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Friday
Jan212011

Obama names fox to head advisory panel on hen house security.

From Bloomberg today:

President Barack Obama will name Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric Co.'s chief executive officer, to head his outside panel of economic advisers, replacing former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

Immelt wrote in an op-ed today in the Washington Post that Obama asked him to take the helm of the newly renamed President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The group will reach out to labor and business leaders to serve "as a catalyst for action," he wrote.

Immelt, 54, is an original member of the panel, which was formed as the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board in February 2009. GE's CEO since 2001, he heads the world's biggest maker of jet engines, medical-imaging equipment and power-plant turbines and gives the White House a corporate heavyweight to help burnish Obama's pro-business credentials.

Multinational corporations, GE foremost among them, have led the globalization movement that has caused US middle class incomes to stagnate and a rapid decline in the percentage of American adults who are working. Immelt has said that US wage levels must continue to decline in order for US manufacturing to be "competitive" with imports.

In Obama Administration happy talk about middle class incomes is not supported by any strategy or plan I said this:

The clear implication [of a then recent Larry Summers speech] is that it is Obama Administration policy to bring middle-class income growth rates up to, or at least nearer to, the growth rates enjoyed by the top few percent. (That they have been lagging since about 1973 is documented here and here.)  Another clear implication is that exporting more and reducing imports of consumer goods is the route to this goal. I suggest the Administration has no plan to achieve either of these goals and that mushy thinking and immense political obstacles stand in the way.

At present, MNCs are the predators, and strictly domestic businesses and labor are the prey.  Making one of the chief beneficiaries of the status quo his chief advisor on such matters pretty well guarantees there will be no important relevant policy changes in this Administration, doesn't it?

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