Obama’s favorite CEO gets GE out from paying any US taxes

posted at 10:55 am on March 25, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

What a coincidence!  I’m sure that GE’s ability to generate $14.2 billion in profits, $5.1 billion in the US, and end up getting back $3.2 billion from taxpayers has nothing at all to do with its political connections and favorable tax breaks and loopholes it has pushed through Congress.  Oh, wait:

A review of company filings and Congressional records shows that one of the most striking advantages of General Electric is its ability to lobby for, win and take advantage of tax breaks.

Over the last decade, G.E. has spent tens of millions of dollars to push for changes in tax law, from more generous depreciation schedules on jet engines to “green energy” credits for its wind turbines. But the most lucrative of these measures allows G.E. to operate a vast leasing and lending business abroad with profits that face little foreign taxes and no American taxes as long as the money remains overseas.

Company officials say that these measures are necessary for G.E. to compete against global rivals and that they are acting as responsible citizens. “G.E. is committed to acting with integrity in relation to our tax obligations,” said Anne Eisele, a spokeswoman. “We are committed to complying with tax rules and paying all legally obliged taxes. At the same time, we have a responsibility to our shareholders to legally minimize our costs.”

The assortment of tax breaks G.E. has won in Washington has provided a significant short-term gain for the company’s executives and shareholders. While the financial crisis led G.E. to post a loss in the United States in 2009, regulatory filings show that in the last five years, G.E. has accumulated $26 billion in American profits, and received a net tax benefit from the I.R.S. of $4.1 billion.

But critics say the use of so many shelters amounts to corporate welfare, allowing G.E. not just to avoid taxes on profitable overseas lending but also to amass tax credits and write-offs that can be used to reduce taxes on billions of dollars of profit from domestic manufacturing. They say that the assertive tax avoidance of multinationals like G.E. not only shortchanges the Treasury, but also harms the economy by discouraging investment and hiring in the United States.

Obama certainly knows how to find talent:

He has designated G.E.’s chief executive, Jeffrey R. Immelt, as his liaison to the business community and as the chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and it is expected to discuss corporate taxes.

Hey, no one is better prepared to discuss business taxes than the man who has gamed the system so well that his company doesn’t pay any at all.  What’s that old saying — it takes a thief to catch a thief?

This problem started long before Barack Obama came to Washington, or even the Illinois state legislature.  The culprit here is not any one person but both parties, who have created a tax code that I’d call Byzantine, except I don’t want to offend the Byzantines with the comparison.  When we see one company avoid paying any taxes thanks to tax breaks it helped engineer, that means other companies end up losing in the process.  The government doesn’t just structure the code to protect its allies and favored players in markets, it also has to prioritize enforcement, thanks to the impossible task of applying the volumes of tax code to every single entity.

The New York Times’ report treats as ironic the Obama administration’s solution to this issue — lowering the corporate tax rate — but it’s actually the right start.  Not only do we need to lower the corporate rate to make it more competitive in the global market, but we need to rid ourselves of the massive, incomprehensible tax code that allows politicians to curry favor and pick winners and losers in the market.  We need a flat-rate corporate tax that treats GE the same as it does its competitors, and that doesn’t allow Congress to create back-door subsidies and penalties for innovation and market success.  Those reforms should come concurrently with a change to a rational corporate tax rate, not before, after, or in place of.

Does anyone think that Jeffrey Immelt, with his obviously heavy interest in maintaining the status quo, will lead Obama to the kind of reform necessary to make that happen?  Unfortunately in real life, thieves are rarely interested in catching other thieves, let alone themselves.

Note: Because I’m sure I’ll get complaints about it, the use of the term “thief” is rhetorical/symbolic only.  I have absolutely no doubt that Immelt and GE acted completely within the law to avoid paying any taxes.  That’s actually my point.


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For some reason, Grow Fins told us she “f***ing hated us” because BofA paid no taxes last year.

Chuck Schick on March 25, 2011 at 10:59 AM

The same GE that violated the Iran sanctions? The same GE that is well into the process of sharing state of the art jet engine technology with China? The same GE that just gave the Chinese $2billion to grow green energy technologies in China for sale to the United States?

Nah…can’t be. /

coldwarrior on March 25, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Another benefit of the fair tax, all corporations would pay taxes via their overhead purchases (non-COGS purchases). Corporations would not be able to game the system with loop holes to gain advantages over another. Just go out there and WTF.

WashJeff on March 25, 2011 at 11:01 AM

As you say, Ed, it’s not stealing if they give it to you.

Lily on March 25, 2011 at 11:01 AM

That brown stuff on imelt isn’t from Jack Welch!

tim c on March 25, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Obama handing out money to his friends, like from the $700 billion slush fund, isn’t that the height of corruption?

