BY VERONIQUE DE RUGY at Investors Business Daily
Merriam-Webster's definition of a bully is: "a blustering browbeating person; especially one habitually cruel to others who are weaker."
Sound familiar, Congress? That's because this is what General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt has been doing to you for months, first by threatening to leave the country and withhold contributions and now by threatening to move jobs overseas as retaliation for the end of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
In June, a revolt against the unhealthy marriage between the government and large corporations put the mother of all crony programs, the Ex-Im Bank, in liquidation. Being the second-largest beneficiary of the bank's largesse and one of the 10 mega-corporations collecting 64% of its overall activities, GE is upset. It wasted millions of dollars in lobbying, yet Congress still cut off its access to cheap loans.
A recent GE press release notes, "With no U.S. export financing available, GE has pursued non-U.S. options to meet customer requirements." The result, we are told, will be "500 GE jobs moving outside the U.S." Of those, 400 could move to France.
Don't be fooled. The idea that there is no export financing without Ex-Im is ludicrous. Over 98% of U.S. exports take place without any help from Ex-Im — proving that export financing is readily available. That's true for GE, too.
There is no reason that GE cannot continue to finance its customers as it has done for years.
Also, the jobs that GE claims could go to France because Ex-Im expired never existed in the first place. According to reports, those 400 jobs would be created by GE in France if GE's bids were to beat out the competition and if the French export credit agency were to subsidize the deals.
Better yet, it is quite obvious that the French jobs have nothing to do with the demise of Ex-Im. As Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner reports, GE had already promised the French government that it would create 1,000 jobs there in exchange for approving a merger with French power giant Alstom. In other words, blaming Ex-Im for the possible job creation in France is disingenuous.