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Monday, October 17, 2011

Americans shouldn't be cheerleaders for GE

Immelt has long lamented this stubborn individualism of the U.S. economy, compared with the more cooperative Asian and European economies. At last year's annual conference of the Export-Import Bank of the United States -- a federal agency that subsidizes U.S. exporters like GE and Boeing -- Immelt had a rather dour description of the free market in the United States.: "For so long, we've said, 'It just doesn't matter. Let whatever happens happen.'"

"Germany is the model," Immelt has said, because it has more "public will" and national "vision." He explained: "The companies roam as a pack. They stick together. And the government supports the companies to be exporters." He enviously described China's "incredible unanimity of purpose from top to bottom."

Again, Americans bristle at the suggestion that we should all march under the GE flag. But Immelt isn't some lone wolf here: He's basically articulating Obamanomics.
Ah, yes: "Germany is the model."  "You vill do vat ve tell you.  Papers please."

Immelt is one of the crony capitalists who want the US government help him rescue his failing company. Under his so-called leadership the GE shareholder has lost 75% of his money, and GE is no longer a Blue Chip company.

How do you think Immelt's GE would fare, relative to smaller players, if we were more like China and Germany? Here's one clue: GE spends more on lobbying the federal government than any other corporation.

Immelt may not be able to get America to root for his company. But maybe he can get America's political class to help GE win.

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