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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Obama’s Hypocrisy on Jobs

“Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one's government is not necessarily to secure freedom.” — Friedrich August von Hayek

A few days ago President Obama sat on a panel with Jeffrey Immelt the CEO of General Electric. They both had a good chuckle when Obama said that his shovel ready jobs weren’t so shovel ready, ha, ha, ha.

Immelt heads up Obama’s so called Jobs Council; a group of academics thatobama-immelt have never created one job in their lives. Immelt has also been a strong supporter of Obama.

In his efforts to create jobs in the United States Immelt, Obama’s buddy, has done two things that go virtually unreported in the main stream media. Firstly he moved GE’s X-Ray Division from Waukesha, Wisconsin to Beijing, China. On July 26, 2011 the Wall Street Journal reported:

“General Electric Co. said it is moving its X-ray business headquarters to China to accelerate sales in the country's fast-growing health-care market, the latest sign of China's growing importance to the giant U.S. conglomerate.

The X-ray unit will be the company's first business to be based in China.

The business has already begun the move—which includes the unit's chief executive and three other members of its executive team—and expects to complete the process by year end, said Anne LeGrand, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare Global X-Ray. The senior leadership team's move to Beijing is aimed in part at helping develop more medical equipment specifically for the Chinese market, Ms. LeGrand told a news briefing Monday.

GE said it doesn't expect the move to result in any job losses in the U.S., where the unit has been based in Waukesha, Wis. The Wisconsin X-ray division has 120 employees. The company also said it is too early to say how many employees it will hire for the unit's new Beijing headquarters.

"As the company grows more global, it's increasingly important for us to become close to our customers," Ms. LeGrand said, adding that she expects 20% to 25% of GE Healthcare's X-ray products to be developed in China during the next three to five years for sale around the world.

As China's market has boomed for a range of products, a small but growing number of companies have moved senior executives to the country or sent them for extended stints. Intel Corp. in May said Sean Maloney, one of its best-known senior executives, would move to China from Silicon Valley to oversee the chip giant's operations here. Bayer AG unit Bayer Healthcare moved its general medicine headquarters from Germany to Beijing in March, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. of the U.S. temporarily moved its headquarters to Shanghai for five weeks starting last month.

GE has long placed high hopes on China, with CEO Jeffrey Immelt in 2008 calling it the company's "second home market." In January, the company finalized a deal with state-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China to inject much of GE's civilian avionics business into a 50-50 joint venture based in China.”

If this wasn’t enough Immelt then announced GE has struck a billion dollar deal with the Chinese state owned aircraft industry to export GE’s sophisticated avionics business to China for the manufacture of the COMAC C919 airliner that will compete with Boeing, a company battling he NLRB to build their Dreamliner in South Carolina with American workers. The Business Courier reports:

“When GE Aviation Systems signed a joint venture agreement last month with a state-owned Chinese conglomerate, plenty of questions were raised about transferring aviation electronics technology and intellectual property to what will be a China-based company.

The 50-50 joint venture will develop avionics for new commercial c919airplanes, beginning with the Chinese-built COMAC C919 that’s due to enter service in 2016. Avionics are a plane’s central information system and related applications such as cockpit displays. Officially, the joint venture is the GE AVIC Civil Avionics Co.

Skeptics cite examples of China exploiting foreign companies to gain access to technology in order to build its own capabilities. The country’s desire to create its own globally competitive industries – including aviation – is hardly a secret.

GE officials acknowledge that protection of the company’s intellectual property is a concern, but they insist the AVIC joint venture includes adequate safeguards.

For GE Aviation, the real issue is this: There are huge opportunities in the Chinese aviation market, poised for rapid growth in coming decades.”

Here we have a person Obama has appointed to a council for creating jobs in the United States exporting jobs offshore to China while his NLRB fights Boeing’s move to South Carolina where they will create good paying jobs in Charleston. GE’s move will also take commercial aviation business away from Boeing, thus reducing jobs in the United States.

GE one of the largest exporters of jobs and a company that has paid no corporate taxes is one of Obama’s favorites and one of his largest contributors to his presidential campaign Until this year when Comcast took over GE owned the cable network MSNBC Obama’s biggest mouthpiece. These are the guys Obama hangs out with while he tells us to sacrifice and pay more taxes.

There is another aspect to GE’s deal with the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (CACC) and that’s the national security issue. GE will be giving sophisticated avionics technology to the Chinese that can be used in commercial aircraft and fighter planes and guided missiles. An article in Daily Finance by Peter Cohan states:

“General Electric (GE) plans to sell its aircraft electronics to ChineseChinese-Stealth-Fighter companies, and if you don't have a problem with that, maybe you should. After all, China just flight-tested a prototype stealth fighter (pictured), it continues to build up its military -- and we can only hope it's not planning to expand its territory in ways that threaten the U.S.

But if China does decide to get aggressive with the U.S., GE will have provided it with the aircraft technology it will be using.

