The Spectacle Blog

GEeks and Government

By on 10.12.10 | 10:27AM

It won't come as a surprise to the Washington Examiner lobbying beat reporter Tim Carney, but CNSNews reports that General Electric has become a big beneficiary of Obama administration generosity:

The Obama administration gave corporate giant General Electric—the parent company of NBC--$24.9 million in grants from the $787-billion economic “stimulus” law President Barack Obama signed in February 2009, according to records posted by the administration at Recovery.gov.

...GE decreased its U.S.-based employees by 18,000 in 2009, according to the company’s 2009 annual report....

GE was the primary recipient of 14 stimulus grants, a spokeswoman for Recovery.gov confirmed to CNSNews.com. These 14 grants provided GE with $24.9 million in tax dollars. On four additional stimulus grants, the primary recipient of the federal money hired GE as a contractor.

Carney back in March 2009:

Labeled “climate revenues” and totaling $646 billion over eight years, this line item in Obama’s budget has inspired confidence in GE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt. As Immelt put it in a letter this week, he believes that the Obama administration will be a profitable “financier” and “key partner.”

On page 115 of Obama’s fiscal 2010 budget is Table S-2, titled “Effect of Budget Proposals on Projected Deficits.” The chart forecasts the costs of Obama’s spending proposals and the added revenue of his proposed tax increases. It also forecasts, beginning in 2012, billions of dollars a year in “climate revenues.” This budget line, which has struck fear into some lawmakers from coal-dependent states, could spell salvation for GE in these times of uncertainty.

How can Obama generate “climate revenues”? By forcing companies to pay for the right to emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

Cap-and-tax hasn't materialized, but that doesn't mean the president hasn't tried to take care of his friends:

In the fourth quarter of 2008 as the company’s stock fell 30 percent, GE spent $4.26 million on lobbying — that’s $46,304 each day, including weekends, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In 2008, the company spent a grand total of $18.66 million on lobbying.

...the lobbying (was) buttressed by generous campaign contributions: Employees and executives gave $1.35 million to politicians in the past election while GE’s political action committee shelled out $1.55 million. About 64 percent of this $2.9 million went to Democrats, with Obama easily the top recipient of GE money.

Carney explained further how GE benefits from administration ties in his book, Obamanomics. And in addition to those 18,000 U.S. jobs cut in 2009, you can now add the now-well-known shutdown of the the company's last incandescent light bulb plant this year (plus two others last year), which Carney foretold about last August:

“Government did us in,” says Dwayne Madigan, whose job will terminate when General Electric closes its factory next July.Madigan makes a product that will soon be illegal to sell in the U.S. - a regular incandescent bulb.

Two years ago, his employer, GE, lobbied in favor of the law that will (actually the regulations that will lead to the) outlaw the bulbs. Madigan’s colleagues, waiting for their evening shift to begin, all know that GE is replacing the incandescents for now with compact fluorescents bulbs, which GE manufactures in China.

Last month, GE announced it will close the Winchester (Va.) Bulb Plant 80 miles west of D.C. As a result, 200 men and women will lose their jobs. GE is also shuttering incandescent factories in Ohio and Kentucky, axing another 200 jobs.

Government Electric: We bring good things to China.

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