President Barack Obama has been unabashed in his close association with General Electric CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt, including naming him to head the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Obama has continued to shower such honors and attention on Immelt despite the fact that GE has avoided paying ANY taxes. Indeed, GE has demanded a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. Now, GE has posted a 77% increase in profits while paying less taxes than any of its factory workers.
Investors are doing well even if the taxpayers are getting killed. The company increased its quarterly dividend for the third time in the past year.
Immelt took the opportunity to declare “GE has emerged from the recession a stronger, more competitive company.” Of course, GE takes a different tact in avoiding any taxes.
GE is able to avoid paying any taxes by using its army of lobbyists to get tax breaks from Congress, which has proven again to be in the pocket of corporate interests. This is a bipartisan sellout as both parties have caved to such demands. The company also has used “creative” accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.
Yet, Obama still embraces Immelt as a model CEO and repeatedly invites him to the White House to advise him and other companies on how to economic and business issues. Imagine the response of liberal members and commentators if George Bush relied so heavily on such a corporate figure. There were many such controversies and the press and commentators were outraged. Yet, once again, Obama is not viewed as a corporate shill or tool where Bush was denounced in the very same terms.
It should be a national scandal that a CEO who avoids any taxes should be given such a high-ranking position. Indeed, there should be hearings on how a company can get away with windfall profits while paying less in taxes than a waitress at a truck stop in I-95.