The View From 1776

General Electric CEO Calls For More Big-Business Socialism

As did one of his predecessors during the imposition of socialism under President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, General Electric chief Jeff Immelt called for a bigger role for the Federal government, in this case, controlling the nation’s energy uses and sources.

At the outset of the 1930s Depression, General Electric president Owen D. Young was among the heads of major corporations who advocated more government controls of wages and prices to help big business regain its economic footing. 

Since the days of the railroads, the first great, interstate corporations, many of our largest corporations have maintained an uneasy, often close relationship with the Federal government.  Large, interstate corporations prefer working with a single set of national regulations, rather than with 50 different sets of state regulations.  Their smaller competitors are less able to bear the monstrous compliance costs that result.  Business that are big enough, as we have seen, can secure special financial and regulatory dispensations from the Federal government.

Just as Wall Street clamors for the Fed to flood the market with yet more fiat money to inflate the stock market, General Electric wants special favors from the government to give it competitive advantages, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2010, 4:11 P.M. ET
GE CEO Says U.S. Is Falling Behind in Energy


General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jeff Immelt warned that the lack of a comprehensive U.S. energy policy and the “stupid” current structure of the industry are causing America to fall behind in new energy fields.

In sharply worded comments at an energy event in Washington, Mr. Immelt on Thursday praised China’s approach to energy and criticized what he called a stalled effort to revamp U.S. energy policy. The remarks came as GE is facing tougher competition around the world from rivals in the markets for renewable and nuclear energy that the company believes get more help from their governments.

“The rest of the world is moving 10 times faster than we are,” Mr. Immelt said, referring to the U.S. during a speech at the Gridwise Global Forum. “This is a great country. But, you know, we have to have an energy policy. This is just stupid what we have today.”

The head of the Fairfield, Conn., conglomerate said China is moving faster to develop clean technologies such as nuclear power, electric vehicles and wind power. He also said China has the right mix of a big local market, innovation in technology, a low-cost supply chain and government policy support. China’s State Grid utility, he said, is larger than nearly all U.S. utilities combined.

Meanwhile, Mr. Immelt characterized the energy regulatory system in the U.S.