President Obama’s appointment of GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt as his job czar signaled his “move to the center.” The pro-business President declared a “government-business partnership” to create jobs, green technology, and other good things. Now a NYT investigation reports that GE paid no U.S. taxes, aggressively lobbied Congress for subsidies and sweetheart deals, and spends millions (billions?) to minimize its tax bill. The NYT was shocked, as was Claude Rains in Casablanca, to find such skullduggery, from GE, no less. The NYT concludes that one of the most striking advantages of GE is not its jet engines and washing machines but “its ability to lobby for, win and take advantage of tax breaks.”
Written to buttress the case against reductions in the corporate tax rate, the NYT investigation unwittingly strikes a deeper vein --- that GE is faithfully pursuing Obama’s vision of, what is called in other countries, crony capitalism.