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Shareholder asks GE to give back taxpayer profits

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

When does a free-marketeer condemn corporate profits? When the profits come from the taxpayer.

At yesterday’s GE shareholder conference, free-market activist Tom Borelli stood up and, in the context of GE’s involvement in the Fix The Debt campaign, pointed out GE’s tendency to seek and receive federal subsidies. “I think it represents a real reputational risk for the company to lobby for big government,” Borelli said, asking GE to give back $100 million in subsidies.

Immelt thanked Borelli for his comments, and moved on.

Highlights of the transcript, via Seeking Alpha.

The problem we have here though, Mr. Immelt, is that your actions as CEO undermines the reduction of our debt, as you know you lobbied – General Electric lobbied for Obama’s $787 billion stimulus, which added almost a trillion to our debt. And then making matters worse, our profitable company took a $100 million in grants from taxpayers. 1 grant was for $30 million and we ended up hiring five or six people. That just doesn’t make any sense and I think it represents a real reputational risk for the company to lobby for big government and favor for cutting the deficit and then on the back end, a profitable company that last year made $16 billion ended up taking grant money from taxpayers. I mean, that’s outrageous, but we have a solution.

We think it’s in the company’s best interest and your best interest to return the $100 million back to the taxpayers. We think that’s a noble initiative. You’re making plenty of money, you really don’t need the $100 million will make a great statement for General Electric’s leadership and to make sure you understand that (inaudible) business, today we launched a website GE, Give It Back, and we have an online petition that’s been directed to the Board of Directors encouraging them to return the taxpayer money back to we, the people….

I’d like your reaction to our request that you return our money back to the people.

Jeffrey R. Immelt

Dr. Borelli I always listen to what you have to say. So I appreciate your comments at this year’s meeting. Thank you.

Tom Borelli – FreedomWorks

(Question Inaudible)

Jeffrey R. Immelt

I always listen to what you say.

Tom Borelli – FreedomWorks

(Question Inaudible)

Jeffrey R. Immelt

Let’s go to microphone, Kevin let’s go to microphone number two.

Tom Borelli – FreedomWorks

Answer the question please?

Jeffrey R. Immelt

Again Dr. Borelli, I always appreciate to having you here at the meeting.

Tom Borelli – FreedomWorks

(Question Inaudible)

Jeffrey R. Immelt

Okay, Kevin. Good morning.

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