Payne: General before King
Posted by hpayne on April 26, 2012
Wednesday morning, Democratic Party bigwigs called off UAW President Bob King and his union pit-bulls from protesting Obama corporate ally Jeffrey Immelt and his General Electric shareholders meeting held in Detroit’s Renaissance Center, the headquarters of Obama-bailed out General Motors.
Powerful Detroit Democratic leaders from Senator Debbie Stabenow to Rep. John Dingell reportedly pressured King to stand down for fear of besmirching Detroit’s already tarnished image. Recruited to Detroit by Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm before she left office in 2010, the GE shareholder’s meeting is part of a broad campaign to sell Detroit’s struggling business district to trade conventions, tech companies, and other business interests.
But a UAW president leading a 99 Percent protest against an Obama-approved green corporation inside Government Motors’ headquarters also promised an image disaster for Democrats.
GE and GM, after all, are glaring examples of the “One Percenters” that has benefited from Obama’s largesse, and the sight of King – also an Obama BFF ” tearing down these corporations in the name of the “working man” would have made for delicious Republican campaign commercials.
King had been planning the “99 Percent Spring” protest ” a merging of the Big Labor and Occupy movements – since February to dovetail with Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, and his decision to pull out looks very last minute. The UAW website still carries the banner headline: “Just taxes for all: Tell GE to pay their fair share.”
The article that follows is full of red meat.
“As the poster child for corporate tax-dodging, GE has made billions off the 99 percent while cutting jobs, stashing money in offshore tax haven accounts, and employing an army of lobbyists to buy political influence and stay ahead of its tax bill,” reads King’s screed.
In fact, GE is a poster child for Obama’s polices. Those “lobbyists” brought home billions in Obama stimulus money and green tax breaks. For example, GE’s $2 billion Shepherd Flats, Oregon wind turbine boondoggle is largely financed by taxpayers loans. And that tax bill? GE pays a 35 percent tax rate like every other American company ” a rate so much higher than other industrialized nations that it has driven earnings offshore to avoid U.S taxes. And Obama wants to punish corporate America with even higher taxes?
“While American families struggle to pay a higher tax rate than General Electric, the corporation lavishes millions on its top executives. In 2010 alone, the top five GE executives raked in $75.9 million. Over the last three years, GE executives collected $234 million,” continues King.
Remember, one of the executives King is attacking here is the chairman of the president’s own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness!
King himself is a walking son of government privilege as a key player in Obama’s $60 billion bailout of UAW-staffed GM. The so-called “UAW Bailout” has hardly endeared King to the 88 percent of Americans who are not in a union ” but the UAW’s money is key to underwriting Obama’s class war campaign this fall.
But some Obama toadies are more important than others. On this day, it was Mr. Immelt. He is a key Obama intermediary to a business community that has soured on the president. A UAW protest against GE would have been a black eye to Immelt. It would also be a “black-eye” to Detroit business, said Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis, a Democrat. Without King, the protest largely fizzled, with SEIU employees bused in from Wisconsin making up the majority of the 300-odd protestors. They briefly disrupted the GE meeting before being chased away from GM HQ to a nearby park. By noon, they were gone.
Obama One Percenters 1, Obama 99 Percenters, 0. Bob King’s 99 Percent Spring will live to fight another day.