“President Obama,” writes The Atlantic’s Daniel Indiviglio, “is announcing today that General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt will take over as head of [the Economic Recovery Advisory Board].” Reflecting on the “conflict-of-interest” that Immelt’s new role potentially creates, Indiviglio points out that “[c]ritics of the coziness between big business and Washington aren’t likely to be pleased with today’s announcement.”
By now, though, Barack Obama’s fondness for turning high-powered corporate executives into federal government footmen is no secret. From Tim Geithner, to William Daley, to Roger Altman, the President has been very cozy with big business indeed, and not just big business, but the biggest. It is, to be sure, a very confused, twisted political lexicon that would adjudge the President as hostile to business, but that judgment is no more absurd than the myth that to be pro-business is to be pro-free market.
And regardless of the sound bites they direct at the public, politicians and CEOs understand full well that the myth is just that, a handy piece of rhetoric intended to obfuscate what’s really going on. As Immelt himself said in 2009, “It’s never been a free market; it’s never gonna be a free market. That’s just the way it is.” That’s just the way capital wants it too, preferring for the corporate world “to work in concert with” the state to foster a secure and sheltered environment for the economic exploitation of privilege.
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Regular Columnist, THL
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