Tags: Wall Street Democrats

Immelt Is the Perfect Pick


In case there existed any doubt that Barack Obama (D., Goldman Sachs) is Big Business’s man in Washington, he has named General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to a key economic position: head of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, successor to Paul Volcker’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

GE, you will not be surprised to know, spent $32 million on lobbying in the last year and is a big political donor.  Like its colleagues in most Big Business sectors, it heavily favors Democrats: It was a large contributor to Barack Obama’s senatorial and presidential campaigns, and the single largest recipient of GE money in 2009–10 was, you will not be surprised to learn, one Barack Obama.

Many in President Obama’s union-goon constituency are disappointed with the decision: Mr. Immelt, they complain, is an “outsourcer,” sending their jobs (“their” jobs) to China. Case in point: GE is shutting down two U.S. factories that made incandescent lightbulbs; the replacements will be made in China.

But hold on: Those incandescent lightbulbs are going the way of the dodo and the pro-life Democrat not because of nefarious plotting by the infernal Chicomms, but because the United States is banning them. Who banned them? The Democrats did, as part of their first-100-hours push upon assuming the majority in Congress. (And who lobbied the Democrats to ban them? GE, of course, for its own Machiavellian reasons.)

Having been the target of a Teamsters picket, I can attest that organized labor is not full of the brightest bulbs in the great American light show. But: How do you give your money and your votes to the party that plans to ban your product and then turn around and whine when they ban your product? Keep up with the news, geniuses.

Speaking of Chicomms, GE was in the process of signing a bunch of deals with them even as Mr. Immelt’s appointment was percolating. Which must have put him in a sweet negotiating position.

GE is the poster child for corporate welfare, having encouraged the supersizing of Obama’s stimulus lard-loaf as a prelude to chasing after its green-tech and energy giveaways. Immelt tagged along with Obama to India, where the president acted as vice president of marketing for the gaggle of CEOs he had in tow.

GE’s cozy relationship with government is paying off: The company has been given a multibillion-dollar contract to build an engine for the Joint Strike Fighter — which already has an engine, built by another company. Having two companies building redundant engines for the same plane was enough to get defense secretary Robert Gates’s attention; he called it a “wasteful boondoggle.” The Pentagon doesn’t want it. But GE got the deal, all the same.

In truth, I can’t think of a more appropriate adviser for an overreaching, arrogant, big-government administration than the head of GE, an overreaching, arrogant, big-government corporation. If we can have a tax cheat overseeing the IRS, why can’t we have a corporate-welfare case telling us how to get productive?

—  Kevin D. Williamson is a deputy managing editor of National Review and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, just published by Regnery. You can buy an autographed copy through National Review Online here.

Tags: Barack Obama , Corporate Welfare , Wall Street Democrats

Wall Street Gets What It Paid For


You don’t say:

Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth lashed out at President Barack Obama’s economic team Thursday, saying they show more concern for Wall Street than average Americans in a blunt election-year assessment from an Obama loyalist frustrated by a tepid economic recovery.

What started out as a bashing of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell by union activists, who pressed for more public transportation projects, shifted gears briefly when Yarmuth took aim at Obama’s inner circle of economic aides.

“I’m not real happy with our economic team in the White House,” Yarmuth said. “They think it’s more important that Goldman Sachs make money than that you make money. And that’s where we’ve got to change the attitude of this country.”

Dear Representative Yarmuth: There is a reason that Goldman Sachs acts like it owns the Democratic party. It does:

Goldman Sachs is one firm that’s learned that politics matters: The sinking investment bank received some $12 billion in bailout funds while its competitor, Lehman Brothers, was allowed to go bankrupt. Goldman operators move easily between government and the private sector and have played key roles in both Democratic and Republican administrations. But like the rest of Wall Street, they have tilted heavily Democratic of late. Goldman Sachs was the biggest business donor to Democrats in 2008, according to a Center for Responsive Politics report. Some 73 percent of Goldman Sachs’s millions in 2006–08 donations went to Democrats, but its outlook has been informed by bipartisan pragmatism: The banking bailout came from a Republican administration and was marketed by Goldman Sachs alumnus Hank Paulson, who literally begged, on bended knee, for the money. It was managed by assistant treasury secretary and former Goldman Sachs foot soldier Neel Kashkari and was politically nudged along by Bush’s chief of staff, Josh Bolton, another Goldman veteran.

With Democrats now controlling the elected branches in Washington, Goldman has an even stronger hand: Former chairman Robert Rubin is the dean of the Goldman Sachs Democrats, the group that ran economic policy under the Clinton administration and is doing the same under Obama. Rubin acolytes Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, and Peter Orszag already are filling key economic-policy positions, and Rubin’s son, Jamie, is raising money on Wall Street for Democrats and acting as a talent scout for the Obama administration. The elder Rubin is sure to have the ear of all the major players. Geithner, hurt in the ruckus over his unpaid taxes, has turned to the bank for a reliable loyalist, hiring former Goldman lobbyist Mark Patterson as his top aide. And Geithner’s replacement at the New York Fed? William C. Dudley, former managing director of Goldman Sachs.

Other major nodes on the Goldman-Democratic nexus include Al Gore’s London-based private-equity firm, Generation Investment Management, which was founded with assistance from former Goldman boss Paulson and includes in its ranks a half dozen prominent Goldman veterans. Former Goldman Sachs Asset Management CEO David Blood is its CEO, earning the firm its nickname, “Blood and Gore.” Goldman Sachs is a significant investor in E+Co, Blue Source, and APX, all firms positioned to profit from the cap-and-trade schemes that are at the heart of Gore’s global-warming crusade.

You get what you pay for.

Tags: Economic Collapse , General Shenanigans , Obama , Wall Street Democrats

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