In a recent video, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is not bullish on President Obama’s new job-creation advisor, General Electric (GE) CEO Jeffrey Immelt.
While the remarks were recorded one month prior to Immelt’s White House appointment, Sen. Sanders’ speech underscores the concerns of many regarding Immelt’s track record for killing U.S. jobs – rather than creating them.
On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Sanders reads a quote from Immelt taken during a GE investor meeting in 2002, several years before the corporation received a $16 billion bailout from U.S. taxpayers. “When I am talking to GE managers,” Immelt is quoted as saying, “I talk China, China, China, China, China 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. You can take an 18-cubic-foot refrigerator, make it in China, land it in the United States, and land it for less than we can make an 18-cubic-foot refrigerator today ourselves.”
After recounting the remarks, Sen. Sanders reacts in saying, “When GE had some difficult economic times, and they needed $16 billion to bail them out, I did not hear Mr. Immelt going to China, China, China, China, China. I did not hear that. I heard Mr. Immelt going to the taxpayers of the United States for his welfare check.”
Over the past several years, Immelt has eliminated thousands of American jobs by closing GE plants in the U.S. and shifting production to China. Just last month, the CEO inked multi-billion dollar deals for 50 GE power plants in China, as well as a joint venture that will place GE’s most sophisticated cockpit avionics in the hands of a country that is poised to compete directly with U.S. aerospace manufacturers.