General Electric has been bailed out by taxpayers and been stuffing its coffers out of Americans’ pockets ever since, but the corporate giant is shipping 500 jobs overseas after not getting its way on a major policy debate.
As reported by energy policy expert and free market advocate Tom Borelli in Conservative Review and in the Wall Street Journal, GE threatened to relocate 500 American-based jobs overseas if Congress did not reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Congress let the bank expire at the end of June and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt appears to be following through on that vow.
“It looks like Immelt is following through on his retaliation by claiming to move jobs overseas,” said Borelli.
Immelt has been a very public supporter of President Obama’s economic policies and even served on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He later was tapped as one of Obama’s key economic advisers from outside the administration.
Borelli says Immelt is guilty of a very short memory.
“We the people bailed out General Electric during the market crash in 2008. In fact, they got a $16 billion loan from the federal reserve. The FDIC also tweaked its requirements that allowed General Electric to be qualified as a bank so that some of GE’s loans would be backed again by we the people,” said Borelli.
“With Immelt, it’s a one way street. We the taxpayers have all the burden while he wants all the benefit,” added Borelli.
Borelli says GE was not as pushy at the government trough before the 2008 financial crisis. Since then, he says the company is the poster child of what’s wrong with crony capitalism.
“It’s a model, really, of corporatism, where he used government to boost profits of General Electric products,” said Borelli.
He says this relationship between government and business is not how an economy grows.
“A free market is great as long as it’s free. General Electric uses its lobbying force to try to get government favors in order to boost sales of their products. And the Export-Import Bank is just one of those examples,” said Borelli.
Borelli says the problem has gotten much worse under President Obama, especially in his pet sectors of the economy, and the collusion is getting very ugly.
“The way corporatism has developed through the Obama years, whether you look at Obamacare or green energy, as government has grown, big business has become more and more cozy with big government. They have a great little network of DC insiders who lobby for the laws so they end up benefiting big government and also boosting their sales,” said Borelli.
Getting back to free market principles is key for Borelli, but time is of the essence. He says the longer business leaders prop up their balance sheets by holding out their hands to government, the harder it will be to convince them to give up the easy money.
“There is a growing dependency of big business on big government. Remember, it’s not like individual people who may be on individual subsidies like food stamps or some sort of welfare program. Big business has a lot of money to spread around Congress to get special favors,” said Borelli.
The best way to shake up the system, according to Borelli, is to pursue an issue both parties say is a major priority but never seem to get to: tax reform.
“I think fundamental tax reform would be a great way to advance really free markets along with (reducing) corporate taxes as well, bringing a lot of money that’s overseas back here. If you really had a simplified tax code or even a flat tax or even a zero flat tax for corporations, they’d have every incentive to keep employees here and grow here, rather than trying to manipulate this system for an individual company’s benefit,” said Borelli.
But before than can happen, he says one important thing must change.
“It’s going to take a new administration, that’s for sure,” said Borelli.
He says it will also require lawmakers to find the courage to pull away the feeding dish from some of their highest donors.
“A number of elected officials benefit as well from these special interests because they get the money to try to really tweak the laws to the favor of big business. That’s why every individual needs to be engaged, watch what their representative is doing and then really push for a smaller government. That’s really the only answer,” said Borelli.