Monday, November 16, 2009

GE CEO: "We are all Democrats Now"

Thanks to some great reporting at WSJ by Elizabeth Williamson and Paul Glader, now we know why General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt has been to the White House five times since President Obama has occupied the place. He wants GE to out do Goldman Sachs and Carlyle Group combined as the biggest pig at the trough of corporate handouts. David Rubenstein looks like an amateur compared to Immelt. From WSJ's report:
The financial crisis hasn't been kind to General Electric Co. Its stock has lost almost half its value, the government has stepped in to prop up its enormous financial arm, and sales have slumped in core industrial businesses.

But Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt now has his eye on a huge new pool of potential revenue: Uncle Sam's stimulus dollars. Mr. Immelt, a registered Republican, quips about the shift in thinking in the nation's corner offices: "We're all Democrats now."...

The government has taken on a giant role in the U.S. economy over the past year, penetrating further into the private sector than anytime since the 1930s. Some companies are treating the government's growing reach -- and ample purse -- as a giant opportunity, and are tailoring their strategies accordingly. For GE, once a symbol of boom-time capitalism, the changed landscape has left it trawling for government dollars on four continents.

"The government has moved in next door, and it ain't leaving," Mr. Immelt said at the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Montreal in June. "You could fight it if you want, but society wants change. And government is not going away."

GE has high hopes for the strategy. It says that over the next three years or so it could bring in as much as $192 billion from projects funded by governments around the globe, such as electric-grid modernization, renewable-energy generation and health-care technology upgrades...

Reporters who called the Obama administration for information on renewable-energy provisions in the legislation were directed to GE...

When the stimulus package was rolled out, Mr. Immelt instructed executives leading the company's major business units "to put together swat teams to get stimulus money, and [identify] who to fire if they don't get the money," says a person who heard him issue the instructions.

In February, a few days after President Obama signed the stimulus plan, GE lawyers, lobbyists and executives crowded into a conference room at GE's Washington office to figure out how to parlay billions of dollars in spending provisions into GE contracts...
You have to wonder what Immelt promised Obama and Rham Emmanuel in return. Buying off those boys doesn't come cheap.

1 comment:

  1. i.e, "we are all parasites now"