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.