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Sanders: I hope Immelt changes his mind, focuses on rebuilding manufacturing in the US

As I noted earlier, President Obama just named Jeff “Nut on China” Immelt  to head his election season effort to appear serious about jobs in the US.

I asked for a statement from Senator Bernie Sanders–who has been critical of the way Immelt and GE received welfare in the Fed bailout–about what he thought of the appointment. He seems as skeptical as I am. Here’s what he said at an event in Vermont:

“I hope he changes his mind and focuses on rebuilding the manufacturing sector here in the United States, not in China, and in the process creates millions of good-paying jobs,” Sanders said during a visit to this once-thriving industrial community in Vermont’s Connecticut River Valley.

“For the sake of our manufacturing sector and the collapsing middle class, let’s hope that Mr. Immelt’s appointment by President Obama indicates a transformation in his thinking,” Sanders added. “It is time for GE and other large and profitable corporations to start investing in America again.”

Noted “Nut on China,” Jeff Immelt, Uses $16B Bailout to Share Technology with China

Remember this? Remember when Bernie Sanders used a chunk of his FiliBernie to note that GE CEO Jeff Immelt, whose company benefited from $16 billion in welfare from the federal government, was a big fan of outsourcing to China?

Gee! When GE had, a couple of years ago, some really difficult economic times, they needed $16 billion to bail them out, I didn’t hear Mr. Immelt going to China, China, China, China, China. I didn’t hear that. I heard Mr. Immelt going to the taxpayers of the United States for his welfare check. So I say to Mr. Immelt, and I say to all these CEOs that have been so quick to run to China, that maybe it’s time to start reinvesting in the United States of the America.

Well, that “Nut on China,” Immelt, will take the opportunity of Hu Jintao’s visit to the US this week to sign a deal that will share GE’s jet technology with a Chinese partner hoping to compete with Boeing and Airbus.

G.E., in the partnership with a state-owned Chinese company, will be sharing its most sophisticated airplane electronics, including some of the same technology used in Boeing’s new state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner.

For G.E., the pact is a chance to build upon an already well-established business in China, where the company has booming sales of jet engines, mainly to Chinese airlines that are now buying Boeing and Airbus planes. But doing business in China often requires Western multinationals like G.E. to share technology and trade secrets that might eventually enable Chinese companies to beat them at their own game — by making the same products cheaper, if not better.

The other risk is that Western technologies could help China in its quest to play catch-up in military aviation — a concern underscored last week when the Chinese military demonstrated a prototype of its version of the Pentagon’s stealth fighter, even though the plane could be a decade away from production.

The first customer for the G.E. joint venture will be the Chinese company building a new airliner, the C919, that is meant to be China’s first entry in competition with Boeing and Airbus.

Now, I’m not surprised about this–this is what all companies hoping to do business in China do. In fact, GM is surely sharing technology with its Chinese partner at the same rates it was before it got an even bigger bailout from the federal government.

This is just the next phase of it, the next higher level of technology we give away to China, soon to be followed by our jobs.

You’d think we could have gotten more in exchange for that $16 billion we gave GE.

Bernie Sanders Quotes Jeff Immelt: “I am a Nut on China”

This was, IMO, the highlight of Bernie Sanders’ non-filibuster on Friday:

GE is of course one of our major corporations, and in fact this recent disclosure pointed out the taxpayers of this country, through the Fed, provided $16 billion in bailout to General Electric during the recent crisis. This is what the head, CEO, of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, said in 2002, December 6. Quote, Jeff Immelt, head of CEO [sic].

“When I am talking to GE managers, I talk China, China, China, China, China. [Five Chinas] You need to be there. You need to change the way people talk about it and how they get there. I am a nut on China. Outsourcing from China is going to grow to 5 billion. We are building a tech center in China. Every discussion today has to center on China. The cost basis is extremely attractive. You can take an 18 cubic foot refrigerator, make it in China, land it in the United States, and land it for less than we can make an 18 cubic foot refrigerator ourselves.”

End of quote. Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman, CEO of General Electric, quoted in an investor meeting, on December 6, 2002.

Gee! When GE had, a couple of years ago, some really difficult economic times, they needed $16 billion to bail them out, I didn’t hear Mr. Immelt going to China, China, China, China, China. I didn’t hear that. I heard Mr. Immelt going to the taxpayers of the United States for his welfare check. So I say to Mr. Immelt, and I say to all these CEOs that have been so quick to run to China, that maybe it’s time to start reinvesting in the United States of the America.

No word yet whether Jeff Immelt will be among the CEOs Obama hosts at the White House tomorrow. Though the companies of the CEOs who have been publicly invited–Google, Cisco, IBM, AmEx, Dow, and Pepsi–have been all pushing into China.

On Sunday, Masaccio described this entire CEO summit as just Obama’s effort to outsource the effort the government should, instead, be leading: job creation. I guess Obama has gone to the experts on that front!