When the government isn't taking away, it's giving. This week, President Obama conferred knighthood on Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, by appointing him to head his Economic Advisory Panel. In the recent past, Immelt has vacillated between criticism and praise of the Obama administration -- last July, he said that Obama was anti-business, while in December, Immelt praised Obama's outreach to business. Immelt's wild swings between antipathy and peonage to the Obama administration closely mirror the administration's treatment of GE: In general, when GE gets a handout, Immelt is a happy camper.
This relationship has worked beautifully for the government. GE has utterly abandoned its capitalistic, entrepreneurial past. Instead, it has embraced the roller coaster ups-and-downs of government subsidization. Immelt doesn't believe that the main job of government is to keep the hell out of a company's way -- he believes instead that government should become a "partner" in crime. According to Washington Examiner columnist Timothy Carney, GE has spent $65.7 million on lobbying, outpacing its competition by leaps and bounds.
GE and Comcast aren't alone in their desire to cozy up to the federal government. Google, once an entrepreneurial superstar, now links arms with the Obama administration by pushing "net neutrality," a scheme designed to run its competitors out of business via government regulation. Like GE, Google has one of its own inside the Obama administration -- Andrew McLaughlin, Google's former top policy executive, is currently deputy chief technology officer of the Obama administration. He has already been called on the carpet for asking Google to use its power to help out his new White House buddies.
Welcome to today's corporate America, where business takes a back seat to politics. The stock market now swings wildly based on Ben Bernanke's moods; the banking system teeters each time Barney Frank sneezes; titans of American industry scrape and bow for the scraps from Obama's dinner plate. Corporations are no longer capitalist but statist. Next time liberals cite the misdeeds of big business to complain about the ills of capitalism, inform them that big business is more a representative of government than it is of the free market.
Ben Shapiro, 27, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. He is the three-time bestselling author of "Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth," and host of "The Ben Shapiro Show" on 810 AM in Orlando, FL. To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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