Paul-Cincy on March 25, 2011 at 11:02 AM

The same GE that …
coldwarrior on March 25, 2011 at 11:00 AM

…lobbied for the incandescent light bulb ban.

WashJeff on March 25, 2011 at 11:02 AM

More and more I am becoming convinced, although not the perfect solution, but a flat tax on all income, from all entities…corporate and individual, is the only viable solution.
Every month, take the income, and you pay taxes, or a three month running average in the case of corporate commission sales, and you pay taxes, a set percent.

right2bright on March 25, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Note: Because I’m sure I’ll get complaints about it, the use of the term “thief” is rhetorical/symbolic only.

Too late, someone in Arizona already stole something based upon your overheated rhetoric! While I’m all for free speech, hate-sites like HotAir need to be shut down in the interest of civility.

/sarc.

Big business in bed with big government is a hallmark of fascism.

rbj on March 25, 2011 at 11:05 AM

For some reason, Grow Fins told us she “f***ing hated us” because BofA paid no taxes last year.

Chuck Schick on March 25, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Grow Fins should have a word with Mike Barnacle, who is a regular on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. His wife works for BOA.

BuckeyeSam on March 25, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Once upon a time, a new president of America named Palin, sent investigators to a company named GE, and a lot of folks went to jail for a long time.

Rebar on March 25, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Well it appears immelt isn’t one of those filty rich that say they need to pay more taxes as that slug moore says. This really makes my bp go through the roof! I do not want to hear from bho and team I need to pay more taxes!
L

letget on March 25, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Immelt…another one who lives in my town.

I have absolutely no doubt that Immelt and GE acted completely within the law to avoid paying any taxes. That’s actually my point.

Ya gotta wonder how many other corporations are doing the exact same thing.

JetBoy on March 25, 2011 at 11:08 AM

G.E. makes turbofan engines for fighter planes.

Military/government/industrial complex! ATTICA!

Bishop on March 25, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Hmmm, I wonder why MSDNC has been so devoted to Obama all this time. I just can’t put my finger on it.

Doughboy on March 25, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Big business in bed with big government is a hallmark of fascism power.

rbj on March 25, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Conning the system isn’t a hall mark of any specific political or even social system…that is what people do in competition. Maybe not right, but not “Marxist”.
Big business will always try to get what benefits them. What irks me is that the ones we elect to “protect” us, don’t.
You won’t find a time in our history that big business hasn’t tried to gain an an advantage through legislation.
That was the beauty of having part time legislators who don’t make their money from passing bills.

right2bright on March 25, 2011 at 11:11 AM

It pays to be a fascist.

Rae on March 25, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Shocka

cmsinaz on March 25, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Ya gotta wonder how many other corporations are doing the exact same thing.

JetBoy on March 25, 2011 at 11:08 AM

As many as can…

right2bright on March 25, 2011 at 11:12 AM

The U.S. will have the highest corporate tax rate in the entire world starting next month. What could possibly go wrong?

b/w

Here‘s a good book about Political Entrepreneurs vs. Market Entrepreneurs. Relevant to the discussion at hand.

visions on March 25, 2011 at 11:12 AM

All I want is my regular light bulbs back. These new twisty ones give off a funny smell when on too long. That can’t be good for you.

DrAllecon on March 25, 2011 at 11:13 AM

letget on March 25, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Yes, and here is the irony, or at least the hidden fact.
He would pay more in taxes on his income…while his stock options are going through the roof.
That is why these moguls have no problem with paying more taxes on the salaries/income, so what if they pay $100,000 more in taxes, they gain millions in stock options.

right2bright on March 25, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Long ago, I quit buy GE products because of quality issues. Now we have multiple reasons not to purchase their products. I Stopped by Home Depot to get some light bulbs, saw they only had GE for one of the bulbs I needed, and promptly took my business over to Lowes.
 
Stop buying GE products!!! Start lobbying for a flat or fair tax to get politicians out of the social-engineering-through-tax-code business!!!

ClanDerson on March 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Note: Because I’m sure I’ll get complaints about it, the use of the term “thief” is rhetorical/symbolic only. I have absolutely no doubt that Immelt and GE acted completely within the law to avoid paying any taxes. That’s actually my point.

Go over to any leftist website, and you’ll find people who not only think it’s a crime, but that the only corporations participating in this are the oil companies.

The thing that is bothersome here is the hypocrisy of the cooperation — taxes for thee, but none for me.

unclesmrgol on March 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Heh, but I get a letter from the IRS notifying me that they’re investigating some of the items I claimed on my tax return. I’m sure it’s the $10 I drop in the basket each Sunday.

Alden Pyle on March 25, 2011 at 11:17 AM

If it doesn’t get ‘reported’, it didn’t happen.

