Santelli: Where the heck was Immelt on regulatory uncertainty two, three, four years ago?

posted at 6:26 pm on March 11, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

In a letter to his shareholders on Monday, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt warned that the many incoming federal regulations and the accompanying “unprecedented” uncertainty could have an unfortunate impact on capital investment and the general American economy. You don’t say, via CNBC:

“The amount of regulation tends to grow during periods of financial strain and we are certainly seeing that in the U.S.,” Immelt said, “The number of ‘major regulations’—regulations with more than $100 million in impact—has exploded in the last few years. The result has been an additional burden on business. Until we solve for these constraints, it is hard to see that the U.S. will return to its full growth potential.”

Immelt called 2013 “another typical year in the Reset Era,” pointing to economic strength in emerging markets, including renewed growth and reform in China, while the U.S. is in “unprecedented territory” when it comes to fiscal uncertainty. He called that “a major source of volatility in corporate planning.” This uncertainty, he said, is “something I never thought I would see.”

But as CNBC host Rick Santelli wondered this morning, why didn’t we hear a little bit more emphasis about the negative effects coming from ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank when Immelt was acting as — oh, I don’t know — the chairman of President Obama’s specially-appointed Council on Jobs and Competitiveness? Paying lip service to ‘reducing regulatory barriers’ is all well and good, but those two regulatory-uncertainty-inducing behemoths managed to escape pretty well unscathed.

The other thing that gelled today is Jeff Immelt, our fearless leader of a bygone day. That’s just changed recently. On the big letter that he wrote to shareholders I would like to pull out one sentence, let’s put it on the screen: “…until we solve for these constraints, it is hard to see that the U.S. will return to its full growth potential.” Obviously they’re both talking roughly about the same thing. Here’s my problem. Where was everybody two or three or four years ago? Dodd-Frank passed in 2010. Mr. Immelt running one of the greatest companies on the planet in form of GE. Well, he was the Chair of the Jobs and Competitiveness group that the president had.

And he’s not the only big business executive who was conspicuously silent about it all, either. As for the op-ed Santelli mentions in the WSJ, it’s yet another testament to the many ways in which Dodd-Frank was the administration’s effort to look proactive on dismantling the excesses of the financial crisis, but really only compounding the problems in the process. Womp:

A dozen megabanks today control almost 70% of the assets in the U.S. banking industry. The concentration of assets has been in progress for years, but it intensified during the 2008–09 financial crisis, when several failing giants were absorbed by larger, presumably healthier ones. The result is a lopsided financial system. …

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was a well-intentioned response to the problem. Its stated promise—to end “too big to fail”—rings hollow. With a law that runs 849 pages and more than 9,000 pages of regulations written so far to implement it, Dodd-Frank is long on process and complexity but short on results. Regulators cannot enforce rules that aren’t easily understood.

Further, market discipline is still lacking for the largest dozen or so institutions, as it was during the last financial crisis. Why should a prospective purchaser of bank debt practice due diligence if in the end, regardless of new layers of regulation and oversight, the issuing institution won’t be allowed to fail?

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He was destroying my stock portfolio and selling out the USA to China.

pat on March 11, 2013 at 6:32 PM

He was busy sucking it up at the slop trough.

Speakup on March 11, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Immelt isn’t giving lip service to “reducing regulatory barriers.” He believed exactly the same way then that he does now. He just kept his mouth shut then in hopes of being able to manipulate the government to his advantage.

tom on March 11, 2013 at 6:34 PM

He’s preparing for the inevitable collapse of the wind-energy sector. Immelt already dumped NBC Universal, which should impact cash-flow.

John Kettlewell on March 11, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Where the heck was Immelt on regulatory uncertainty two, three, four years ago?

It took that long to unload his stock portfolio without raising suspicion with stockholders or the SEC or crashing the price.

BobMbx on March 11, 2013 at 6:40 PM

From ZH

Who Spends The Most Dollars Lobbying Washington, DC?

Oil? Financials? Aerospace? When someone asks who the biggest sources of lobby dollars for DC’s politicians-for-purchase are, these are the three usual suspects that come to mind. Some may, therefore, be surprised to learn according to the database kept by OpenSecrets between Pharmaceutical and health product industry, hospital and nursing homes, health professionals and health services, HMOs, or more broadly Pharma/Healthcare/HMO, the total lobby dollars spent between 1998 and 2012 was a staggering $5.3 billion, or nearly three times greater than the second most generous industry: insurance, and well above Oil and Gas at $1.4 billion, and Securities and Investment at $1.0 billion. Is it becoming clearer why the US government has few qualms about unsustainable taxpayer funded healthcare spending, especially when there are so many current benefits accruing to the politicians who see so many billions in benefits from passing lobby-friendly laws now (by which we mean generous taxpayer funding, the bulk of which benefits the healthcare industry’s bottom line)?

