from David Ruccio
Last week, Obama named the chairperson and chief executive officer of General Electric, Jeffrey R. Immelt, as the head of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
What do we know about Immelt and the recent history of GE?
Philip Delves-Broughton has looked into GE’s history of job creation before and during Immelt’s tenure. Here’s what he found:
- In 1980, GE employed 405,000 people.
- In 2000, it employed 340,000 people.
- In 2005, four years into Immelt’s tenure, the number was down to 307,000.
- Today it employees 304,000, of whom fewer than half are here in the United States.
- Between 2008 and 2009, the number of workers employed in the United States by GE fell from 152,000 to 134,000.
Here’s Timothy P. Carney’s view of “Government Electric”:
No company is more cozy with government, in my opinion, than General Electric. GE spends more on lobbying than any other corporation. So many of its businesses thrive on — or even depend on — Big Government: defense systems, embryonic stem-cells, smart meters, greenhouse gas offsets, wind mills, electric car components, high-tech batteries, health-care products, and more.
And, finally, we have Jeff Gerth’s revelations of GE’s being bailed out, not once but three times, by the government—when GE issued $340 billion in debt backed by the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, when it sold more than $21 billion in commercial paper through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and when it borrowed $16 billion by selling commercial paper through the Fed.
Given this record, how is it that Immelt was chosen as the one responsible for creating U.S. jobs and improving competitiveness? Clearly because he’s the direct descendant of Boss Tweed.