It is easy to understand why the Obama administration is so loyal to GE and its CEO. GE has become a major supporter of Democratic Party candidates. Open Secrets says that GE’s PACs and individuals make it a political “heavy hitter.” In recent years, its contributions have tilted heavily toward the Democrats: in the last two cycles, GE’s PACs and individuals have contributed $3.9 million to Democrats and $2.3 million to Republicans. And that doesn’t count the much larger $40 million GE spent on lobbying in 2010, much of it devoted to cap and trade and other “green” initiatives that cement the alliance between Big Business and Big Government, in opposition to the interests of consumers and taxpayers.
And even more important than all of that may be the fact that G.E. owns NBC, which in turn co-owns MSNBC with Microsoft. NBC and, especially, MSNBC–the home of Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schulz and until recently Keith Olbermann, has essentially been a house PR organ for the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats. (Last month, GE made a deal to sell NBC to Comcast.)
So the symbiosis between GE and the federal government, in particular the Obama administration, is obvious. GE strikes us as a “modern” company, in that its business strategy consists largely of exercising political influence. In truth, however, the concept is not new: the virtual merger of Big Government and Big Business has long been a hallmark of national socialism.
One can hardly resist comparing GE with another American company–one that has steadily increased its American workforce, rather than cutting it. One that has never gone to the federal government for a bailout. One that lobbies out of self-defense, as all companies do, but not to secure special privileges for itself at the taxpayers’ expense. One that pays lots of taxes. One that not only advocates free enterprise, but lives by it, competing for business with superior products and services.