/Thanks again, the 52%ers.

Sir Napsalot on March 25, 2011 at 11:17 AM

“G.E. is committed to acting with integrity in relation to our tax obligations,” said Anne Eisele, a spokeswoman, while Immelt laughed all the way to the bank.

FIFM.

GrannyDee on March 25, 2011 at 11:19 AM

This is precisely what libertarians have been warning against for decades: bipartisan corporatism.

Big corporations like nothing better than erecting barriers to entry, writing competitive advantages into law, and getting tax breaks. And with the mammoth multi-thousand-page tomes being enacted, there’s plenty of room for all of them.

In the end, it’s taxpayers and consumers who suffer.

TallDave on March 25, 2011 at 11:20 AM

More and more I am becoming convinced, although not the perfect solution, but a flat tax on all income, from all entities…corporate and individual, is the only viable solution.
Every month, take the income, and you pay taxes, or a three month running average in the case of corporate commission sales, and you pay taxes, a set percent.

right2bright on March 25, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Agreed. At first, I rejected the idea because I have deductions. But now, I just want a level playing field. No exceptions, no preferences. Everybody plays on the same field, with the same rules (NO WAVERS), with the same opportunities.

dominigan on March 25, 2011 at 11:20 AM

You won’t find a time in our history that big business hasn’t tried to gain an an advantage through legislation.
That was the beauty of having part time legislators who don’t make their money from passing bills.

right2bright on March 25, 2011 at 11:11 AM

That’s a huge generalization. Sure, some “big business” has gamed the system. But many haven’t. It’s not fair to generalize all American business, past and present, as crony-capitalist.

The point is, the political ideology that fosters crony-capitalism is Modern Liberalism. As government increases in scope and regulation, corporations need to get a seat at the table to protect themselves. They also use the opportunity to create barriers of entry into their field in order to stymie competition. Of course, the hardest hit are the poor and less fortunate in society as their options become unnecessarily limited.

visions on March 25, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Ya gotta wonder how many other corporations are doing the exact same thing.

JetBoy on March 25, 2011 at 11:08 AM

The ones that are still in business.

Lily on March 25, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Long ago, I quit buy GE products because of quality issues.

ClanDerson on March 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM

6Sigma. Used at GE because they were building washing machines and dryers which were so reliable that repeat customers were less frequent than GE wanted — because the customers didn’t need replacements. 6Sigma helped GE figure out the balance point — so they could build appliances which were not so crappy that customers wouldn’t come back, but which were crappy enough that customers would come back — if that makes any sense.

In other words, a method to balance profit and quality.

unclesmrgol on March 25, 2011 at 11:22 AM

We should only have low, cost of paperwork fees on corporations and businesses in the US to make sure they don’t register with the same name and we know who their officers/responsible parties are. That’s it.

Corporations don’t pay taxes. If we tax them they go to their cities, counties, states and federal reps and negotiate breaks, which costs them money. If they don’t get breaks, it costs them money.

Who pays those costs? The business is in business to make money, so WE PAY ALL CORPORATE TAXES AND FEES. We get lower salaries, fewer coworkers and higher prices on the things we buy. Every penny of tax and fees is paid by the people who buy from these corporations, even if the only money the corporations end up paying out is to lobbyists to avoid paying taxes.

“Well we have to hold them accountable! We do that through taxes!”

Really? Massive lawsuits against tobacco didn’t cost the tobacco company profits, they just raised their prices. Increased regulations and cap and trade here in Oregon didn’t reduce the profits for the electric companies, our electric bills just went up.

And to top it all off, as we become the highest corporate tax nation in the world, any business that can sell their product online and over the phone would be stupid to be based here in the U.S. for any reason except freedom. The only possible beneficiaries of our screwed up system are FedEx, UPS and the other shipping companies that operate around the world.

PastorJon on March 25, 2011 at 11:22 AM

. . . and dingbats like Conrad are attempting to make us pay a “milage tax”. This liberal/leftist insanity must stop.

rplat on March 25, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Like I said:
IT’S NOT SOCIALISM!!
THIS IS FASCISM!!
Gov + Capital + Labor + Finance = Total Control!!

abobo on March 25, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Ed, most of your readers know that GE owns NBC & MSNBC, which continually shower love on all things Democrat, but you ought to have pointed it out for those who don’t know.

itsnotaboutme on March 25, 2011 at 11:25 AM

visions on March 25, 2011 at 11:20 AM

I agree that corporate rent-seeking is a fact of life. It is the government that must be responsible for limiting the behavior. Both Obama and GE will eventually pay the price for this.

As the daughter of a long-time GE employee (under Welch), it pains me to see this. I know I’m not the only one who is sad to see what the management of this company has become.