From MT

We got this way because:
McCarran-Ferguson, 15 USC 1011-1015, specifically exempted insurance companies from anti-trust law so long as there is a state regulatory apparatus related to insurance is in place. In other words anti-trust laws are severely limited as applied to insurance companies; unless there is no state regulatory code related to that firm the Sherman, Clayton and Federal Trade Commission Acts do not apply to these companies. These acts prohibit acts that restrain trade, including collusive practices that fix prices — but they do not apply to insurance companies generally, as all states have some regulatory apparatus on insurance firms.

EMTALA, a 1980s era law signed by Ronald Reagan, forced the provision of care to people who had no ability to pay for it at the closest facility where it could be reasonably provided. Prior to this law if you had a medical emergency and could not pay you would be taken to a charity hospital for care. This might not be close to you, however, and you might bypass several other facilities that only took patients who could pay in some form or fashion. A few dozen high-profile incidents were someone was having a heart attack, stroke, or had suffered a traumatic injury and died led to the passage of this law. There were over six hundred charity hospitals in the United States, many operated by the Catholic Church, prior to this law being passed. Today there are effectively none. The result is that the mandate of unfunded care was forced, by federal law, upon health care providers.

The pharmaceutical and medical device industries got federal laws and regulations passed to prohibit the transport of legally-owned drugs and devices across international borders and to restrain trade even within the United States. This turned the concept of the ownership of property on its ear and by doing so the drug and device makers were able to charge grossly-disparate amounts of money for the same thing — often by a factor of 10 or more — simply based on where or to whom it was sold. Absent these laws you could drive into Mexico and buy 100 doses of scorpion anti-venom for $100 each from the factory that made it and then return to the US and sell it for $200, a nice 100% profit. You could do this because the current price in the United States at a hospital for that same anti-venom is $39,652 — each. It’s even worse, of course, in that the hospital paid 1/10th of that amount; if you simply sold the dose directly to the stung individual the savings would be even greater. This sort of pricing disparity exists only because of specific federal and state laws that make the operation of a free market and the opportunities that it affords impossible.

There are no basic consumer protection laws that operate to prevent price-gouging and intentional financial******by everyone up and down the line in the medical field. You can’t take your car in for service without being provided a written estimate, and you must provide approval before the charge can typically exceed 110% of that estimate — which you may decline without harm to yourself (e.g. without having your engine ripped into pieces on the floor of the shop with no way to reassemble it.) There is no other field in the United States where you can get away with not quoting a price at all for a procedure, but it happens tens of thousands of times every single day in the medical world. In fact, according to JAMA, more than one half of the top 20 hospitals for a given procedure they surveyed couldn’t provide a price at all for a routine surgical procedure after five separate attempts!

So-called health “insurance” is not actually insurance, and yet this fraud upon the public is neither stopped or prosecuted. Insurance is a pooling of funds by a group against a statistically-unlikely event (or series of events) over a given period of time, with the pooled funds used to pay claims by those who are unfortunate enough to have the bad outcome occur. Health “insurance” violates every premise of an actual insurance contract because health care is not an “unlikely” event (especially routine and diagnostic health care) and in addition alleged “health insurance” requires that you keep paying even after the adverse event happens. You don’t continue to pay a fire insurance policy on your house after the fire; the company pays you. Yet if you contract cancer while having health insurance (the adverse event) you must keep paying premiums, and in fact potentially pay ever-escalating amounts of premium, even though the adverse event already happened!

Should you arrive in a hospital under emergency circumstances you will be forced to pay in whole or part for those who cannot cover their medical expenses in the same hospital, provided you are either able to pay privately or through your alleged “insurance.” If you have assets and refuse to pay you will be relentlessly pursued and sued for that payment, a large part of which — in fact the majority of which — is not paid for your treatment. (Hospitals collect as little as 18% of what they bill. So, in fact, when they come after you for the full amount only about one dollar in six is for your treatment!) There is no other area of commerce in which you can be compelled to pay someone else’s bill that is in arrears with no ability to refuse.

We need to break the health care-government monopoly. We have two years before HC consumes more than $1 trillion annually.

tom daschle concerned on March 11, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Immelt called 2013 “another typical year in the Reset Overcharged Era,”

Yep. Overcharged and about to blow.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 11, 2013 at 6:45 PM

He was busy sucking it up at the slop trough.

Speakup on March 11, 2013 at 6:33 PM


CW on March 11, 2013 at 6:49 PM

We need to break the health care-government monopoly. We have two years before HC consumes more than $1 trillion annually.

tom daschle concerned on March 11, 2013 at 6:41 PM

I thought it was 17% of the economy? The economy is 16 trillion dollars…

astonerii on March 11, 2013 at 6:52 PM

another crony capitalist doing some DC boot lickin

burserker on March 11, 2013 at 6:52 PM

No one is listening. No one cares. Here’s a few of the things floating out there today

Five Guys is worried about the impact of on prices.

and ends with this little tale of a franchise owner

And the health care law isn’t only going to hit Ruffer. He’s quizzed his workers to ask if they understand that they will be fined if they don’t get health insurance. Just one of 20 workers were aware of the $95 tax penalty that rises to $695 by 2016.