According to The New York Times, GE is signing a deal to sell avionics technology -- electronics that control an aircraft's basic in-flight operations -- to Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (CACC), which aspires to build commercial and military aircraft. GE will do this through a joint venture with a Chinese company, Aviation Industry Corp. of China (Avic). Avic makes avionics for CACC and for China's military -- including its stealth fighter.

Sure, GE is based in the U.S., but that doesn't mean its shareholders expect it to be loyal to U.S. interests. Still, selling technology it developed for U.S. companies like Boeing (BA) to Boeing's Chinese competitors -- which are trying to build a competing aircraft company -- may be going too far. The question facing American policymakers is how to keep GE from crossing the line before it's too late.”

Mr. Cohan continues:

“Officially, this GE/Avic venture will be making a commercial aircraft for CACC. The Times reports that together, they'll build CACC's C919 -- a single-aisle plane capable of carrying up to 200 passengers and designed to compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 -- to be delivered in 2016. The avionics technology that GE/Avic will supply is the same as GE is providing to Boeing for its 787 Dreamliner, an industry-leading concept vehicle that is proving awfully hard for Boeing to deliver.

Is GE betraying its customers and its country? I think so. And the reason it's doing so is simple: GE believes that China will be a $400 billion market for its aircraft products over the next two decades. To be fair, GE is making all sorts of noises about how China's aircraft industry isn't sophisticated, so it won't be able to make use of all GE's advanced technology against Boeing or the American military. GE also claims it briefed the U.S. government before selling this technology to China, and that its joint venture will keep a Chinese Wall (pun intended) between its commercial and defense units.”

Mr. Cohan concludes:

“All this corporate maneuvering raises an important question: Who's in charge? To me, it looks like big-company CEOs are making the decisions that will determine America's fate. These execs may live in the U.S., but they're making big money by selling our best technology to China. And since China is lending America $907 billion through its government bond holdings, our nation's financial system is also under China's thumb.”

Television host Bill O’Reilly has long been skewering General Electric and its CEO Jeffrey Immelt for his company’s corruption and double standards. He really let loose on a recent episode of "The O’Reilly Factor," bringing in several researchers who claim that GE, the company for which Ronald Reagan was spokesman from 1954 to 1962, was heavily involved with a corrupt charity called “Oil-For-Food” in Iraq that benefited Saddam Hussein and got American soldiers killed.

Immelt, besides being the CEO of GE, is also President Obama’s jobs czar. He has consistently lectured businesses in America to pay up and create more jobs regardless of tax and regulatory burdens.

On the show, O’Reilly highlighted how GE had been fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission almost $24 million for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In the segment, O’Reilly asked Dr. Tom Borelli, who is the director of The Free Enterprise Project, if it is unfair to attack GE specifically for its malfeasance if many other companies were involved.

Borelli answered, “Absolutely not, because there has been a pattern of corruption at General Electric.”

Borelli then went on about how GE had been “cooking the books” to create the perception of higher earnings, which also forced them to settle with the SEC.

This scandal is only one in a long line of offenses both of corruption and hypocrisy that have riled up O’Reilly, and conservatives especially.

Back in July, Immelt got up on his high horse to lecture business owners at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. He said, among other things, that companies must “double the number of engineering interns taken from colleges and universities.” This, of course, doesn’t coincide well with Obama’s plan to crack down on unpaid internships.

He then complained of a lack of skilled U.S. workers. “There are thousands of open jobs in the advanced manufacturing and health care fields, but our training programs have not evolved to keep up with changes in technology or the needs of employers.”

Immelt told business owners in the room, “The people who are part of the business sector, the people in this room, have got to stop complaining about government and get some action under way. There's no excuse today for lack of leadership. The truth is we all need to be part of the solution.”

While Immelt’s theme at the conference was basically, “American jobs for American workers,” GE shortly thereafter announced that the company will move thousands of GE Healthcare jobs over to China.

A spokeswoman from GE said that the move away from “Waukesha, Wisconsin, was made two years ago and will be completed by early fall.”

In part this move, like many others that GE has made, will allow it to avoid paying taxes. In 2010 GE didn’t pay any federal taxes at all. It did this by hiring an army of lobbyists and tax lawyers, and by shifting businesses overseas.

Worse than the simple act of moving jobs overseas, which is what many other businesses must do to compete in a heavily taxed environment, is the sharing of innovative technology secrets with China. GE has decided to sell highly sophisticated aircraft technology to the Chinese government. The technology being sold is the kind that goes into the military aircraft built by Boeing.

The path that GE has been taking is a far cry from the days when Ronald Reagan was the company’s spokesman. For years before he really entered politics, Reagan traveled around the country speaking positively about the company and its workers. It was from these lectures and his countrywide travels that he crafted the famous “Time for Choosing” speech in the 1964 Barry Goldwater campaign, thereby launching his national political image.

With the corrupt actions of GE and the hypocritical language of its CEO, who is closely aligned with President Obama, it is no wonder that many conservatives have turned against the company.

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