General Electric Profits Up 77% But Company Avoids Paying a Penny in Taxes

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.

Source: WSJ

Jonathan Turley

110 thoughts on “General Electric Profits Up 77% But Company Avoids Paying a Penny in Taxes”

  1. Have any of you ever read Motel of the Mysteries, by David Macaulay?

    It is about an archeologist from the year 4022 who stumbles upon a wondrous find from the ancient country known as Usa.

    . . .(He) found himself at the bottom of a shaft, which, judging from the DO NOT DISTURB sign hanging from an archaic doorknob, was clearly the entrance to a still-sealed burial chamber. Carson’s incredible discoveries, including the remains of two bodies, one of then on a ceremonial bed facing an altar that appeared to be a means of communicating with the Gods and the other lying in a porcelain sarcophagus in the Inner Chamber, permitted him to piece together the whole fabric of that extraordinary civilization.

  2. raff,

    We must be because a conservative Libertarian version of Thomas Jefferson is surely as much a work of fiction as our much beloved and haplessly foolhardy dry cleaning magnate George Jefferson.

  3. Pete – I disagree. IF anyone looks back at us in 240 years it will be archaeologists from some other planet. The masters of the universe are driving us off a cliff. We are killing the species – screw “save the planet” the planet will survive we have to save ourselves & it does not look like we are gonna do that.

  4. 240 years from now historians will look back to the mid to late 20th century and think nancy washed all ronnies clothes with 20 mule team borax

  5. You can’t even get basic verbs right, can you? It’s “promote” not “provide”. “[P]romote the general welfare” means promote anything and everything possible to benefit the common good via the powers granted government under the Constitution no matter how you try to slice it. However, your ignorance is doubly on display. The words “general welfare” as applicable to this discussion appear in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution as written by James Madison, not Thomas Jefferson. Although a “scholar” such as yourself surely knew he was talking out of his ass in attributing it to Jefferson.

  6. As to your request? This isn’t a radio station. I don’t do requests.

    “But sad fact is that corps pass tax burden on to consumers.”

    No. The sad fact is corporations avoid taxation via graft. You can deny that fact all you like. Apologists often do.

    “As much as you all like to distort his philosophy to your ends and only give partial truth. As you did in your quote about corporations. When he was talking about banks.”

    Actually Jefferson was talking about corporations in that quotation from a letter to George Logan dated November 12, 1816 although the bulk of the letter in question was addressing issues of religion and the duties of ethical governance. Jefferson had a vast vocabulary and knew the difference between the words “banks” and “corporations”. Just like he was talking about banks – not corporations – when he said, “And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale” in a letter to John Taylor, dated May 28, 1816.

    Jefferson wasn’t a fan of either the corporate form or banks and their potential to influence government and he was particularly against a national bank like the Federal Reserve.

    Nice try at twisting both what he and I have said, but better than you have tried and failed so good luck. Speaking of which . . .

    “You can slice it anyway you want but it still comes up that Jefferson was no where near being a modern day liberal/progressive.”

    I didn’t claim he was. That would be you doing that. However, Jefferson sure as Hell wouldn’t have been anything like a modern conservative either. He’d have likely found both modern conservatives and libertarians to be offensive against the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the specific formulation of government found in the Constitution. He was far too egalitarian to have fallen in with either of those lot. While he would have most certainly differed in detail with modern liberal progressives, he would have most assuredly agreed in principle that government is meant to be for the people and by the people – not government as dictated by some unelected financial oligarchs. That he wouldn’t be point for point in agreement with any political agenda today is not surprising when you keep in context he was a man of his times, not these times. But than again, you’ve demonstrated you have a problem with context already by trying to change the plain meanings of Jefferson’s words to suit your desires. Speaking of which . . .

    “His thoughts on a rich person being a threat to the government? Back when government was small, it was an issue. It isn’t now, the Kochs or Bill Gates wouldn’t stand a chance against the full force of government.”

    They wouldn’t stand a chance against the government if the government was actually doing their job as described by the Constitution and not as graft paymasters like the Kochs dictate to them. The threat today is the same as the threat back then. The only thing that has changed is the number of zeros involved. Economies of scale change over time.

    “You think Jefferson would be for government cutting a private citizen off at the knees like that?”

    A private citizen threatening the very foundations representational democracy? Cutting them off at the knees would be a mild way of putting it. Jefferson would have likely wanted to kill the Kochs himself because they are traitors to the Constitution and the enemies of democracy.

    Just like all fascists and their apologists are.

  7. I imagine a Jefferson “scholar” such as yourself thinks provide for the general welfare means just that.

  8. she paid into the system, why wouldnt she take out of it? Seems logical to me. Did she do anything illegal? Did she cheat anyone?

    “Federal records obtained through a Freedom of Information act request confirm the Social Security benefits. A similar FOI request was unable to either prove or disprove the Medicare claim.

    Between December 1974 and her death in March 1982, Rand collected a total of $11,002 in monthly Social Security payments. O’Connor received $2,943 between December 1974 and his death in November 1979.”

    OOh a total of $13,945 over a period of 8 years, that is $145/month. She probably paid more than 50 times that in taxes and social security payments over her life. All in all, the government made out pretty good and is still taxing her estate for book sales. Pretty high up there to, on Amazon it ranks 17th. 273 days in the top 100, not bad for a dead Russian Jew. I dont see Tolstoy or Chekov or Dostoyevski in the top 100.

  9. Whell I see a say I see you didnt answer ma request fo addishonal infomation.

    Oh I agree we need to pay some taxes, everyone does and corporations too. But sad fact is that corps pass tax burden on to consumers.

