Recently, President Obama appointed GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt to chair the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
This is a fascinating pick, and represents two serious problems for the Obama Administration.
One of these has to do with the impossible marriage of conflicting ideologies: One cannot simultaneously be for the private sector while attempting, repeatedly and in many diverse ways, to hobble it.
That’s the impossibly confused message of President Obama in recent months. He assailed a supposedly shadowy “corporate takeover of our democracy” – he actually said this – in a radio message last April. Now he’s hired one of corporate America’s leading executives to help his business-lite White House figure out how to encourage economic growth.
In Immelt’s op-ed in last Friday’s Washington Post, he argued for many of the things that make an economy sound: a strong manufacturing base, technology innovation, what he called “a sound and competitive tax system,” etc. (I assume by this latter he means a tax code that does not deter America’s ability to compete in the global economy).
All good. Yet he has now agreed to partner with a man who recently has enacted federal controls over the health care system, imposed a higher level of debt on his fellow citizens than any President in American history, refuses to enact a productive trade agreement with Columbia, appoints people to his Administration for whom the administrative state is a moral necessity, and insists on a vast regime of environmental and other regulations that would cripple our economy and suffocate the kind of growth the President says he wants.
Of particular interest is “climate change czar” Carol Browner’s past relationship with GE: According to the Manhattan Institute’s Max Schulz, “Browner was the driving force behind the federal government’s effort to force GE to spend $490 million to dredge New York’s Hudson River to rid it of PCBs that – because they were buried under layers of silt – posed no environmental harm.”
I wonder if Browner and Immelt will carpool together.
Browner has also been a member of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society, a recognized component of the Socialist International. This is not scare-mongering; it’s a simple fact.
Mr. Obama is in the thrall of Big Labor, and his “war on the rich” in rhetoric and policy helped tamp-down economic growth as investors wondered what would hit them next.