This should make quite a photo-op. On Wednesday, Obama Big Labor ally and president of the United Autoworkers Bob King will lead a rally of the Obama-supported Occupy Wall Street movement, the “99 Percent Spring,” against Obama Big Business ally Jeffrey Immelt and his General Electric shareholders meeting at the Obama-bailed-out General Motors headquarters in downtown Detroit.
Call it the Obama Coalition Train Wreck.
While President Obama has fashioned his 2012 reelection campaign as a fight for the middle class against the wealthy elite, Wednesday’s contretemps between Obama toadies illustrates that his presidency has been all about favoring a politically connected and privileged few: Big Labor, their unionized industries, and Big Green corporations like GE.
“It is morally wrong — it is absolutely wrong — that (GE makes) billions and billions and billions of dollars and pay not a single penny in taxes. Enough is enough. We’re the 99 percent who want 100 percent fairness for everyone,” King raged in February against a company that has aggressively reduced its tax bill by pursuing tax shelters abroad to avoid the onerous 35 percent U.S. corporate tax rate, as well as domestic tax breaks for its green-energy projects.
King’s anti-GE campaign is thick with irony. GE will hold its shareholder’s meeting in the Renaissance Center on Detroit’s waterfront, the headquarters of General Motors — better known as Government Motors for its $60 billion federal rescue in 2009 that unfairly whacked GM investors in order to benefit President Obama’s UAW friends, who were given 18 percent ownership of the company. The White House’s managed bankruptcy allowed the UAW-owned corporation to write off up to $45 billion of old losses going forward — good for a $15 billion tax break.
Moreover, GE Chairman Immelt, like King, is a close ally of the president, having been appointed head of Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Like King’s UAW, GE has benefited from its privileged political status. If the UAW is the White House’ model of labor, then GE is the Democrat’s idea of a good green corporate citizen.
GE received 88 stimulus grants and contracts worth $123 million, including millions to develop off-shore wind energy. Immelt himself was invited by the president as a guest at the 2011 State of the Union address. King, who hosted Obama at the UAW annual conference in DC this February, has himself has been an outspoken supporter of federal green handouts to unionized automakers like Ford.
Meanwhile, King’s UAW has also underwritten the Occupy movement — in particular Occupy Detroit, which paraded through downtown Detroit last October 14 in opposition to federal bailouts. Conspicuously missing from Occupy Detroit’s list of corporate evildoers was GM , which was playing host that same day to President Obama and King at its federally bailed out Lake Orion plant north of Detroit.
Now, though, it seems this coalition of the privileged is about to blow up, as King seeks a high-profile target for the launch of Occupy 2.0 — the “99 Percent Spring” movement coordinated with the Obama 2012 campaign to mobilize the union grassroots.
The rally has horrified a Detroit Democratic establishment which fears a black eye to a near-bankrupt city already struggling to attract business. Though King’s antics have been telegraphed for weeks, a top Democratic source says that the party is frantically trying to discourage King’s 99 Percent Spring troops. Funny, though: The party raised nary a peep last fall when the Occupiers marched on Comerica Bank and DTE Energy, Detroit’s largest utility. The image of the UAW rampaging in front of Democrat-friendly corporations like GE and GM hits too close to the bone.
Having loosed its FrankenKing creation, Democrats are suddenly finding it hard to put the monster back in the bottle.