headline in the New York Times this morning is hard to miss: "GE Turns the Tax Man Away Empty-Handed." That is, General Electric is now telling the government that even though GE made $5 billion in the US last year Uncle Sam owes the conglomerate $3 billion. That's right, GE says that the US owes it billions. You might think that a left-leaning federal government would be outraged about this corporate skullduggery, but here's a prediction. Barack Obama's Administration, including his IRS and Treasury Department, will do nothing about it. Oh sure, a few liberals in Congress will cluck about GE's abusive tax finagling, but Tim Geithner and all the other "inside jobbers" won't do a thing After all, they are all in on the big fix with favored US corporations such as GE, Goldman Sachs, and Google.
But of all the Fortune 500 GE CEO Jeff Immelt is the most wired in. He is, after all, the chairman of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and Immelt was Obama's seat-mate on the President's recent trip to Brazil. So who doubts that President Barack Obama will do his best to help out? After all, he's too busy bombing Libya to worry about American issues.
That's bad enough, in terms of public policy. But here's a question: How will this news be covered? How will those "fearless progressives" at MSNBC cover the GE story? You know, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, and self-described socialist Lawrence O'Donnell? Will they rip GE for using fancy tax lawyers to evade paying its fair share? And how about those business watchdogs at CNBC? (Anybody remember CNBC?)
The Cable Gamer guesses that we won't hear much from any of these folks--or at NBC, either. Why? One reason, of course, is that those network folks are liberals--and not only that, they are liberals of the Northwest DC/Upper East Side kind. Elitist. Only little people pay taxes.
But there's another reason. All the NBC/MSNBC/CNBC-ers still work, in a way, for Immelt and GE. Yes, Comcast bought out GE's majority stake in the company, but GE still owns 49 percent of NBC Universal.
So while it's possible to imagine that Steve Burke, the Comcast-ian who took over NBCU earlier this year, could decide to cover GE fairly--that is to say, point out the reality that GE is a tax evader--it's unlikely, as a practical matter, that he will do so. I mean, that's just not corporate cricket.
So there'll be a big silence, folks, over at NBCU land. Sure, they're all liberals, in the sense that they agree that gay rights and "going green" are vital, but those issues positions are matters of snobbery and elitism. (And, of course, business opportunity for GE, which had a major stake in the enactment of cap-and-trade.) What they do don't want to do is pay their taxes--any taxes. And that's true for our tax-cheat Treasury Secretary Geithner, too.
So we can see that GE, NBCU, and the Obama administration are basically the same mindset: rich elitist liberals, who stay rich in part because they don't pay taxes. That's a good gig for all of the above, but at least we Cable Gamers don't have to watch these limousine liberals put forth their no-news-here-about-GE hypocrisy on MSNBC and CNBC.
UPDATE: Gawker points out that Jon Stewart has his own take on GE and NBC.
Home » » General Electric makes big profits but doesn't pay taxes. So will MSNBC's fearless progressives--Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, et al.--cover this corporate outrage? And will CNBC scrutinize it? (Those are rhetorical questions.)