Jeffrey Immelt Tells Businesses to Hire Even as He Cuts Jobs at GE
July 12, 2011
RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, I know that after the next five or six minutes or so I will never, ever work or appear or have anything to do with anybody at NBC. Well, you know, they still own a portion of it, Comcast owns majority, but I think GE still owns some of NBC, right? I think they do. Well, their CEO of GE, Jeffrey Immelt, sits on Obama's private sector job creation council, and Immelt has come out with a jobs summit at the US Chamber of Commerce yesterday. And he said businesses need to take the lead on job creation, and, furthermore, Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric and now a minority owner of NBC says that businesses need to stop complaining about government. This is the guy who runs a company with five, what was it, billion dollars in profit and paid no federal income tax.
Now, I have an idea. Let Obama give every company in America the same tax breaks that he's given General Electric and let's see how many people they hire. If you tell every American business, "Hey, you know what, no taxes, earn whatever you want, wherever you want to earn it, no income taxes," you think they might start hiring people? So it's easy for Immelt to sit up there and tell businesses at a Chamber of Commerce jobs summit to stop complaining about government. He's got no complaints with government. Obama and Immelt, you know what they're like? They're like a couple of radical Islamic imams telling these business owners to go out and sacrifice themselves for the cause. They're bringing them into the room and they're saying, "Here's the cause, you guys go out, blow yourselves up, destroy your businesses and you with it, go out and hire people."
Do you think that if businesses could expand by hiring more employees, if that was the magic bullet, going out and hiring workers was the ticket to profits, if hiring new workers was the ticket to expansion, don't you think they would do it? No, they're not doing it because it's not the ticket to new profits by itself. That comes after expansion and growth. That's when you start hiring people, to keep up with the new demand. It's what's happening to us at TwoIfByTea.com. But I'm telling you, this is absurd. A guy running a company, five-billion-dollar profits paying no taxes tells everybody else at the Chamber of Commerce to stop complaining about business, government, and then says go out and start hiring people? Look, business owners are not gonna kill their businesses just so Obama's approval numbers will go up. And they're not gonna go out and kill their businesses just so Immelt looks like he knows what he's doing with Obama's commission.
Now, I happened to look something up. I'm holding what I looked up right here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers. I found it at CNNMoney.com. CNN Money publishes what it calls the Global 500. Counting down here in about two minutes I will probably never set foot inside an NBC property. We got Jeff Immelt, minority stakeholder, General Electric, Obama's private sector job commission Chamber of Commerce telling these businesspeople, "Stop complaining about the government. Go out and hire people." Pays no taxes, easy for him not to complain, right? "Go hire people. It's up to you, go out and get more workers on the payroll." Jeff Immelt, CEO, General Electric. CNN Money publishes what it calls the Global 500. It's a snapshot of the country's largest companies. One of the quick facts they note is the number of employees. I want to look, what's the hiring trend at General Electric?
In 2009, CNN Money ranked GE number 12 on the Global 500 with 323,000 employees. In 2010 they were ranked 13, dropped a point from number 12, and they had 304,000 employees. So Mr. Immelt got rid of 19,000 employees from 2009 to 2010. So I kept looking. In 2011 ranked 16. Employees, 287,000. So I didn't do the math here but at 2009 we're at 323, this year 287,000. Since 2009, GE has reduced its payroll by 36,000 employees. While paying no taxes on $5 billion of income, its CEO tells businesses at the US Chamber of Commerce to stop complaining about government and start hiring people while he is firing people.
RUSH: This is Richie. Richie, hello, sir. Great to have you on the program.
CALLER: Hello, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: Yeah, you bet.
CALLER: I think that you have presented some misleading information regarding GE's employment and tax situation. Now, regarding the employment situation, you just provided the raw numbers. But you have to take into account businesses that GE might have sold to other people during the period such as you said they got rid of NBC. So those NBC employees --
RUSH: No, no. They still have a minority stake --
CALLER: Okay, minority stake, okay, but not a majority stake. Not a majority stake.
RUSH: It doesn't matter. Nobody at NBC has been canned.
CALLER: -- which might have previously been recorded as GE employees --
RUSH: No, no. If you count it that way, they'd have fired a lot more than 36,000. I mean they got NBC Universal, they've got movie production, they got all kinds -- no, no, no. That's not how accounting works, Richie, I'm sorry, nice try but it doesn't work.
CALLER: Oh, well, it sounded like you were just reporting raw data and not data after accounting for dispositions and sales of businesses to other people. That's what it sounded like.
RUSH: What are some of the businesses that GE sold? I'm using numbers provided by CNNMoney.com and the total employees in the GE universe.
CALLER: But do you know if those figures include accounting for GE dispositions of businesses to other people, to other companies?
RUSH: I don't know that they don't, either.
