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Even GE CEO Gets the Costs of Overregulation

By: Carl | July 1, 2010, 2:59 pm

According to an article I can’t link to in the Financial Times because I’m not a subscriber, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt said, among other things, the following:

“We are a pathetic exporter…We have to become an industrial powerhouse again but you don’t do this when government and entrepreneurs are not in synch.”

GE itself, as one of the country’s foremost rent seekers at the Global Warming subsidy trough, immediately disclaimed any and all association to Immelt’s remarks. But it gives you an idea of what these companies that want to profit at our expense through government intervention and regulation really know versus what they’re willing to say for a seat at the table.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal that I can link to but you probably can’t unless you’re a subscriber (and you should be):

Turning to the administration of President Barack Obama, Mr. Immelt expressed concern that new regulation would hinder a “tepid” U.S. economic recovery and complained about a “terrible” national mood, according to the FT.

So, according to the CEO of one of the largest manufacturing and service (think NBC) corporations in America, heavy regulation and government interference is hurting our ability to grow and expand overseas. And yet, you’ll find no bigger cheerleader (except BP until recently) for cap and trade. And you’ll find few larger contributors to the campaigns of cap and trade sponsors in D.C.

I’d like to go on and say something snide about GE but to be honest I can’t blame them. They’re reacting to incentives, and the incentives when government picks winners and losers is to pay enough to those who do the picking to make sure you’re a winner.

It’s not rocket science. Campaign finance reform and lobbying reform and any other attempts to take money out of the system is useless if it doesn’t address the root cause: If the government has the power to rob Peter to pay Paul, then both Peter and Paul have an incentive to bring money to the table…and they’ll always find a way. Remove government’s ability to pick winners and losers and neither of them will need to hire lobbyists or finance campaigns.

They’ll also be able to put those billions of dollars to productive use that will make them more competitive and provide better products and lower costs. Gee, what a concept.

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