Missy on March 25, 2011 at 11:26 AM

The corporate tax rate should 1% anyway.

The problem with GE’s way out (and others) is that they had to divert real business investments for smoke and mirror “green” fantasies that won’t do the nation much good.

The incentives are almost as bad as the taxes… get rid of both of them.

mankai on March 25, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Wouldn’t it be nice it there were separate “Laws” and “Rules”. There really only need to be about 10 “Laws”. Everything else should be demoted to a “Rule of the Game”.

Fogpig on March 25, 2011 at 11:35 AM

right2bright on March 25, 2011 at 11:11 AM

The thing is, in the 1920s, Mussolini’s fascism was billed as the third way between “unbridled capitalism” and marxist communism. Fascism is the lighter form because it doesn’t do away with private property or private business. Just that they are heavily regulated and in bed with government.

rbj on March 25, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Not bad enough that GE doesn’t pay any income tax, you can be sure that Immelt and dozens of other top executives don’t pay much personal income due to tax shelters foreign countries offer those who invest their personal wealth in those countries. The same way some individuals are expert at gaming the welfare benefits these folks game the investment laws.

fourdeucer on March 25, 2011 at 11:41 AM

itsnotaboutme on March 25, 2011 at 11:25 AM

I believe NBC and MSNBC are owned by Comcast now? Forgive me if I’m wrong.

I want to know what happened to Bidens spouting that paying taxes was a duty, and patriotic? Does this mean GE hates America too?

I’m all for lowering the coporate rate, but GE is so deep in with liberals, you’d think he’d go along with what Biden said. Talk about hypocrisy.

capejasmine on March 25, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Wait, wait, wait…………………I though it was the evil oil companies that were getting all the big “subsidies” and breaks. What happened?

iurockhead on March 25, 2011 at 11:46 AM

I say to my conservative Brothers and Sisters, please, dont tell me about the efficiency of the free market. We dont have a free market. What we have is a statist, corporatist, den of corruption in DC. Biv Gov Loves Big Corp and they show it in $$$$$$$$$

georgealbert on March 25, 2011 at 11:48 AM

BO is gonna be one rich Commie when he finally retires from being king.

Hening on March 25, 2011 at 11:48 AM

For some reason, Grow Fins told us she “f***ing hated us” because BofA paid no taxes last year.

Chuck Schick on March 25, 2011 at 10:59 AM

But B of A paid no corporate income taxes because they made no profit. Many companies don’t pay taxes in years where they don’t profit or even lose money. That’s not the case with Government Electric.

slickwillie2001 on March 25, 2011 at 11:50 AM

We need a flat-rate corporate tax that treats GE the same as it does its competitors, and that doesn’t allow Congress to create back-door subsidies and penalties for innovation and market success.

Then it’s 3rd Party time, Ed.

FloatingRock on March 25, 2011 at 11:51 AM

I wonder if he has to pay taxes on his $15.2 million salary? I seem to remember Obama saying that these “fat cats” shouldn’t make that much money.

Wills on March 25, 2011 at 11:52 AM

They are well on their way to implementing The Oligarcy.

Naturally Curly on March 25, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Because I’m sure I’ll get complaints about it, the use of the term “thief” is rhetorical/symbolic only.

Tell you what, Ed! We’ll just take the heat off of you by simply saying that Immelt is a mother****ing, scumbag, piece of s**t, a**wipe son of a b**ch, and that calling him a thief is just putting it kindly.

pilamaye on March 25, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Barry Ritholtz had the right take:

Yet another reason why you don’t bailout companies whose inability to manage risk allowed themselves to become destroyed: They not only do not deserve to continue with the same management/shareholders/creditors who all created the insolvency in the first place, but they are ungrateful bastards as well.

Amen. This is the result of a leadership problem that needs to get fixed – both in Schenactedy and in Washington, D.C.

ironman on March 25, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Note: Because I’m sure I’ll get complaints about it, the use of the term “thief” is rhetorical/symbolic only. I have absolutely no doubt that Immelt and GE acted completely within the law to avoid paying any taxes. That’s actually my point.

That’s a shame. Because he’s a scumbag, a liar, and a fuc*ing thief.

Jaibones on March 25, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Welch was no angel. Did more than his share of polluting our country unnecessarily and not fixing it when he could and should have. He was also into it for himself and became mega wealthy. His errors and his politics are legend and he’s far from an idol. HOWEVER, Immelt is a scumbag, pos, thief and petty politician stealing from the government with his lies. He is a putrid pile of garbage and should be investigated thoroughly. He is also far from being a gung ho American as Jack Welch was. Immelt could care less about America. Welch was a patriot. FIRE Immelt.

highninside on March 25, 2011 at 12:05 PM

In other words, a method to balance profit and quality.

unclesmrgol on March 25, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Well, the GE microwave that lasted 2 weeks missed the “balance” for me. And I’ve never bought another GE product since.