CALLER: We don't know. Right. You don't know anything, you just reported the raw data.
RUSH: No, I didn't say I don't know anything. I know plenty. I know that there are between 36 and 50,000 fewer people working at General Electric now than there were in 2009.
RUSH: General Electric is the parent and whatever they own comes under the umbrella. Richie, give it up. What's the next attempt?
CALLER: Okay. Now, regarding GE's tax situation, it's not only legal but also ethical because in 2008 GE lost $32 billion. Now, when you make money, you pay tax. The IRS' way of refunding to you taxes when you lose money is that they allow you to take your loss in the year you lost money and carry it back three years and forward five years until GE --
RUSH: Look, I'm not suggesting that they did anything illegal. I never said that. I don't think that they would be that bold as to cheat on $5 billion of taxes. I'm just saying they didn't pay any income -- they didn't owe, however it happened. And the guy up there now that runs that company is telling everybody to stop complaining about government. I said, "Look, I'm a CEO, give me the same deal. I'll start hiring people, yeah, I'll have the same deal."
RUSH: We had a call from a nice guy in the Bronx, Richie, who wanted to take issue with some of my reporting, quote, unquote, about General Electric. I pointed out that General Electric CEO Immelt, Obama's private sector hiring commission is telling businesses to just start hiring people, stop complaining about government. GE has fired or laid off between 36 and 50,000 people since 2009. He said, "Well, you're not counting on the dispensations of jobs brought about by the sale of various entities." No, I am because it's all underneath the GE umbrella. So here the details on the no tax business, and he also said, "You're saying that they broke the law." No, I'm not saying they broke the law. I didn't say they're cheating anybody. I think the number's actually $3.2 billion that they didn't pay in taxes, just like corporate jet owners aren't cheating anybody, just like corporate jet owners don't need to be hit on.
At any rate, from no less than the New York Times, March 24th of this year: "General Electric, the nation's largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010. The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion," that's where I got confused. That's their US profit. Worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, $5.1 billion of it from the United States, zero taxes. No, I was right, it is 5.1. Here's where I got confused. GE claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. New York Times quite understanding here, by the way. I mean they want desperately to understand how this is possible. "That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies. Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore."
So, folks, it's even better than we thought! (laughing) Creative accounting, innovative accounting, aggressive lobbying. All those things. We're heretofore told we are supposed to despise, we're supposed to hate lobbyists, and we're supposed to love things like Sarbanes-Oxley. We're supposed to hate Enron type accounting, right? Gimmicks, we're supposed to stand up and give GE a standing O and put its CEO on the private sector hiring commission and then get stories in the New York Times, "Hey, there's nothing to see here. Move on. Nothing to see here." (laughing) I don't recall the last time the New York Times was unmoved by aggressive lobbying, fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting.
By the way, ladies and gentlemen, Obama has just announced -- I'm paraphrasing this now -- but he's just announced that he can't guarantee that Social Security checks will go out if the debt ceiling isn't raised on time. CBS News: "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it." It's in an interview with Scott Pelley, the new info guy, according to excerpts released by CBS News. Folks, that's just an utter lie. Social Security checks are not affected by the debt limit. The debt limit, we had all the details yesterday, the debt limit does not deal with entitlements.
Entitlements are not debts. Treasury bonds, T-bills, those are the kinds of debt we're talking about. Social Security isn't on the table. If there is a default, Social Security checks all the way out to the end of the year because it would take that long for the Social Security bunch to change their computers. This is all BS. He personally can't guarantee. That's why I tell you, they're the ones feeling the heat at the White House. The pressure is on them. They're the ones that are in the state of disarray. It's not the Republicans.
RUSH: Ralph in Buford, South Carolina, nice to have you on the program, Ralph. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
CALLER: Longtime listener, first-time caller.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I wanted to stay on point with Jeff Immelt, the CEO of GE, I don't know why he can get up there and no one takes him to task about he shuts plants in Rochester, New York. You know, the lightbulb plants?
CALLER: He moved them to China, okay? He's on Obama's committee --
CALLER: -- on how, you know, to save jobs and, you know, make America better.
RUSH: Private sector jobs, creating private sector jobs. Yeah, he's on that commission.
CALLER: Yeah, he's on this commission and no one takes him to task there. He sits there, I couldn't cares it up with the president about "shovel-ready," okay, which was absolutely pathetic. Not only from Immelt but from the president of the United States yucked it up about shovel-ready wasn't shovel-ready.
CALLER: So not only does he spend money on this thing, he doesn't create one job.
RUSH: I know. Well, we took him to task the first hour. I told a friend of mine in an e-mail note I'm surprised I'm actually still alive. We pointed this out -- profoundly, by the way -- in every which way possible, two or three different times. So he is being held account at least here.