O’Malley’s Hypocrisy on General Electric

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The spotlight from all the national attention of being the Democratic Party’s new golden boy must be getting to Governor Martin O’Malley. Earlier this month he set the standard for the “new low in political hypocrisy” by trashing his own budget to appease angry public sector unions unhappy with his modest pension reform proposal. O’Malley told the union protestors “I don’t like this budget either.” Which is odd because when he submitted the budget back in January O’Malley told legislators he was “pleased” to submit a budget that allegedly will “create jobs and grow our economy.” What a difference a union temper tantrum makes.

This past week O’Malley set a new, new low in political hypocrisy when he tweeted this gem criticizing rent seeker extraordinaire General Electric for paying no taxes: “This is hard to believe & even harder to accept–$14.2 billion in profit w/ zero corporate taxes?”

O’Malley’s incredulity would be laughable if it weren’t so insincere. In fact, O’Malley has pursued the very big government, corporatist policies, which grant GE competitive advantages and subsidies that it could not otherwise get in an open market. Appearing in the Fox News special “Freeloaders,” the Examiner’s Tim Carney told host John Stossel, “General Electric is structuring their business around where government is going … high-speed rail, solar, wind. GE is lining up to get what government is handing out.”

O’Malley claims his offshore wind mandate is crucial for Maryland to meet his renewable portfolio standard goal of producing 20 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2022. General Electric is an ardent supporter of state RPS mandates, and lobbies for a federal renewable energy standard. Speaking of wind power, it was GE that bought up Enron’s wind interests in the wake of the accounting scandal that brought down the energy giant. GE is heavily invested in wind projects ($5 billion) and lobbied heavily to extend the renewable energy tax grant program, part of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, which O’Malley ardently defends.

GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt—Obama’s Job Czar and member of his Economic Recovery Board— stated he wasn’t “tackling climate concerns because it’s moral or trendy or good for PR…the biggest driver for me is business potential…” Immelt and GE will find much business potential in the menu of climate taxes, regulations and mandates proposed by O’Malley’s climate change commission. Like Enron before it global warming legislation “would benefit many GE businesses.”

In 2009, Immelt told GE shareholders that government would be “an industry policy champion, a fancier and a key partner.” In other words the public end of the “public private partnerships” O’Malley loves to tout. According to Carney, at a U.S. Export-Import Bank conference last year, Immelt praised the idea of “government and business working as a pack,” which is a cruder explanation of O’Malley’s sanctimonious but equally corporatist vision of “One Maryland”.

Whether it’s costly mandates for renewable energy or cap and trade, O’Malley supports or has implemented the same policies GE uses to game the system and pass on higher costs to taxpayers and consumers.

GE sells us “Ecomagination,” O’Malley foists upon us O’Magination, both bring higher energy costs to life.

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