The G.E.ttysburg Address

Posted on March 30, 2011

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General Electric received $300 million in federal energy grants from 2000 to 2010 (and spent $19.5 million per year in the same time lobbying for more subsidies). That’s million, with an “M.”

General Electric posted more than $2.94 Billion in net profits for the fourth quarter of 2010. That’s billion, with a “B.”

General Electric and it’s appliance, agricultural and environmental subsidiaries received $5.38 Billion in federal subsidies in 2010. That’s also billion, with a “B.”

General Electric paid exactly zero dollars in taxes to the United States in 2010. That’s zero, with a “Z.”

How does a multi-billion-dollar corporation headquartered in America pay absolutely nothing in taxes?  No business taxes? No permitting taxes for its operations and expansions?  No zoning taxes for its locations?  Simple: If you’re being paid by the federal government more in subsidies, grants and tax deductions than you would otherwise have to pay in a corporate-written and corporate-managed system that – somehow and miraculously – seems to benefit corporations more than any other entity.

GE was subject to a net total of $1.28 Billion in taxes, fees, tariffs and operational revenue for 2010.  The federal government paid GE $5.38 Billion in subsidies in 2010.  So, in actuality, you and I paid General ELectric $4.1 Billion in 2010, just for the august privilege of having the company grace us with it’s presence.

GE manufactures absolutely nothing in the United States anymore. Got that? Of GE’s 2,300-item product line, not one item is made in America. Only 19 percent of GE’s inventory is even *assembled* in the United States. So virtually all of GE’s production is outside of U.S. borders, and the company is paid Billions of our tax dollars, year after year, to do it. And what do we get for that money?  We get 146,000 jobs sent out of the country and given to workers elsewhere. We get a relative 12.6 percent drop in GDP. We get a 14 percent increase in the baseline cost of GE products. And we get to see GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt a $4 Million bonus, on top of his $17.42 Million annual salary, plus a $6.2 million annual pension increase, plus 2 million shares of GE stock options. Oh, and Immelt’s compensation package does not include approximately $37 million in annual transportation, meals, lodging and expenses paid by GE.

So the next time you hear any politician from either party supporting free trade or the global economy, that politician is sending our jobs and our tax base overseas, and has been “rewarded” handsomely (albeit under the table) to do so.

In 2010, when Democrats were handed a several backside-lashing by voters, I thought the Democrats would have done something about all those ridiculous, pro-corporate/anti-worker agreements, but sadly, the velvet gloves of Congress stay on when it comes to our nation’s industrial “best and brightest.” There are whisperings in Congress entertaining the idea of creating new free trade agreements. Free trade and the global economy are good for poor, cheap labor countries that benefit from the influx of jobs paying them pennies compared to the dollars the American workers who once held those jobs were paid. Outsourcing benefits the few mega-wealthy who are able (and connected enough) to exploit the tidal wave of tax incentives and loopholes that were amplified by the Bush/Cheney “Jobs for America” program– which shipped 17.2 million jobs out of America to overseas locations. Outsourcing is great for the mega-rich and the ultra-poor, but it’s killing the American worker.

This isn’t a Democrat problem. It’s not a Republican problem. It’s a problem which clearly demonstrates that nobody aspires to and reaches the senior-most levels of American government, regardless of which party they champion, without their campaign being generously donated to by some company or agency that expects – and receives – favors in return.

Oh, it might also interest you to know that, of the current 585 members of the United States Congress, GE and it’s subsidiaries donated some amount of money to the election campaigns or foundations of 377 of them within the past three years, and that doesn’t include any undisclosed or front-company-blind donations, courtesy of the spiffy new “corporations are people, too” Supreme Court ruling.

As usual, our “honorable” elected officials and the White House – regardless of party-in-power – continues the decades-long campaign to ensure that a government of the corporations, for the corporations, by the people, shall not perish from the Earth.

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