Unlike the Chamber of Commerce, which represents small businesses across America and tried to fight on their behalf to stop Obamacare, GE and big businesses were a no-show. Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, and GE is a member. Here’s Business Roundtable’s take on Obamacare, in the words of its president, John Engler: “Business Roundtable continues to be actively engaged in the implementation of the law. The success of health care reform will be based on allowing private market innovation and creating non-excessive, smart regulation.” The phrase “implementation of the law” stays in my mind.
Business Roundtable has 12 million employees as a captive audience under the influence of CEOs like Mr. Immelt. You can be sure a well-placed memo down the chain of command would impact this large voting bloc. Who do you think GE will donate to in the numerous 2012 elections? Isn’t this putting pressure on employees, since campaign donations can be public information? The pressure to comply “or else” is a very real threat to their job security. This is the type of transparency that puts people’s jobs at risk for noncompliance and reeks of “community organizing” pressure tactics.
The GE and Obama White House crony capitalism continues with the high-speed-rail-to-nowhere plan. GE is partnering with China’s largest maker of rail vehicles, CSR Corp, and may bid to build high-speed train lines in California and Florida, both being pushed by President Obama. In his speech, the president said, “Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying—without the pat-down.” Without the pat-downs yet, at least. Why are we trying to be like other countries with our high-speed rail envy? How many jobs are we talking about creating with this? Isn’t the trend towards telecommuting? Haven’t we seen where the jobs go from the president’s Repaving of America infrastructure stimulus plan? Certainly not to the private sector.
GE keeps pushing the big-government envelope with its marketing blitz arguing for an alternate F-35 engine. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates calls it unnecessary, and said he’ll recommend that the president veto any legislation that includes funding the alternate engine. Obama said in his address, “Because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.” Well, in December the alternate engine was included in the legislation that funds the federal government through March 4, signed by President Obama. How come I don’t see this on the White House website? Where’s the transparency?
President Obama announced GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s new role as the president of his Economics Advisory Board at the company’s wind turbine plant. GE’s green image could help bring it back to life as its pile of toxic assets fester in the background. The price of such a makeover isn’t lost on President Obama, whose “imagination at work” is focused on the votes and dollars such a move will influence.