CJ on March 25, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Why can’t the criminal in the white house be impeached? What the hell is the hold up?
It needs to happen while we are still a law abiding society but I suppose it’s going to take some conservatives with a “set” to get it done.
Please hurry, we are growing weary.

Dr Bob on March 25, 2011 at 12:11 PM

I wonder how Wesley Snipes feels about this as he is sitting in jail for not paying a few million in taxes?

georgealbert on March 25, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Once upon a time, a new president of America named Palin, sent investigators to a company named GE, and a lot of folks went to jail for a long time.

Rebar on March 25, 2011 at 11:07 AM

:)

MainelyRight on March 25, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Posted by Fortune
March 14, 2011 11:27 AM

By Dan Mitchell, contributor

There is a big difference, says Oracle President Safra Catz, between the $800 billion federal stimulus package and the “repatriation” of $1 trillion in foreign corporate holdings that she advocates. Unlike the stimulus, “my money has already been printed,” she said Friday, drawing chortles from the audience at a conference at Stanford University.

Not that all of the money is hers, or Oracle’s (ORCL), of course. As Fortune first reported last month, Oracle, with Catz in the lead, has joined with several other tech, pharmaceutical and energy multinationals to mount a lobbying campaign for a tax holiday that would allow them to transfer $1 trillion they have parked overseas at a much lower rate than they would normally have to pay. Other companies in the group include Cisco (CSCO), Apple (AAPL), Duke Energy (DUK) and Pfizer (PFE).

fourdeucer on March 25, 2011 at 12:16 PM

I believe NBC and MSNBC are owned by Comcast now?
capejasmine on March 25, 2011 at 11:41 AM

You’re partly right. From Wiki:

On December 1, 2009, CNBC reported that a tentative agreement had been reached between Comcast and GE.[29] The deal was formally announced on December 3, 2009.[6] Under the agreement, NBC Universal would be 51% owned by Comcast and 49% by GE. Comcast would pay $6.5 billion cash to GE.

So it’s still very much in NBC’s & MSNBC’s interest to play Obama cheerleader.

itsnotaboutme on March 25, 2011 at 12:20 PM

What if Bush di….oh, nevermind….

miConsevative on March 25, 2011 at 12:21 PM

I have absolutely no doubt that Immelt and GE acted completely within the law to avoid paying any taxes. That’s actually my point.

It’s a very good point Ed.

Tax avoidance uses existing tax law to reduce (in this case, eliminate) the tax obligation. Tax evasion ignores existing tax law to accomplish same. The former is legal, the latter is not.

GE is avoiding taxes. On the other hand, Claire McCaskill is evading taxes.

rukiddingme on March 25, 2011 at 12:21 PM

…the use of the term “thief” is rhetorical/symbolic only

You are right that thief is the wrong term to use. Rent-seeking-bastard is the proper economic term.

woodNfish on March 25, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Ok folks…I don’t say this lightly, but this is the face of soft Fascism. Fascism? Isn’t that “right wing?” I thought that much of my younger life up until college when I was taking a course on 20th century western history. We were studying the rise of the great dictators — Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini.

The professor led us through an examination of Mussolini’s rise to power. He was a committed Socialist and a leader of the International in Italy. He was the editor of “Avanti!,” Italy’s leading Socialist/Progressive newspaper. He hated Capitalism and Liberal Democracy as obstacles to The Revolution. However, he was discouraged at the progress of Socialism in Italy — The International Movement wasn’t taking off, but he found a new direction based on his experiences in WW1. He saw that in the trenches there was no class distinction. Rich, poor, educated and ignorant were all equal in the mud — they were reduced to being Italians first and foremost. That’s the vision he had for Socialsim in Italy. That there needed to be an *Italian* Socialism for Italians, the International movement would not work in Italy.

So he created a national Socialist movement he called “Fascism” — named after the baton of power wielded by an ancient Roman field general or consul, the Fasces. This was a rod fashioned of small sticks, bound together to be strong — representing the different interests of Rome working as one.

Fascism’s “sticks” were comprised of Socialist groups and Labor Unions. The controlling core economic principle was Corporatism — the control of the economy and thus the nation via control over industrial leaders and the Unions. Rather than sieze corporations and run them from the State, as in Communism, Fascism controlled industry by co-opting and forcing industrial leaders to bend to the will of the Socialist State and become part of the ruling party structure. The working class was led and controlled by the State through the Unions. So under Corporatism, companies and labor Unions become part of the State’s power apparatus.

