The Corporate State, Illustrated

Couldn't have illustrated the new corporate state that Obama is building better than this -- at state where large corporations, unions, and government officials conspire to use government power to enrich their contituencies to the detriment of smaller businesses, consumers, and taxpayers.  WSJ via Tad DeHaven:

The government has taken on a giant role in the U.S. economy over the past year, penetrating further into the private sector than anytime since the 1930s. Some companies are treating the government's growing reach "” and ample purse "” as a giant opportunity, and are tailoring their strategies accordingly. For GE, once a symbol of boom-time capitalism, the changed landscape has left it trawling for government dollars on four continents.

"˜The government has moved in next door, and it ain't leaving,' Mr. [GE CEO Jeffrey] Immelt said at the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Montreal in June. "You could fight it if you want, but society wants change. And government is not going away.'

A close look at GE's campaign to harvest stimulus money shows Mr. Immelt to be its driving force"¦ Inside GE, he pushed his managers hard to devise plans for capturing government money.

By January, Mr. Immelt had become a leading corporate voice in favor of the $787 billion stimulus bill, supporting it in op-ed pieces and speeches. Reporters who called the Obama administration for information on renewable-energy provisions in the legislation were directed to GE.

When the stimulus package was rolled out, Mr. Immelt instructed executives leading the company's major business units "to put together swat teams to get stimulus money, and [identify] who to fire if they don't get the money," says a person who heard him issue the instructions.

In February, a few days after President Obama signed the stimulus plan, GE lawyers, lobbyists and executives crowded into a conference room at GE's Washington office to figure out how to parlay billions of dollars in spending provisions into GE contracts. Staffers from coal, renewable-energy, health-care and other business units broke into small groups to figure out "how to help companies" "” its customers, in particular "” "get those funds," according to one person who attended.

From Henry Payne, in an article on the auto industry:

The Left likes having Big Industry straw men to bash whenever their socialist plans run aground, but the fact is, Big Industry is embracing the U.S.'s leftward lurch. Better to secure your place at the Rentseekers Roundtable, to lock out new competition and guarantee a never-ending stream of government welfare.

  • dr kill

    Not to mention owning several MSM outlets that have been cheerleading for the new masters. I have made a decision to do no business with GE, same as turning off NPR and not buying or reading the NYT.

    Resistance is futile? Of course, but it just makes me feel better, that's why.

  • morganovich

    in other news today, foxes were protesting in front of the hen-house demanding "more chickens and few locked doors".

    said mr fox, "well, duh. what did you think i'd do if you put a big pile of food out".

  • DrTorch

    I thoroughly despise this corporatism that we're into. However, I don't think this can all be pinned on Obama. Maybe it's worse or more blatant now...but it was plenty bad before.

    We've been heading down this path for a long time. And it's been ugly the whole way.

  • hewler

    Makes me wonder if I should sell my GE stock.

  • Stan

    That reads like a page out of Atlas Shrugged.

  • me

    To be fair, we've had that kind of state since *long* before Obama. If you want a look at earlier instances of 'use the crisis du jour to get access to tasty tax dollars', look no further than the various wars (iraq, afghanistan, terror, drugs, ...).

    I feel the same disappointment, but looking at the source, it's more a consequence of expecting better of Obama specifically based on campaign promises.

    The scary thing is that I know well where all of this leads - seriously contemplating moving.

  • DrTorch

    Stan:
    That reads like a page out of Atlas Shrugged.

    I'm just about finished reading Atlas Shrugged. EVERYTHING right now seems straight out of that book.

    Has it been like this for the past 50 years?

  • Jess

    "we’ve had that kind of state since *long* before Obama"

    True. Some years ago a President warned against this in his final address...

  • Stan

    Heh, I haven't been alive for 50 years so I couldn't say. I think since the summer of 2008, and especially since TARP, Atlas Shrugged has been more relevant, even prophetic at times.

    Humans tend to see patterns, and Atlas I think opened our eyes to patterns many never noticed before. I think that is one of the most enduring aspects of Rand's writing.

  • perlhaqr

    In the immortal words of MC Rand: "Shrug, motherfucker!"

  • Tudorman

    That's what I call full contact rent-seeking.