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Your daily dose of crony capitalism


If you follow the news, by now you've heard that President Obama recently appointed the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, to head his new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Competitiveness?  Immelt is indeed a curious choice for that particular responsibility:

When Democrats said President Obama was "pro-business," we didn't know they meant one business in particular.

There are a few companies on the Obama corporate A List - Democratic patrons Google and Goldman Sachs both turn up again and again at White House functions and for special recognition - but no company seems to get the VIP treatment that General Electric receives.

... Whether it is pushing the president's plan for global warming fees in order to create demand for his "Ecomagination" line of windmills, solar panels, etc., boosting the president's national health-care law as part of an effort to sell more medical equipment, or enthusing over the Obama strategy of making loans available for industrial exporters, Immelt has been an Obama stalwart all along. Immelt has also consistently argued to shareholders that there is big money to be made in advancing the Democratic agenda.

While most corporate leaders have taken a wait and see approach to Obama's occasional overtures to the private sector, G.E., along with Google, Goldman and few others, have backed him to the hilt.

It is unclear how the administration plans to deal with the ethics challenges created by having a CEO whose income is determined by stock performance leading a panel designed to recommend government policies. G.E. (2009 revenue: $157 billion) is a huge government contractor and is always in the market for new subsidies and incentives.

Of course the Obama Administration had no problem setting up the UAW, which represents employees in the automotive industry, as a majority shareholder in the new GM, so I'm certain their attorneys will come up with a clever solution in a short amount of time.

Here's a little more dirt on Immelt and his goal of becoming America's crony capitalism king:

On April 22, 2009, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt entered a raging controversy at the University of Notre Dame surrounding an upcoming commencement speech by Barack Obama with an op-ed in, of all places, the Notre Dame Observer.

... Had the Observer provided the most routine of disclosures for that article, the answer would have been obvious. On February 17th of that year, Obama had signed the stimulus bill, which included $24.9 million in grants that would flow directly to GE, with roughly $20 billion more slated for health care record modernization of the kind that GE specializes in -- "with a direct request to do so from GE's CEO Jeffrey Immelt." Months before, during the Bush administration, GE had successfully lobbied "behind-the-scenes" to get its financing arm, GE Capital, included in a FDIC bailout program that would insure up to $139 billion of its debt. By the time Obama stepped on stage at Notre Dame, GE Capital had used the program to raise "$74 billion, helping to cover [GE'S] 2009 funding needs, and about $8 billion of its projected needs for 2010." In addition, Immelt knew that many billions more would accrue to his company through its green initiatives if Obama's cap and trade proposal became law.

It would be hard to think up a more direct conflict of interest.

Make sure you browse this link-rich writeup at Powerline as well.  And while you're reading, ask yourself why Democrats, who hyperventilated for eight years over CHENEY!!! HALLIBURTON!!!! can't even be bothered to lift a finger over Jeffrey Immelt.

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Comments (4)

"Nunace" Michael, "nuance".... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Nunace" Michael, "nuance".

Halliburton + Clinton = Good
Halliburton + Bush = Bad
GE + Barry = Good

And don't even get me started on the 'military-industrial complex'.

Just another contradiction ... (Below threshold)
Dumbfounded1:

Just another contradiction by Obama to himself and to Americans as a propnent of change from the usual politics. He's just another opportunistic politician, like the rest!

Pay to Play?? Why is Blagov... (Below threshold)
cali:

Pay to Play?? Why is Blagovich on trial, when we have the president doing the same out into the open?

The reason nobody is scream... (Below threshold)
BlueNight:

The reason nobody is screaming bloody murder from the rooftops is because the Right already had a civil tone. We don't propagandize, we don't rhetoricize, we don't convince people using short, Germanic-root words like "Immelt and GE are raping America!!!"

Somehow, the GOP and associated media learned to sit down and shut up. We use the Left's terminology: "Health Care Reform" and "Comprehensive Immigration Reform." Leave aside the fact that both are technically correct; the Left does indeed want to give a new shape to these things. Call it "Health Care Regulation" and "The Amnesty Bill", go nuts with the rhetoric, and BE UNIFIED in the rhetoric across the media.




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