Ignore for a moment the fact that President Obama received $1 million from BP before he gave the Deep Sea Horizon oil rig a safety award and exempted them from several regulatory practices, all before the greatest ecological disaster in our history occurred. Instead of focusing on that, realize this. Under the Obama/Pelosi/Reid government economy that has taken over the free market economy, big business has been receiving more federal financial aide than ever before. And in those cases where the public perception is that federal aide, or more federal aide, is seen as truly unreasonable, the Obama government has simply taken over those interests, i.e.; Government Motors.
But even more to the point is the despicable case of General Electric.
Since the Obama/Pelosi/ Reid regime came into power, G.E. has benefited from a strong relationship with Democrats and the White House. It’s chairman, Jeffrey Immelt is a member of the President Obama’s economic advisory council. In turn, G.E. has been an ardent supporter of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid stimulus package, a package that G.E. received a few billion in federal bailout funds from. Among other things, the economic conspiracy begs the question, how many members of Congress and the Administration have vested interests in G.E. stocks?
But beyond that is the ugly spectacle that is taking place right now as G.E. continues one of its most extensive and expensive lobbying campaigns ever. After receiving billions of dollars in federal bailouts funds, General Electric is lobbying Congress for more than $485 million in this years annual defense appropriations bill and continued support for their development of an alternate engine for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet program. It is anticipated that over the next 25 years, the federal government will purchase more than 2,400 joint strike fighter aircraft and it is G.E.’s contention that the alternate engine they are developing will eventually bring the costs of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program down significantly.
To make their case known, so far this year G.E. has spent millions on a national ad campaign and in just the first three months of this year, over $10 million was spent to directly lobby Congress for this year’s annual defense appropriation request. At least now we know why the financial arm of G.E. needed a few billion in bailout funds?
Interestingly, General Electric is not alone in this alternate engine project. They are partnered with the U.K’s Rolls Royce corporation. But the Connecticut based G.E. employs hundreds of thousands of employees across the United States, and have a vital manufacturing presence in many regions. For instance, G.E. houses a major plant in Cincinnati, Ohio where unemployment stands at nearly 9.5%.
That high unemployment rate is what makes the latest part of this G.E. lobbying effort all the more troubling.
If this $485 million subsidy goes into the defense appropriation bill, that is coming up for a vote today, the G.E./Rolls Royce alternate engine will be manufactured in Great Britain.
Now to be fair, President Obama vows to veto this earmark, the only one he has ever made such a threat over. But President Obama’s objections are due to his desire to cut defense and Pentagon costs. And it his belief, and that of Defense Secretary Gates, that the investment in the development of this alternate engine will not produce a savings significant enough to justify the initial investment. That is fair enough. Besides, I believe that significant cost reductions and budget cuts that do not place us at a strategic disadvantage, could and should be made in the Pentagon . I do however lack confidence in President Obama’s ability to do so properly. His termination of missile defense systems and rejection of the F-22 stealth fighter program, lends credence to my lack of confidence.
But in the case of this alternate engine I can agree with the President on discontinuing this particular earmark. But I oppose it on two grounds. In addition to already costing too much and not producing a savings that is worth the investment at this time, I do not want to subsidize jobs in foreign countries when we need them here in America……..especially manufacturing jobs.
Yet Congress does not see it this way. They are prepared to fight the President on this. And unless they back down, that fight could get ugly and cost the President support on several other initiatives such as the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.
In the end, this is just another case of the Obama Administration getting tangled up in a broader web of tricks. In this case, he has in many ways benefited from placing his friend, G.E. chairman Immelt on his economic advisory council. Immelt in turn supported the federal bailouts and stimulus packages that his company profited from. Then he used those profits to lobby the Obama/Pelosi/Reid regime for more subsidies that would ultimately go towards building a product that G.E. will make a substantial profit from, all while taking manufacturing jobs out of America and giving them to foreign interests.
This is all just another example of how truly damaging and useless the Obama economic recovery plan has been. On a day that American consumer confidence is reported to be at one of its lowest points in year’s, finding out that the Obama bailouts and stimulus plan is helping to finance efforts to ship jobs overseas, is not encouraging. If anything, it is insulting. Hopefully Congress will not approve additional funding for this alternate engine. At least not so long as it involves taking more of American manufacturing jobs oversees at a time when they are desperately needed here. Because in case you haven’t noticed, unemployment is not exactly falling at any significant pace, despite all the federal spending that was meant to do that.