Here is a bit of information on the jobs front that may be of interest to Blogcritics readers. General Electric (GE) chief executive officer Jeffery Immelt, who has a history with President Barack Hussein Obama (he’s visited the White House at least 16 times, meeting with Obama on at least five occasions), was appointed chairman of the new President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. What’s interesting is that he has presided over a corporation that has seen a steady US job decline since 2005. According to GE’s Web site, in 2005, GE employed 160,000 US employees, but by 2009 that fell to 138,000.
On the “not” jobs related front, GE faced hefty fines from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2009 and 2010. The SEC, in 2010, said four GE subsidiaries, “Made illegal kickback payments in the form of cash, computer equipment, medical supplies and services to the Iraq Health Ministry or the Iraqi Oil Ministry in order to obtain valuable contracts under the UN Oil-for-Food program.” GE owned two of the subsidiaries involved in the scandal before the US-Iraq war began in 2003, and acquired two other companies after Saddam’s regime was toppled.
GE is supposed to be creating the jobs of tomorrow, but it seems that most of the jobs of tomorrow will not be located in the US. As the administration struggles to get businesses to create jobs at home, GE has been busy sending them abroad. Since Immelt took over in 2001, GE has shed 34,000 jobs in the US, according to its most recent annual filing with the SEC. But it’s added 25,000 jobs overseas. At the end of 2009, GE employed 36,000 more people abroad than it did in the US. In 2000, it was nearly the opposite. The last GE light bulb factory in the US closed in September, 2010. The transition to the new CFL light bulbs was supposed to create a whole bunch of those green jobs that Barack Obama keeps talking about, but that did not happen. Rather than setting off a boom in the US, CFLs are manufactured almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.
Foreign work has proven lucrative to GE. In 2007, it derived half of its global sales from work abroad. In 2009, that share increased to 54 percent, while US sales have shrunk. And rather than invest in the US, GE has decided to look abroad. In 2008 and 2009, GE decided to reinvest prior-year earnings outside the US ”indefinitely.”
In his announcement on January 21, 2012 appointing Immelt as chairman, Obama said, “Jeff is somebody who brings a wealth of experience to the table. He is one of the nation’s most respected and admired business leaders, and that’s a reputation he earned over 10 years at the helm of this company.”
But in light of GE’s and Immelt’s recent jobs and financial ethics performances, another opinion has been offered. Tom Borelli, director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research, believes Immelt was a horrible choice to be a presidential adviser on job growth. “You couldn’t find a worse CEO to put on a jobs and economics panel, in terms of jobs and ethics – two SEC fines in the last two years. He is the poster child for a failed CEO, and the GE board is the poster child of a failed board for keeping him around.” He also said, “What kind of perception does that create if the president of the United States would appoint someone with two SEC fines that happened during his term in office? Doesn’t he [Obama] do background checks?”
In the Oh, dear department, companies like GE say good jobs will come from lower taxes and less regulation. Corporate executives say lower corporate taxes will lead to job creation as businesses would focus their cash on expansion. And GE is sitting on $79 billion in cash, tops worldwide among non-financial publicly-traded companies, while the Obama administration has been critical of corporate cash-hoarding.
So what does all of this mean? Obama the hypocrite strikes again. He talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk, as evidenced by the Immelt appointment. This article is just a little something for all you Kool-Aid drinkers to think about.
But that’s just my opinion.