You are hereTruthout: Corporate Media Push Wrong Story on Obama's Relationship With Business

Truthout: Corporate Media Push Wrong Story on Obama's Relationship With Business

February 7, 2011- President Barack Obama is hoping to “mend ties” with big business by speaking to the US Chamber of Commerce (COC), Washington DC’s top lobbyist. That’s the frame we’re hearing in the corporate media even though the President has extended the Bush tax cuts, recently named JP Morgan Chase executive and former COC board member William Daley as his chief of staff, and chose General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head the new “White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.”

Since 2009, GE has closed more than 25 manufacturing plants in the US and slashed thousands of jobs, according to the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. While GE has laid off at least 10,000 workers in the US, it has created more than 30,000 jobs in India over the past decade. The administration’s job czar runs a company that employs more workers overseas than it does in the US.

During his recent eight-hour floor speech on inequality, tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, and corporate greed, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) cited an investors' meeting on December 6, 2002 at which Immelt said, "When I am talking to GE managers, I talk China, China, China, China, China.  You need to be there. You need to change the way people talk about it and how they get there. I am a nut on China. Outsourcing from China is going to grow to $5 billion. We are building a tech center in China. Every discussion today has to center on China. The cost basis is extremely attractive."

Since Immelt became CEO in 2001, he has been paid $90 million in salary, cash, and pension benefits, and like most multi-nationals, GE just posted better-than-expected fourth quarter and 2010 profits.

According to the Wall Street Journal, with about half of the largest corporations already reporting fourth-quarter profits, 2010 is expected to deliver the third-best full-year gain since 1998. Chevron’s fourth-quarter profits rose 72 percent. Dow Chemical’s profits rose a whopping 188 percent.

The banks that received $13 trillion in bailout money and subsidies with no strings attached are also posting record profits and paying their CEOs multi-million dollar salaries. According to the New York Times, 2010 was JPMorgan Chase’s most profitable year. CEO Jamie Dimon is expected to take home $17.5 million, while four of his top executives have been awarded stock worth more than $10 million each.

At the recent state dinner with Chinese President Hu Jintao, attendees included Boeing CEO James McNerney, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent, Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris and The Carlyle Group Co-Founder David Rubenstein. Even Henry Kissinger, the man who is facing international arrest warrants for war crimes, was there.

And yet The Washington Post claims that President Obama is speaking to the COC to “rebuild ties with corporate America?”



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