.

Immelt and Daley don’t represent a new side of Barack Obama — they represent the unhealthy collusion of Big Business and Big Government that has always been the essence of Obamanomics.

Corporatism is the name of the Obama game. And you can see Big Business, Big Government and Big Green collude and collide in this post from Henry Payne at the “Planet Gore” blog at National Review Online back in October titled, “GE Buys Volts, Taxpayers Get Charged:”

Contrary to its rhetoric, the Democratic party has presided over economic policies that have benefited Wall Street, not Main Street. A chief example is corporate-welfare king General Electric, which has strategically used the Obama administration’s attempted takeover of America’s energy economy to pad its bottom line.

“The Obama administration gave corporate giant General Electric $24.9 million in grants from the $787-billion economic ‘stimulus’ law President Barack Obama signed in February 2009, according to records posted by the administration at Recovery.gov,” reports CNS News. “Despite getting $24.9 million from U.S. taxpayers, GE decreased its U.S.-based employees by 18,000 in 2009. According to Standard & Poor’s, GE took in $156 billion in revenue in 2009.”

Some of those lost employees used to make incandescent bulbs — jobs now shipped to China (don’t Democrats despise China almost as much as Wall Street? Is there an inverse relationship here? The more Democrats hate something, the more money they throw at it?). Shuttering American bulb factories was a small price to pay for increased profits on compact fluorescents, courtesy of a Washington mandate.

Why are taxpayers giving money to a $156 billion corporate fat cat? To save the planet, of course. GE makes “smart grid technology” where the company — along with utilities — stands to gain from Obama’s market-socialist plans that advance the electrification of the automobile. One piece of that electrification model is the Chevy Volt, a key reason the feds bailed out Government Motors with $50 billion in 2009. Subsidized infrastructure, subsidized cars, and now . . . subsidized alliances.

On Friday the 21rd, after GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt was tapped to chair the newly-minted White House Economic Group, the Clarion Advisory blog asked, “Remember the outrage over Haliburton & Cheney? So where’s the outrage over GE and the Obama Administration?”

I remember for much of the Bush Administration, hearing how evil it was for all the ties that Cheney had with Haliburton and how it was wrong for a company to have so much access in the White House so where did that outrage go when it comes to how cozy GE is with Obama?  It’s the same thing, actually even worse.  GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt was just named to chair new White House Economic Group after already having had a position in the White House when he served on Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.  Funny it was evil for Cheney to have ties to Haliburton and not actually have a position at Haliburton but it’s O.K. to actually have a company chairman to chair a group in the White House and the MSM response is crickets chirping and a lot of nodding of heads?

GE has gained much with this administration.  The banning of incandescent lightbulbs?  GE has got you covered with their CFLs.  Wind turbines?  GE has got you covered.  High speed rail?  GE wants that action too.  Electronic health records?  Oh yeah, GE’s Health Division is all over that.  Clean coal technology?  Check.  GE has got that too.  Smart grid?  Another check.  GE is ass deep into that!

It also seems that now whenever Obama needs to highlight something economic, there’s GE always ready with some kind of news.  Just in time for China’s visit, GE announces a turbine deal, a Chinese railway deal, and a airplane deal with China.  That’s just this week.  Remember that trip to India in November?  Well looky here.  Another deal and guess who with?  GE of course!  India and GE sign power equipment deal.  The article even states that it was timed to coincide with Obama’s arrival.  How’s that for coordination?

The dogs bark, but the Gleichschaltung rolls on.

Related: “Mr. President, Electrics are ‘Yesterday’s Tech.’”

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