Normally someone like this would be laughed off the stage. But he’s Barack Obama’s new BFF, so tread carefully.
“The people who are part of the business sector, the people in this room, have got to stop complaining about government and get some action underway,” he told the group. “There’s no excuse today for lack of leadership. The truth is we all need to be part of the solution.”
Of course Immelt has little reason to complain about the government, since his company paid zero taxes on 2010 on a robust $5 billion profit. Normally someone like this would be castigated by Obama and his class warriors, excoriated for being fat-cat billionaires not paying their fair share, flying around in their luxurious corporate jets while getting rich on the back of the workers. But he’s one of Barry’s Boys, so hey, it’s all cool.
Still, we find it curious that someone has the temerity to lecture business owners to help prop up Obama’s dreadful employment numbers when his company made thousands of American jobs disappear.
As the administration struggles to prod businesses to create jobs at home, GE has been busy sending them abroad. Since Immelt took over in 2001, GE has shed 34,000 jobs in the U.S., according to its most recent annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But it’s added 25,000 jobs overseas.
At the end of 2009, GE employed 36,000 more people abroad than it did in the U.S. In 2000, it was nearly the opposite.
He’d have more credibility if he wasn’t in a position of such obvious conflict. Yet on the upside, Immelt’s company is helping to win the future. South of the border.
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