In the process, however, GE has become emblematic of crony capitalism with its deep and intricate ties to the Democrat Party and the Obama administration in particular.
At Daily Finance, Peter Cohan describes how GE's recently announced aviation deal in China endangers America's economic and national security interests.
How GE Is Arming China to Compete With Boeing -- and America
General Electric (GE) plans to sell its aircraft electronics to Chinese companies, and if you don't have a problem with that, maybe you should. After all, China just flight-tested a prototype stealth fighter, it continues to build up its military -- and we can only hope it's not planning to expand its territory in ways that threaten the U.S.
But if China does decide to get aggressive with the U.S., GE will have provided it with the aircraft technology it will be using.
According to The New York Times, GE is signing a deal to sell avionics technology -- electronics that control an aircraft's basic in-flight operations -- to Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (CACC), which aspires to build commercial and military aircraft. GE will do this through a joint venture with a Chinese company, Aviation Industry Corp. of China (Avic). Avic makes avionics for CACC and for China's military -- including its stealth fighter.
Cohan, a Babson College professor, believes "GE [is] betraying its customers and its country" because China represents a $400 billion market for its aircraft products by 2030.
Cohan believes that Crony Capitalists like GE's senior management are "making the decisions that will determine America's fate."
This is a discomfiting thought indeed -- and General Electric's shareholders need to make their voices heard before this deal is a fait accompli.
Infomercials for Socialized Medicine
This isn't the first time that GE has appeared to have a dramatic conflict with the best interests of the American people. Consider its actions related to socialized medicine -- better known as Obamacare -- and its advocacy efforts of same.
Remember that GE Capital -- another unit of General Electric -- received approximately $140 billion in taxpayer funds in 2008 as part of the initial financial bailout.
Which makes it curious that the Obama administration earmarked another six billion in GE funds (or are they taxpayer funds?) to a new GE firm called Healthymagination.
Healthymagination's advisers include Tom Daschle, Barack Obama's initial nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services.
At a recent conference, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt claimed that America's economic crisis was not simply an economic crisis. It was instead a "reset", where companies that intersect with government will "prosper... and people who don't understand that will get left behind."
Immelt, a member of Mr. Obama's economic recovery advisory board, went on to say that, "The intersection of government and business will be changed, maybe for a generation."
The business case behind Healthymagination hinged on nationalization of the health care industry. Computerization of health care records is not only a vaunted component of the Obama stimulus package, it is also a $75 to $100 billion business over the next ten years.
Coincidentally, Healthymagination just happens to be building a health care record management system.
Oh, and did I mention NBC? It was involved, too. In 2009 Health Imaging reported that the GE-owned media conglomerate -- something out of the movie Rollerball -- would also do its part.
• NBC Universal and NBC News would air more than 5,000 televised reports annually on health and wellness.
• MSNBC would launch a new, daily program dedicated solely to health information... in addition to medical issues it would also examine health policy.
The plan was simple: the media would broadcast pro-Obamacare propaganda; government would enact policy "by popular demand"; and the chosen corporation would profit at taxpayer expense.
As Andrew Wilkow observed, "Healthymagination states its target dates for the completion of its various initiatives as 2015, well into a second Obama term. This means GE will have a deep financial interest in Mr. Obama's re-election; a fact that will no doubt be reflected in its media divisions. It will certainly be interesting to see if the left-wing watchdogs howl, or if they will conclude this is an acceptable level of collusion between the White House and a multinational conglomerate."
The sale of NBC to Comcast may have thwarted those plans, but the plans themselves were downright disturbing.
It's up to shareholders to call GE CEO Jeff Immelt on the carpet
What GE appears to be engaging in is not capitalism: it is an unholy alliance of governmental and corporate interests that thwarts the national security and economic interests of the American people to benefit a chosen few senior executives and politicians.
GE's shareholders must rebel against these un-American -- and, frankly, anti-American -- activities. GE is a national institution -- but its recent activities smack of pure, unmitigated evil.