    As far as cherry picking? He also said something to the effect that taxation should only be on one of the 3; capital, labor or consumption. We do all three in this country. At the state, local and federal level. You can slice it anyway you want but it still comes up that Jefferson was no where near being a modern day liberal/progressive. As much as you all like to distort his philosophy to your ends and only give partial truth. As you did in your quote about corporations. When he was talking about banks.

    His thoughts on a rich person being a threat to the government? Back when government was small, it was an issue. It isn’t now, the Kochs or Bill Gates wouldn’t stand a chance against the full force of government. You think Jefferson would be for government cutting a private citizen off at the knees like that?

  10. Are we talking about the same Ayn Rand that went on Medicare when she got ill after railing on government programs?

  11. I know waaaaaaaay more about Jefferson than you. Or than your socially malfunctioning narcissist Ayn Rand did. Understand it better too. I’m not the one cherry picking to rationalize their greed. Just because he was against excessive taxation (the key word being “excessive”) doesn’t correlate to him being against business regulation. Business regulation was the matter at hand, not taxation. Move that goal post all you want. It says more about you than your inability to understand exactly how wrong you are. You’ve tipped your hand as to your actual concern, greed boy: money. You don’t want to pay any taxes. Boo hoo. Call me back when a $14.2 billion dollar profit that not only goes untaxed but gets a taxpayer funded $3.2 billion supplement is anything like remotely fair, equitable or just. If you want to know when to call, start checking the weather in Hell for winter travel advisories.

    As far as local politics go, kissing ass for money is kissing ass for money, the only difference being scale.

    So, Mr. Big City, if you want to continue to misspell eccentric, go right ahead.

    It’s just another sign of your ignorance.

    And greedy and ignorant are a lovely combination of traits.

    You should run for office.

    The GOP will love you.

    Take some Vaseline, Rand-y.

    Or not.

  12. according to the Jefferson cyclopedia that statement was about banks. From a letter to George Logan in Nov of 1816.

    If you have other knowledge please share it with us.

    8282 Taxation, Debt and.-Txation follows public debt, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.-To Samuel Kerchival vii 14. Ford Ed., x, 42 (M 1816)

    I’ll learn to spell eccentric when you learn to understand Jefferson correctly.

    By the way Rand really liked Jefferson. That should tell you something, namely that you are on the wrong side of that equation.

    Local pols will kiss your ass for $100. And donations are limited. You cant make bank on a few small business owners, you need broader support than that. As I said above, maybe in Podunkville they entertain voter fraud. Here in the big city we do things a little differently.

    So how many ballot boxes have you stuffed?

  13. IAG,

    First, I’ve forgotten more about local politics than you’ll ever know. Where does the money come from for going glad-handing and the local ads? The vast majority of it comes from local businesses and the CoC who all expect some form of favoritism in return. What part of “the same but smaller” escapes your grasp aside from all of it?

    And you’re full of shit about Jefferson too, cherry picker. “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” The fruits of your just labor are one thing. Corporatism and unbridled greed – which you are endorsing whether you think you are or not – are quite another. Jefferson would never have advocated unregulated industry.


    Also, learn to spell “eccentric”, Rand-y.

  14. “Spoken like someone who has no knowledge of how local politics works. It’s just like the big leagues, only smaller.”

    Obviously you dont know how local politics works, maybe it is different in your neck of the woods but in mine you have to kiss a lot of blue haired heiny and go to a good many fund raisers at local homes and knock on a lot of doors.

    And that is just for the primary. If you win the primary you may get some money from local small business. Once you get elected then you can expect funds from the Kochs or ADM. They arent paying for a possibility.

    You cant con an honest man. Voters get what they deserve.

    Ayn Rand has very little to do with what I wrote, there are many others of the free market school as well. Personally I think Rand was a little excentrict.


    I have a feeling Mr. Jefferson would agree with me more than you. Also Mr. Madison and George Mason and many others.

    Here is Jefferson on labor:
    4307. LABOR, Fruits ot.-The riahts of
    the people to the exercise and fruits of their
    own industry can never be protected against
    the selfishness of rulers not subject to their
    control at short periods.-To ISAAC H. TIFFANY. vii,,32. (M.• 1816.)

    here is the link to the Jefferson Cyclopedia:

  15. “Politicians are chosen at the community level. The money doesn’t come until they have been elected to congress.”

    Spoken like someone who has no knowledge of how local politics works. It’s just like the big leagues, only smaller.

    “The problem is not just greedy assholes but stupid voters who can be manipulated into voting against their best interests by people out for self-aggrandizement over self-sacrifice in the service of the public good.”

    There. That’s better.

    As to the rest of your nonsense, sell it to some teenager who hasn’t outgrown the idiocy of Ayn Rand.

    There is a word for what you want when you want no regulation of business: lawlessness.

    The only people who want lawlessness are, anyone? Anyone?

    Criminals seeking to avoid penalties for their bad actions.

    Stealing and killing with a gun or a pen is still stealing and killing.

  16. BiL – I am half convinced that the current situation is the work of a giant communist conspiracy. If these corporatist greed machines are allowed to continue unrestrained who will benefit? Sure the greedy bastards will make billions and be on top of the world for a while. But there are 350 million people in the US. If 35 million of them are fat and happy and 315 million have nothing more to lose and see no potential benefit from capitalism how hard will it be to convince a majority of those 315 million that the solution is to eat the rich?

    The boards of these companies have all been taken over by communists playing a long game or their dupes.

    And, “its all good”? Change your handle it “its all rand” not only would it be more truthful it would make identifying the source of your ignorance a lot faster. You could stop trying to defend the undefendable and just quote The Fountainhead, Assholes Shrug or other bits of bad fantasy fiction.

  17. “Atlas Shrugged” is playing at movie theaters now. Is it coincidental with what is going on with the tea party? I don’t think so.

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