Conservatives are a rarefied breed. They know what’s coming while everyone else is in love with Karashian or barry or both.

r keller on March 11, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Why should Immelt make any kind of “public” stand, then or now?

He’s “covered”, just the way he is.

Sucks to be the rest of us, though.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Speaking of GE:

A Wall Street Journal analysis of 60 big U.S. companies found that, together, they parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year.

According to the WSJ $108 billion is held by GE overseas.

Evidently it never occurred to Imelt to push for a decrease in the corporate tax as an incentive to repatriate this money and create jobs.

What a bunch of greedy f*wits. God forbid that any of these people think about American citizens who desperately need jobs – not crappy part time retail jobs – good jobs.

Cody1991 on March 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM

What a bunch of greedy f*wits. God forbid that any of these people think about American citizens who desperately need jobs

They only care about increasing their personal wealth at the expense of ordinary citizens, and probably grumble that the rest of us should be content to exist on part time jobs at minimum wage and thank them for the opportunity to do so.

hawkeye54 on March 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

hawkeye54 on March 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

That’s true.

I live in an area where the unemployment rate (as reported) is over 10%, and the poverty level has increased to over 24% in the last couple of years.

It’s awful, and what makes it worse is that there is no hope in sight. No one cares.

Cody1991 on March 11, 2013 at 7:11 PM

What are you all talking about? We should be giving credit to Obama for this wonderful economy.

The Rogue Tomato on March 11, 2013 at 7:16 PM

The book will be written someday, but the time for GE’s behavior sync’s exactly to the rise of the prog movement in the Dem party.

It started in 2003, after we go into Iraq. FNC was killing MSNBC, who was dropping like a stone and losing talent.

Jeff Zucker made a calculated bet to move all the NBC properties left.

He implemented “green week” on sitcoms and sports. He put Meredith Viera on the Today show, even though she had marched in anti-Iraq war protests that summer. He let MSNBC go nuts.

Once Barry became the main player, Immelt started his press for State Capitalism, waxing poetic about doing business in China in ’06 in Charlie Rose. And that was GE’s goal- get in on the State Cap game early and curry favor by turning their news orgs into state-run.

GE/NBC dug in, went forward and the day Russert died, the last obstacle was removed.

When the experiment didn’t produce the results they wanted, when the ratings didn’t grow, the tea party appeared, and the stimulus/green energy contracts did nothing for GE, they decided to eat their losses.

Zucker was fired. GE sold controlling interest in NBC to Comcast. Immelt left the public-private partnership or “economic advisors” board, and with Barry safely re-elected, has decided to be more honest with the state of the affairs.

Jeff Immelt is one of the worst, traitorous Americans to live in the past century. He openly used the largest American business as the key to turn us into China.

Now consider all your future options, and tell me if you can think of anyone outside of Rand & company who would bring Immelt before a committee.

budfox on March 11, 2013 at 7:41 PM

What did Jack Welch see in this guy…..

hillsoftx on March 11, 2013 at 7:57 PM

I heard rumours he was heading up some super fantastical jobs council three years ago. Anybody know what ever came of that?

can_con on March 11, 2013 at 8:18 PM

His investors are either clueless, or desiring to be part of the racket. Either way, I don’t feel sorry for them .

CycloneCDB on March 11, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Obama will solve this problem by joking it into extinction.

Along with the U.S.

profitsbeard on March 11, 2013 at 8:43 PM

We need to break the health care-government monopoly. We have two years before HC consumes more than $1 trillion annually.

tom daschle concerned on March 11, 2013 at 6:41 PM

No you DONT have two years:

gh on March 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

No you DONT have two years:

gh on March 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Addressing the guy who made two Denniger links earlier in the comment thread.

I’m with ya brother.

I thought it was 17% of the economy? The economy is 16 trillion dollars…

astonerii on March 11, 2013 at 6:52 PM

What percentage of Tax receipts is it?

tom daschle concerned on March 11, 2013 at 10:37 PM

Immelt is the highest form of crony capitalist. He’d sell his mom, wife or daughters for a dollar. He’s more of a vermin scumball than the marxist that rules us.

However, he does prove better than just about anyone else alive the old quote by Lenin “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them”.

He has outsourced more jobs than any human ever other than possibly Buffet. He has dumped 100’s of billions of dollars of debt on our kids and their kids.

May he rot in hell as his ulitmate and justly deserved reward.

acyl72 on March 12, 2013 at 7:55 AM

Just one more “leader” who spent the first term sucking up to President Celebrity Nincompoop. Now that he’s a lame duck it’s time to push the reset button, in case the country trends back towards growing the economy and shrinking the bureaucracy.

MTF on March 12, 2013 at 7:59 AM