When I asked my professer why any of this was “Right Wing” he told me “Because it’s Nationalist.” Huh?? But I asked him next, but if Mussolini was a comitted Leftist who created Fascism as a type of Italian-focused Socialism, using nationalism as one component of his power base, how is it Right Wing when it’s founded on Socialist principles?? “The nationalism is what makes it Right Wing. Do you want to lead the class, why don’t you sit down and let others have a chance to speak!” My professor harangued me, slighted me and tried to embarrass me in front of my peers to silence me. Wow. That was an eye opener, foot firmly on the road to conservatism since then.

But back on point, what we see with the Obama Administration’s policies is Corporatism — the heart of Fascism. He has co-opted industrialists in GE, GM and other major corporations who implement Leftist policies (green energy, electric cars, CFC light bulbs, etc.) through their corporations and get preferential treatment and profit from their attachment to the State while competitors are disadvantaged. The Unions have become an instrument of State power and are wedded fully and firmly to the Obama Administration as well.

This, my friends, is Fascism. The Statist-Totalitarian core is tempered by the American legal system and culture so far, but look at the poking and prodding at the edges…”Fair” radio standards to ensure “local content” that would silence conservative talk radio. A national internet kill switch to control the web and web content. The FEC ruling that political talk radio may be an in-kind contribution and thus falling under their regulatory controls. The DHS Secretary punishing insurance firms who opposed Obamacare with new regulations. The non-State allied energy sector being punished through onerous regulations while companies wedded to the State profit with tax subsidies, contracts and tax breaks.

Soft Tyranny is what Mark Levin calls it. He’s right.

EasyEight on March 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Obama to give a speech about how evil corporations are not doing their fair share by paying more taxes in 5… 4… 3…

Scrappy on March 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Sheriff Joe need to get on this stat. The question is why does GE hate America and why are they un-patriotic?

Octavia on March 25, 2011 at 12:30 PM

EasyEight on March 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM

You do know that Congress has been displaying Mussolini’s favorite symbols for decades and decades, right?

Fascism…yep. At least when the great Change comes, they won’t have to do much redecorating in the House…maybe put Obama’s picture up there where the Flag once stood.

coldwarrior on March 25, 2011 at 12:36 PM

As Milton Friedman pointed out years ago, the tax code is structured so that politicians of both parties can reward their friends, punish their enemies, and re-distribute wealth. Franklin D. Roosevelt said more than once that those who had higher incomes should pay more in taxes – just like Karl Marx wanted. Friedman also stated that the corruption inherent in the Internal Revenue System was why it would never be reformed or done away with. We should tax CONSUMPTION at the point of sale at the final step of sales – 10%. Eliminate taxes on businesses, since no business actually pays a tax, they just pass it through to the consumer. However, business taxes serve a two-fold purpose, taxing business allows Congress to tax individuals while blaming “greedy businesses”, so they can ‘scapegoat’ businesses while still raising taxes.

oldleprechaun on March 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Stop buying GE products!!!

ClanDerson on March 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Worth repeating.

the_souse on March 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM

EasyEight on March 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM

great post.

TexasDan on March 25, 2011 at 12:52 PM

And this article is in The Slimes? Whoa. When you’ve lost even The Slimes…

Ward Cleaver on March 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Isn’t he one of those Wall St. bigshots who own the GOP? Oops.

shanimal on March 25, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Stop buying GE products!!! Start lobbying for a flat or fair tax to get politicians out of the social-engineering-through-tax-code business!!!

ClanDerson on March 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM

I think their stuff is mostly junk, anyway. I’ve never bought their appliances; I only buy Whirlpool, or the Sears stuff that is made by Whirlpool (some of Sears’ stuff is GE).

Ward Cleaver on March 25, 2011 at 1:00 PM

General Electric and Bank of America also managed to pay no income taxes to the federal government for 2009. I think I recall that Exxon didn’t pay taxes either.

This goes back to 2008: http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/08/12/us-usa-taxes-corporations-idUSN1249465620080812

(Reuters) – Most U.S. and foreign corporations doing business in the United States avoid paying any federal income taxes, despite trillions of dollars worth of sales, a government study released on Tuesday said.

fastestslug on March 25, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Jimmy Carter II: Attack of the Crones.

Kafir on March 25, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Who doesn’t need a 0% tax rate with a $3.2B refund in order to compete globally, anyway?

shanimal on March 25, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Stop buying GE products!!!

ClanDerson on March 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM

They don’t make anything you would buy besides stoves and microwaves. The rest is industrial equipment that he sells to Obama.

Jaibones on March 25, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Criminal…

But I’m sure there is a NICE campaign contribution heading for the 2012 POTUS reelection efforts…

Khun Joe on March 25, 2011 at 1:29 PM

EasyEight on March 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM

To understand the charge of “fascism” against the political right, you need to go back to the Communist influence in Hollywood and the Media in the 1930′s.

