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Immelt Down

Left and right unite: strike a blow against crony capitalism.

5:33 PM, Mar 30, 2011 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Russ Feingold speaks truth to power. He calls out one aspect of the Obama administration’s crony-capitalist, big-government-corporatist, welfare-state liberalism—the relationship between the Obama White House and its favorite pet CEO, GE’s Jeffrey Immelt. Russ has a petition—see below—calling on Immelt to resign from, or for Obama to fire Immelt from, his position as chair of Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Sign the petition. And why not go further? Get rid of the Council, period. Surely Russ and his fellow progressives would agree on that too.

In January, THE WEEKLY STANDARD'S own Fred Barnes wrote, "In General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, President Obama may not have picked the worst possible corporate executive to head his new panel on job creation. But Immelt is pretty close."

Opposing ends of the political spectrum are rarely in such complete agreement. So: Lefties and righties of the world, let’s have an honest debate between free marketeers and democratic socialists. But let’s unite against crony capitalism:

It's everything that's wrong with corporate power today:

News broke last week that General Electric, America's largest corporation, made $14,200,000,000 in profits last year and paid $0 in taxes -- that's right, zero dollars in taxes. At the same time, C.E.O. Jeffrey Immelt saw his compensation double. Now I hear that GE is expected to ask 15,000 of their unionized workers to make major concessions in wages and benefits. 

But what really adds insult to injury is the prestigious and influential position Jeffrey Immelt holds as chair of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

That's wrong.  Someone like Immelt, who has helped his company evade taxes on its huge profits -- and is now looking to workers to take major pay cuts after his compensation was doubled -- should not lead the administration's effort to create jobs.

We cannot stand by and watch while we are led down this road.   Mr. Immelt must step down from the president's jobs panel -- and if he won't, President Obama needs to ask for his resignation.

Help us build public pressure on GE's Jeffrey Immelt to step down or President Obama to get his resignation from the jobs council: Sign our petition at www.ImmeltMustGo.com today!

How can someone like Immelt be given the responsibility of heading a jobs creation task force when his company has been creating more jobs overseas while reducing its American workforce?  And under Immelt's direction, GE spends hundreds of millions of dollars hiring lawyers and lobbyists to evade taxes.

All of this at a time when Fox News and the right wing are demonizing public workers, like teachers, as the cause of our economic problems.

It's time for policymakers to stop coddling corporate interests, and get to work creating jobs and wealth for Main Street.  We shouldn't reward wealthy CEOs and Wall Street for behavior that undermines the nation's economy. 

Be a part of this meaningful fight.  Help us tell President Obama that if GE isn't paying taxes or treating workers well, Immelt Must Go!

President Obama has been talking about how we must "win the future," and I agree with him in that goal. Jeffrey Immelt is not the person for that job.

Thanks for uniting as a progressive,
                                            
Russ Feingold

Founder
Progressives United

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