General Electric's CEO, Jeffery Immelt, who was counter-intuitively named to head the President's Commission on Jobs and Competitiveness has written a Washington Post op-ed piece to serve as a sort of mission statement to his new sinecure.
The piece is replete with all of the Business Speak (hereinafter referred to as BS) that one might expect from such a titan of industry, although he does preface the article with an admission that all the palaver about a "service economy" was just so much BS.
He says, "But there is nothing inevitable about America's declining manufacturing competitiveness if we work together to reverse it. For example, we have returned many GE appliance manufacturing jobs to the States by collaborating with our unions and making our operations more efficient." In the Glossary of BS, "collaborating with our unions and making our operations more efficient," means whipsawing our unions against cheap foreign workers, cutting their pay and benefits to make them competitive with south and east Asian workers.
He goes on to point out that, "Currently, the United States ranks lowest among the world's largest manufacturing nations in the ratio of domestically produced goods sold overseas, or export intensity." This may be true if one attaches no value to the jobs and factories that have been Gleefully Exported by Immelt, himself.
"Free trade: America cannot expand its manufacturing base without greatly increasing the volume of goods it sells overseas. That is why I applaud the free-trade agreement recently concluded between the United States and South Korea, which will eliminate barriers to U.S. exports and support export-oriented jobs. We should seek to conclude trade and investment agreements with other fast-growing markets and modernize our systems for export finance and trade control." He adds this since twenty years of "Free Trade" agreements have had such salutary results. He then closes the paragraph with, "Those who advocate increasing domestic manufacturing jobs by erecting trade barriers have it exactly wrong," this, of course, from a corporate profits point of view.
Immelt points out that, "In the past two years, GE has created about 6,000 manufacturing jobs in the States, many resulting from investments in innovations such as advanced batteries, which we will make at our 100-year-old plant in Schenectady, N.Y.," this representing a small fraction of the jobs that Immelt alone has sent overseas.
Immelt adds hopefully, "But government can help business invest in our shared future." By this he means that it is always in order for the corporate world to help themselves to the taxpayers' money, because only corporate welfare is acceptable welfare.
In closing, he points out that, "It is possible to be a competitive global enterprise and still care about your home," in which "home" is best understood to mean the high security gated community or condominium building in town where Immelt resides. A wider definition that would include the United States has no validity in view of Immelt's business pratices.
So, here we have Immelt's playacting at loyal Americanism after so many years of repudiating that very thing. Can we really expect the skunk to change its stripes?