Obama Won’t Create Jobs or Innovation by Hiring Progressive CEO Jeff Immelt

Washington, D.C. – President Barack Obama’s appointment of General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt to lead the White House’s new “President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness” does not signal a serious attitude toward thoughtful and open discussion on ways to jumpstart the stalled American economy.

Experts with the National Center for Public Policy Research cite Immelt’s close ties with Obama on policy matters such as cap-and-trade and his ineffective leadership at GE as proof that this new council will not possess the dynamic leadership it deserves.

“Tragically, the continuing Obama-Immelt partnership is going to drive our economy and job creation over a cliff. Their war on fossil fuels is only going to drive jobs overseas,” said Deneen Borelli, a fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network. “Americans stated loudly and clearly in last November’s elections that ‘We the People’ will not stand for policies that expands government and raises energy prices. Putting Immelt in charge of this new council sends exactly the wrong message.”

According to Obama, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness will “focus its work on finding new ways to encourage the private sector to hire and invest in American competitiveness.” Immelt, in a January 21 Washington Post commentary boasting of his appointment, wrote: “My hope is that the council will be a sounding board for ideas and a catalyst for action on jobs and competitiveness. It will include large businesses, small businesses, labor, economists and government.”

“Obama and Immelt are mutually dependent on each other. Obama needs corporate money for his re-election campaign and Immelt needs the president’s muscle to continue the Administration’s war on cheap energy to make GE’s renewable energy products economically competitive,” said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project. “Making energy prices skyrocket is not an economic recovery plan. It’s a recipe for economic disaster.”

As CEO of General Electric, Immelt directly participated in promoting Obama’s “cap-and-trade” energy regulations proposal. While this could increase GE’s short-term business in wind and solar technologies, the consequences of the policy is certain — by Obama’s own admission — to “skyrocket” energy costs. GE has additionally sold technology to Iran and it is planning on sharing jet engine technology with China. GE also lobbied for and received tens of millions in stimulus money and received financial support from the Federal Reserve. During Immelt’s ten-year reign as CEO, GE had to cut its dividend and its stock price has fallen to about half its previous value.

Obama’s pick of Immelt will undoubtedly provoke the further ire of tea party activists already unhappy with the White House’s big-government agenda. A recent nationwide poll conducted by FreedomWorks and the National Center, which can be found at http://www.nationalcenter.org/PR-Tea_Party_Survey_112310.html, found that GE was extremely unpopular with conservatives due to Immelt’s reliance on the government and support of Obama’s policies.

“Innovation and job creation will not come from someone who is already marching in lock-step with President Obama’s big government agenda,” added Deneen Borelli. “America needs economic leaders who embrace the entrepreneurial spirit not CEO leeches who feed on taxpayer money for revenue. Lead by the tea party movement, voters rejected progressive policies and cleaned house on Capitol Hill. If this council is going to be anything more than a continuation of the White House’s attempt to woo big business to Obama’s big government agenda, Immelt will provoke tea party activists.”

The National Center For Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, and receives less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.