Hitler was a “National Socialist”, Stalin was a “Soviet Socialist”. Both accepted that the State was God. [A common slander against the Christian faith is Hitler was Christian. Lie. Hitler was no Christian. Study the history of the Reich Church. In the "official" Reich Churches the Bible was replaced by "Mein Kampf" which was placed on the altar. By it was a sword. Men such as Bonhoeffer, Martin Niemöller, and Karl Barth strongly and vocally opposed the NAZIs. (Although I believe Barth was actually Swiss.) An excellent recounting of the resistance from Christian leaders in Germany is handled in the Eric Metaxas book, "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy".] But I digress. The Leftists in the U.S. at this time were supportive of Hitler, although notably, so were several prominent others such as Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh. The Left maintained support of Hitler up until Hitler ordered the invasion of Russia. At that point, the Left needed a way to maintain support for the Socialists in Russia while attacking the Socialists in Germany, so they claimed that opposition to Russian Socialism was ‘right wing’. The communists in the U.S. picked up that story and ran with it. You can also research the conduct of the Communist Party in France at the same time, they were fine with the NAZI occupation, but when Hitler went to war against Russia, the French Communists went to war with the Germans. Socialism. Evil no matter where it’s practiced or by whom, or by whatever name it’s called.

“A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn

oldleprechaun on March 25, 2011 at 1:30 PM

What’s that old saying — it takes a thief to catch a thief?

In Immelt’s case “It takes a communist to sell Capitalism”. Details dripping out by the days…more to come.

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Exempting friends, thugs, union bosses, etc. on this, other topics, and ObamaCare, and being given a pass by the Rs and the media…O sails into office, again in 2013. The House loses and the Senate flips.

Suffocate, slowly, all those who’re derelict in their duties. Ignorant voters deserve their ‘leaders’ in a relatively, or still, free country.

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Fascism is where you find it.

percysunshine on March 25, 2011 at 3:17 PM

EasyEight on March 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM

great post.

TexasDan on March 25, 2011 at 12:52 PM

I second that.

oldleprechaun on March 25, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Another great post. If I could put both of those posts up as a note on FB I wonder how many people would read it and understand? How can people not see what is going on here?

NTWR on March 25, 2011 at 3:17 PM

The culprit here is not any one person but both parties, who have created a tax code that I’d call Byzantine, except I don’t want to offend the Byzantines with the comparison.

This is the fascist economic system or in our vernacular “crony capitalism”. A better term might be “Engineered Markets” as opposed to free markets. Just like social engineering it is designed through the collusion of government and private elitists who pick the winners and losers. The opposite of the free market where you the individual consumer decides through their purchases who the winners and losers will be. The winners in the Engineered Market like GE, superficially at least, are still private, but they are controlled by government. In return for their cooperation, GE’s competitors are eliminated through overburdening regulation and taxes. If GE start to fail, the government will subsidize them. If some upstart entrepreneur challenges GE with a superior product or service more desirable to consumers, the government will crush them.

They win you lose.

DeathB4Tyranny on March 25, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Obama Likes Spending

J_Crater on March 25, 2011 at 5:01 PM

I’m make’n a kill’n with GE…..

THEY BRING GOOD THINGS TO LIFE

roflmao

donabernathy on March 25, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Hitler was a “National Socialist”, Stalin was a “Soviet Socialist”. Both accepted that the State was God.

oldleprechaun on March 25, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Similarities were there to be sure, but they were diametrically opposed. One has to look at the vision of both systems.

For the Bolsheviks it was the Marx-Engels belief that Socialism had to be controlled by a powerful, committed elite in order to steer it to the final stage of human history-Communism. Then that elite would wither away as it would no longer be needed.

Hitler believed that only the elite should control things-forever. He learned early on that the Austrian multi-ethnic, multi-party parliament was a joke that was unable to accomplish anything of value. He also felt that to have the masses elect somebody was haphazard as any idiot could get elected. No…only those who had a clear vision of racial purity and strength of will could lead. The cream would rise to the top (his rapid rise was evidence of that in his mind).

Hitler envisioned a hybrid agrarian/feudal society along with a powerful industrial backbone. The Volk would colonize Eastern Europe and live a simple, healthy, bucolic existence tilling the soil. They would be trained to fight in the People’s Militia and be called upon, if necessary, to fend off the Mongol/Bolshevik hordes that would certainly, from time to time, venture west of the Urals. The Volk would be racially pure and all others would look upon them with awe, but would never be able to do more than to pitifully emulate them due to their inferior genetics.

