09 Sep 2011 President Obama Exposes Incompetence in Job Creation by Inviting Failed Crony Capitalist Jeff Immelt as Guest at Speech to Congress
Obama Needs Advisors with a Record of Achievement, not Failure, to Stimulate Growth, says National Center for Public Policy Research
Washington, D.C. – Reacting to General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt sitting in the First Lady’s box during President Obama’s jobs speech to Congress, today policy experts from the National Center for Public Policy Research are calling attention to the relationship between the president’s inability to select competent advisors and his failure to support policies that generate economic growth.
“Obama’s failure to create jobs and economic growth is directly related to the President’s inability to understand capitalism and select advisors who have a record of business achievement. Presidential jobs advisor Jeffrey Immelt has an awful record as CEO of GE and he is ill-equipped to provide the counsel President Obama needs to get our economy going,” said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project.
“Immelt is the icon of crony capitalism since his business plan depends on feeding off government spending and profiting from regulations targeting the fossil fuel industry. It’s not surprising that Obama’s new $447 billion American Jobs Act includes $50 billion for infrastructure projects and no meaningful reductions in environmental regulations,” Dr. Borelli added.
Dr. Tom Borelli notes that this week is the 10-year anniversary of Immelt running GE, and notes that under his leadership, GE shareholders and employees have endured ethical, moral and financial failures.
“Immelt has failed in almost all areas of leadership. Under Immelt’s leadership: the stock price is down over 60 percent and has consistently underperformed the S&P 500 index; the dividend was cut; the company settled twice with the Securities and Exchange Commission and GE sold infrastructure equipment to Iran,” said Dr. Tom Borelli.
“I’m stunned President Obama honored a failed leader such as Immelt to head the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and doubled down on this appointment by inviting him as a distinguished guest at the president’s speech to Congress. This shows that despite the failed results, Obama is committed to his progressive big government strategies and crony business partnerships that have failed hardworking Americans in the past,” said Deneen Borelli, who serves as a full-time fellow at the National Center-sponsored African-American leadership group Project 21.
“At a time of high unemployment and the risk of a double dip recession, we can’t afford to have incompetent business leaders running major corporations and serving the president. This is why our organization joined with FreedomWorks calling for Immelt to resign,” added Deneen Borelli.
The National Center in January, jointly with FreedomWorks, produced a commercial highlighting Immelt’s anti-jobs, pro-regulation lobbying activities. It is viewable online at http://youtu.be/9op8B3ZcnD4.
The National Center for Public Policy Research and FreedomWorks also have conducted extensive polling on the impact GE’s lobbying for expanded government is having on GE’s reputation among tens of millions of potential customers.
“Among self-identified conservatives, which is 42% of the U.S. population, GE had a 51% favorable and 25% unfavorable rating until they learned that GE lobbied for President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan, from which it benefited, and for cap-and-trade,” said David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “Then the numbers almost switched: 20% favorable and 50% unfavorable.”
“What’s more, added Ridenour, “our polling showed sixty percent of conservative voters are less likely to buy products from companies that have lobbied in favor of Obama’s legislative agenda, as GE repeatedly has done, and in a high-profile manner. GE is driving away these consumers by lobbying for big government.”
David Ridenour, Dr. Tom Borelli, and Deneen Borelli all questioned Immelt at GE’s 2011 shareholder meeting. Video is available at http://youtu.be/jr2r5x_z8qI, http://youtu.be/qNffGWi6rM0 and http://youtu.be/1-DsUAMcVLs respectively.
The National Center’s work critical of GE lobbying efforts has received extensive publicity in recent years, including numerous appearances by Dr. Tom Borelli on the nation’s #1 cable news broadcast, FNC’s O’Reilly Factor.
Independent news organizations have reported that GE’s Immelt retaliated against some news organizations by withholding advertising.
The National Center For Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Its 2010 revenues were over $12 million. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, receiving less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources. Contributions to it are tax-deductible.