The 99% Demand that GE Pay Its Fair Share

I spent the morning in Detroit watching the Joe Louis fist–one of Detroit’s iconic symbols–be swallowed up by a crowd of people demanding that GE–which was holding its shareholders meeting in the Renaissance Center nearby–pay its fair share in taxes (to say nothing of keeping jobs in the US).

Seeing crowds of people, swarm that fist, pointed right towards where Jeff Immelt was speaking, was a pretty awesome way to spend the morning.

Inside the event, some of the 99% were making the same demand.  Then, Jeff “China China China” Immelt apparently rushed through his legal obligation to at least pretend that shareholders own GE (he finished one hour in exactly).

As we walked around Detroit’s Renaissance Center, a few people came to the balcony to look on.

I think the Powers that Be had originally thought it’d be smart to hide us out back. For some reason, they had us leave the hidden back area and move right up front.

The sign reads: To hell with greed. –God

I’ll update later if my video is any good and when Dave Johnson–who managed to stay through the whole whopping 60 minute (exactly) meeting posts his story.


9 replies
  1. spanishinquisition says:

    But what is good for GE is good for America. That’s why Obama gave Immelt the Economic Advisory post former belonging to Paul Volker and that’s why Obama wants to cut corporate taxes.

  2. MadDog says:

    Well at least one of the news services decided this was worth some coverage, though I can’t say that they provided sufficient analysis. “Equivalence” instead was the order of the day – Via Reuters:

    GE annual meeting interrupted by 99 Percent protesters

    “Nearly 100 protesters affiliated with the “99 Percent” populist movement disrupted General Electric Co’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday in an attack on the largest U.S. conglomerate’s low tax rate.

    The demonstrators, who began chanting “Pay Your Fair Share” when the meeting began, were quickly ushered out of the meeting — held in the Detroit building that houses General Motors Co’s headquarters — but could still be heard chanting protests as the meeting got underway.

    After their exit, Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin stepped up to defend GE’s tax practices, and noted that the company’s low tax rates in 2008 and 2009 were the result of heavy losses at GE Capital…


    …GE disclosed in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that its overall tax rate — on both foreign and U.S. earnings — was 7 percent in 2010 and negative 12 percent in 2009. It has not provided details about its U.S.-specific tax rates for prior years.

    Chief Executive Jeff Immelt reiterated to reporters the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company’s position that it supports tax reform, including a phasing out of corporate tax deductions, a lowering of the 35 percent statutory rate and Washington agreeing not to tax profits made overseas — a key concern for a company that generates about half its revenue outside U.S. borders.

    “We are in favor of tax reform,” Immelt said. “Our tax rate in 2011 was 29 percent, just as we said it was going to be…”

    Shorter Immelt: “We’d be happy to pay taxes if you didn’t tax us.”

  3. Gitcheegumee says:


    What’s good for GE is good for America..hmmm..wonder what the Japanese would have to say about that?

    Fukushima: Mark 1 Nuclear Reactor Design Caused GE Scientist To … › Investigative Unit

    Mar 15, 2011 – Thirty-five years ago, Dale G. Bridenbaugh and two of his colleagues at General Electric resigned from their jobs after becoming increasingly …

    Open Channel – General Electric-designed reactors in Fukushima ……/6256121-general-electric-designed…
    Mar 13, 2011 – The General Electric-designed nuclear reactors involved in the Japanese emergency are very similar to 23 reactors in use in the United States, …

  4. jerryy says:

    You have a bit of a tantalizingly unfinished phrase:

    (he finished one hour in exactly).

    Or it could be that you meant ‘he finished in exactly one hour’.

  5. joanneleon says:

    Awesome. Thanks for the first person account — they the best kind. And thanks for taking the time to go and represent the people who strongly would have liked to have been there but could not go.

    I really hope these shareholder meeting protests continue through the next few quarters at least. It’s been really hard to watch these banks and other corps sail along with no protest at all while they ruin the country. Same goes for their partners, the politicians.

    I’ve been thinking that it might be worth holding onto some BofA shares just for that purpose.

    You know, a president really interested in positive change for the people, really working in the best interests of the people, could be seizing on things like this. The opportunities are unlimited to bring about real change, if said president was really interested in such things.

  6. Gitcheegumee says:

    I have often sung the praises of a wonderful site called Inner City Press. They have followed the financial shenanigans of the MOTU for years now.

    There is a GE Watch at their site,and here’s a bit of history(hindsight is 20/20)-with a few updates.

    Updated April 2, 2012

    Inner City Press / Community on the Move and the Fair Finance Watch have become increasingly concerned with the lack of consumer protections at GE Capital, and at the lack of human rights, social and environmental standards at General Electric (GE). GE Capital is increasingly entering the field of subprime (ICP contends, predatory) lending, at higher-than-normal interest rates in ways that are far from transparent to consumers, and without sufficient consumer protection safeguards in place. On April 25, 2003, ICP / FFW filed with the Office of Thrift Supervision a 10-page protest to GE Capital’s application to acquire Conseco’s Mill Creek Bank’s business, which includes not only private label credit cards but also home improvement lending. See also, “First International Bank of GE: Facing Up to Reputational Risk,” by John Engen, Institutional Investor, November 2004; “GE Plans to Move Into a Risky Area: World of Unsecured Personal Loans,” Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2003, Pg. A3. ICP’s protest, which requests a public hearing and is summarized below on this page, focuses on Community Reinvestment Act issues. GE’s Ohio-based savings bank, GE Capital Consumer Card Co. (“GECCCC”) has sought to limit its CRA responsibilities by claiming it only makes credit card loans, and is therefore a “limited purpose institutions” for CRA purposes. But now it seeks to acquire and engage in real estate-secured home improvement lending; it must, ICP contends, substantially modify and expand its CRA program. Also, GE Capital is entering various fields of consumer finance, including direct mailing offers of high rate consumer loans.

    Outside of the U.S., GE is a major player in subprime finance. On June 16, 2003, ICP filed opposition in Germany to GE Capital’s proposal to acquire Allgemeine Privatkundenbank (“Allbank”) from Bankgesellschaft Berlin. ICP will continue raising, documenting and seeking action on all of these finance issues, as well as GE’s wider impact on communities and also the environment. This ICP GE Watch report will be updated — stay tuned. Until next time, for or with more information, contact us.

    Update of April 2, 2012: The acquisition of MetLife’s deposits by General Electric, has proceeded stealthly with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency belatedly stating that it plays no role in the review since GE is using a Utah-based “non-bank bank.” These loopholes, like GE, played a role in the subprime meltdown.

    Update of January 23, 2012: General Electric, which engaged in predatory lending through WMC, is now reportedly under investigation — just as it proposes to acquire $7.5 billion in deposits from Met Life

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