Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Dark Side of General Electric

General Electric, the New York Times reports, had "worldwide profits of $14.2 billion," in 2010, with $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States. "Its American tax bill?  None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion." 

Of course GE isn't the only one.  As stated in the Times:  "While General Electric is one of the most skilled at reducing its tax burden, many other companies have become better at this as well.  Although the top corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, companies have been increasingly using a maze of shelters, tax credits and subsidies to pay far less."

Jeffrey Immelt is GE's CEO.  Immelt is also the chair of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.  This is no small irony.  GE embodies, as the Financial Times put it, "the critical remarks by Mr Obama in his State of the Union address this year, when he derided the 'parade of lobbyists' who had 'rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries.'"

Former Senator Russ Feingold and MoveOn are calling for Immelt to step down from his position on the president's job panel.  As Feingold states:
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.
Here's a link to a petition demanding that "Immelt Must Go."


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