An American…or something… at heart

I want you to root for me.

That’s the admonition Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric’s CEO, gave to 60 Minutes Leslie Stahl.

Immelt is in the news because Obama appointed him to lead the task force addressing the job crisis in America.

His new title?

Job Czar.

Unemployment hasn’t been this bad for this long since the Great Depression. We don’t use words like recession or depression when talking about the US economy anymore because there’s some sort of unspoken code that suggests that it’s unpatriotic to really define the crisis.

The worse the economy gets, the worse the working conditions of Americans get.

Immelt doesn’t seem to grasp that.

Or maybe he does.

Let’s face it the real reason there’s a job crisis in America has less to do with the economic collapse of 2008 and a lot more to do with outsourcing jobs. Big corps like GE and others have cut 3 million jobs over the last decade while adding nearly that many overseas.

You don’t suppose there is a connection do you?

Immelt defends GE’s aggressive moves in countries like Brazil and China. (Hey, Obama, if you are wondering where all the jobs have gone you might take a trip to the GE factory in Rio De Janeiro.)

Immelt is obviously his own biggest fan. (Narcissism runs high among CEOs). While he praised himself for bringing new jobs to American soil -a few hundred, and most of them at an average wage of $15 an hour - Immelt failed to mention his own compensation.

He more than doubled his income — $15.2 million in 2010, which included a $4 million bonus to make up for the two years in a row that he didn’t receive a bonus, poor thang, and stock options valued at $7.4 million.  His 2009 compensation package amounted to about $5.6 million.

Personally, I find it hard to root for the man already at the top of the food chain. But then I know families in Mississippi that are struggling to feed families on less than $30,000 a year.

Apparently Obama had no qualms about appointing a man whose company has been widely criticized for the lack of taxes it pays. GE employs about a 1,000 people whose sole job it is to keep GE from paying taxes, or as little of them as possible.

Immelt does not see China as a threat but as a client. The real growth market for GE is overseas, Immelt says. Well, duh…if you take the jobs and paychecks overseas, it would stand to reason that your growth would come from where the money is at, genius.

Immelt whined that the US press doesn’t seem to support him, although he was quick to point out his company employees do. (No sh*t, Sherlock. Whose payroll are they on?)

His suggestion to Obama?

Reduce government regulation.

Right.

After all that’s why all you CEOs took those jobs overseas to begin with, isn’t it?

Lack of government regulations, low wages, lack of unions, workers who have little if any voice in their working conditions, not to mention lack of environmental and quality controls.

Immelt said no matter where GE takes its business, bottom line is he’s an American at heart.

But what he meant by that is he’s a Capitalist at heart.

There is a difference.

Immelt doesn’t need the American press corps rooting for him, or acting like his PR team. He needs to spend two weeks in Mississippi living with a family of four trying to make it on the wages GE pays them.

I may not have an education from Harvard but I’m smart enough to know that the job crisis in America could be solved if US companies would bring back the jobs they took overseas.

I understand the need of a company to be profitable but the way in which we define profitability has changed dramatically. No longer is 10 percent profit enough. We have to have 25 percent. CEOs aren’t happy with $5 million. They want $15 million.

This nation’s biggest threat isn’t some terrorist -it’s CEOs like Jeffrey Immelt and the greed that compels them.

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About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • http://katdish.net katdish

    You know, GE’s heavy involvement in this administration makes me uncomfortable on so many levels.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Heavy involvement and lack of financial support as taxpayers

  • Debbie

    I love your words and I love Bernie Sanders, thanks for sharing that clip, I too watched the 60 Minutes story in horror..

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Yep, Sanders is great in that clip

  • http://www.butnotyet.com JoelR

    And, these people wonder why things like Occupy Wall Street gaining momentum. Maybe they should take a look back in history to Russia in 1917 or France in 1789 and see what happens to when the rich remain clueless.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      And we do nothing over the fact that these people are being arrested for peaceful protesting…

  • Wanda V

    Bravo, Karen!!
    [Word Press said my reply was too short. This might make it long enough.]

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      We like effusive gushing around these parts.

  • lizfentondecker

    I was so upset watching ‘Our beloved Czar’ last night I was yelling at the tv. He reminded me of Billy Flynn from ‘Chicago’ …give ‘em the old razzle dazzle! “Who ya gonna believe? Me,or ya eyes?!” Grrrrrrrrrrr

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      I was yelling so loud, Tim shut his door..

  • http://koinepdx1.blogspot.com AF Roger

    The A-number 1 enemy of jobs in the USA is the cost of health care which is greatly overinflated by the redundant layers of claims processing and a bazillion insurance providers. Repealing Obamacare will not fix this or even send us in the right direction unless there is a plan for far-reaching universal care and simplification. Simply reverting to the status quo of two years ago is not progress or a solution. Not even close.

    Another major obstacle to change is the the concentration of more wealth in fewer hands. People with megabucks don’t “create jobs” or start new companies if given (more) tax cuts. People who actually have the resources might start a new venture if they think that enough customers actually have the money to spend on the goods/services produced by new companies. But if people have no money to spend, all the tax breaks in the world will not entice wealthy people to engage in pursuits that will fail due to lack of customers. That’s a duh-no-brainer but I have yet to hear a candidate actually grasp that or say it out loud.

    Rick Perry is right about the existence of a Ponzi scheme. But it’s not Social Security. It’s the entire basis of the American economy as identified by its trajectory of the past 2-3 decades. Trickle-down didn’t work in the time of the prophet Amos. Didn’t work in the time of Jesus. Didn’t work in the time of Reagan. Won’t work today. Never can, never will.

    The freer the market, the more rapid the destruction of the planet and the civilization which created the industrial economy in the first place. Where profit is the sole objective, not the common good, wealth, and thus the ability to influence and even dictate the rules of the game, will always concentrate in fewer hands–unless tempered by a total change of heart. The question is not, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”, a question that invites individualistic, selfish thinking. The better question, biblically speaking, is “How is my neighbor doing? How are we all doing together?”

    Asking the wrong questions doesn’t lead us to the right answers.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      As always, Roger, salient points. Yes. Healthcare is a huge issue. But even without it, I think these corps would be taking their biz overseas where they are unregulated

  • Ronald Frederick

    AF Roger makes some good points. As he says, Obamacare will not work but repealing Obamacare is no better. We have to do things that are efficient and that make sense. We already have a national healthcare program that works. It is called Medicare. It could be more efficient and work better but it does work. It might be cost effective to put everyone on Medicare and adjust the monthly premiums as needed to keep it solvent. Business should work together with government to achieve national goals. Oh, I forgot, we don’t have any National Goals.

  • allen

    great piece of writing… the US multinationals are the problem, not part of the solution…

    love hearing Bernie speak whenever, the only one who really tells the truth

  • Jo

    I just had to say thank you for this post. I know some people right now who are obsessed that illegal immigrants have taken all of our jobs, when it is actually outsourcing that is doing the damage.

  • Karen Spears Zacharias
  • allen

    and of course when asked about “civic responsibility” Immelt basically said it was not his or GE’s concern,

    yet, they claim that they are persons, you know corporations are persons, corporate person hood per the constitution

    but persons, or people do have civic responsibilities

    one such responsibility being not to steal from thy neighbor… yet with all of GE’s outsourcing it appears they don’t have to abide by this civic responsibility, since they have clearly been stealing from their fellow american citizens

    the unmitigated gall of such a piece of crap


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