Hitler saw the Jews as those being behind Bolshevism. To him, they threatened the racial purity of the Aryan. The Jews sought to exploit the Aryans as they had since the Middle Ages when they figured that they could lend money for interest, whereas the Christians could not. The Jews were transnational and loyal to no particular country (though there does seem to be some Nazi dichotomy of Jews, possibly Zionist vs. non-political types who may or not be very religious)…this was unacceptable to Hitler. Only a true member of the Volk could be trusted.

The Communist ranks on the other hand were rife with Jews, including Soviet officials both high and low.

Another difference is that Communism is meant to be international and exportable. Hitler didn’t think it was a good idea to export national socialist ideology as that would create those who may collide with German national socialist interests.

I’ve noticed that some folks like to take all of those they despise, including the Nazis, and put them all nice and neat in a Commie hat box. Though they were similar, on parallel tracks, they were going in opposite directions.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 25, 2011 at 5:36 PM

The corruption from this administration is unbelievable. Confiscating union dues from public unions whether they are willing is not an issue for Obama as long as the bulk of the money ends up in the democrat coffers. No taxes for GE, no sweat. Waivers from paying for Obamacare, no sweat. As long has taxpayer money to bribe and corrupt, Obama will use it to bring Amerivcans down by using the weak and corrupt to usurp the public’s best interests.

volsense on March 25, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Funny, crr6 isn’t here to make false equivalence and tu quoque arguments.

I wonder why.

JeffWeimer on March 25, 2011 at 6:22 PM

The Left maintained support of Hitler up until Hitler ordered the invasion of Russia.

The Left also treated Mussolini then as they do Casto and Chavez today — they loved him, feted him, he was an example and a marvel of Socialism at work…until WW2 started and they began distancing themselves, especially after the Italians helped invade the USSR. That, btw, is often used by the Left to show how the two systems were at opposite sides of the spectrum. Nah. Facism and Communism are competing strains of the same core Socialist ideology. For example, Trotsky was still a Communist, that didn’t prevent other competing Communists from sticking an icepick through his skull.

EasyEight on March 25, 2011 at 6:51 PM

I’ve noticed that some folks like to take all of those they despise, including the Nazis, and put them all nice and neat in a Commie hat box. Though they were similar, on parallel tracks, they were going in opposite directions.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 25, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Nope. Different trains on parallel tracks to same end destination — soul crushing, brutal Totalitarianism.

They are just different strains of the Socialism virus.

Communism = International Socialism. Everyone is supposed to benefit.

Fascism = National-level Socialism. That nation is supposed to benefit.

Nazism = Ethnic-focused Socialism. Only a single ethnicity is supposed to benefit.

It all ends up with the host society dying in agony.

EasyEight on March 25, 2011 at 6:56 PM

Nope. Different trains on parallel tracks to same end destination — soul crushing, brutal Totalitarianism.

They are just different strains of the Socialism virus.

Communism = International Socialism. Everyone is supposed to benefit.

Fascism = National-level Socialism. That nation is supposed to benefit.

Nazism = Ethnic-focused Socialism. Only a single ethnicity is supposed to benefit.

It all ends up with the host society dying in agony.

EasyEight on March 25, 2011 at 6:56 PM

Nope. What they end up doing is immaterial in the factual comparison. Where they wanted to go is the difference between them.

I think, you’re predicating some of your notions upon the idea that Capitalism and Democracy are sustainable and are the ultimate in human social evolution, and that may be. But I urge you not to confuse what you want with what may happen anyway given a cold, hard discussion of ideologies.

I don’t like the bastards, either, but I try to minimize my personal preferences when examining these.

As for NSDAP (and Italian Corporatism), we have no way of knowing if that was sustainable because it was destroyed. Could we accomplish that nowadays? OK, how about in the future if we continue to lose our industrial base and lose our technological edge in the future? The jury is still out on Communism. Do you really believe that Soviet and Maoist Communism is really kaput? If not, then how strongly may they come back?

Also, remember that Germany and Italy were destroyed from without…they didn’t collapse naturally from within. We can’t say (economically and socially) if they could have thrived. They started off well enough to be sure.

Sure, they were both born out of the same Socialist ideology. But so were the American and French Revolutions (born out of the same Rationalist ideology). With America you got thriving commerce and relative peace for its citizens. With the French you got the Reign of Terror and a world war. Were both the same?

And what is the ultimate source of Socialist ideology? Thin air? No. It arose out of the Age of Enlightenment just as the American and French Revolutions. Perhaps a perversion, but nevertheless Communism is the grandson of the Enlightenment every bit as much as Capitalism and Jeffersonian Democracy.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 25, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Oy vay.
NO TAXES.
And not a peep about it from the Communist media.

What’s that you say? You want to spread my wealth around???

KMC1 on March 25, 2011 at 8:56 PM

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