OK, I'm calling it. As of today, January 21, President Barak Obama has officially "jumped the shark" in my eyes.
Well, he has called in GE CEO Jeff Immelt as a special advisor for - get this - job creation and strengthening the economy.
Is he serious? Really? G.E.?
G.E. is a company that has maniacally and systematically chiseled its way out of paying ANY taxes and has outsourced and offshored thousands and thousands of jobs over the last decade.
And by doing this, G.E. has returned huge profits up and into 2011 for its small number of shareholders (a small number compared to those impacted by job loss and $0 taxes coming in from the company) and paid out huge bonuses to its leaders.
But hey, lets give G.E. the benefit of the doubt. Profit maximization is what they do. Darth Vader is an evil dude. Ron Burgundy wants San Diego to "stay classy." Scotty from Star Trek was "giving it all he can." These are truths...as is G.E. doing whatever it needs to to "maximize shareholder value" - including laying off huge number of employees and dodging all tax burden. Our government has bent over backwards to make these things possible for them and other companies over the past 30 years.
No, the real question is...why isn't Obama pursuing a policy to reverse the laws, regulations (or lack of them) and incentives that make companies like G.E. thoroughly screw over the American public rather than inviting a proverbially huge, pissed off and horny rooster into the sanctity of the hen house?
Put it this way...would Elvis go vegetarian? Would White Spy befriend Black Spy? Would Superman bathe in kryptonite? (side note, my Mac automatically has "kryptonite" in its spell checker dictionary) Would Captain Kirk go out drinking with a pack of Klingons?
No. They would not.
I think Obama's decision really exposes two things bare for all to see:
1) How intertwined big business is with our government. They run it people. Even a guy like Obama wants to or needs to have them involved, even with their abysmal track record of wrecking the economy. To some degree this has always been true, but in days gone by big business added to the public political conversation rather than moving to the private club and excluding everyone from getting through the door and participating other than their exclusive members.
2) Obama is epically naive. He wants to play nice. He wants to bring in big business to work together to find solutions. But big business is not interested in the general welfare. It's interested in profit maximization. Immelt and his crew, and other big business, are only doing this to influence government so they can profit in some sector or another (probably in new sources of energy and perhaps healthcare). G.E. has a clear, consistent and very obvious track record of actively NOT caring about "all boats rising with the tide." You might say that their approach is, "we want our G.E. yachts to rise with the tide and everybody else...we hope you can swim."
So...just like Arthur Fonzereli out on the California coast in his leather jacket, swim shorts and water skies with a striped-shirted Richie Cunningham driving the ski boat up to the ramp to beat "the California Kid," Obama has jumped the shark and sent his reality program called the U.S. economy into a future of increasingly lame, increasingly sickening episodes that only end with a cheap imitation of past glories...ultimately to putter out and fail.
Thanks Mr. President.