General Electric Makes Billions Off The Backs Of Taxpayers

Boy, this pisses me off. This is the company of Jeff Immelt, the head of Obama's jobs council, which is supposed to figure out how to foster job growth - in America. He's famous for closing plants, laying people off and cutting wages and

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Boy, this pisses me off. This is the company of Jeff Immelt, the head of Obama's jobs council, which is supposed to figure out how to foster job growth - in America. He's famous for closing plants, laying people off and cutting wages and benefits -- and then moving operations to other countries:

General Electric Co. (GE) is refinancing $5 billion of debt even as it expects to generate $100 billion of cash in the next four years, showing confidence in its ability to invest at returns four times its borrowing costs. The biggest maker of power-generation equipment sold $7 billion of bonds yesterday at an average 2.58 percent yield in the parent company’s first issue in almost five years. That compares with a 12 percent return that Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said last week the Fairfield, Connecticut-based firm generates on its capital.

The offering allows the company to use the cash it brings in for stock buybacks, dividends and acquisitions. While Immelt seeks to pare debt at GE’s finance arm, the offering may boost bonds of the parent by 22 percent to $11 billion next year.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Jody Lurie, a corporate credit analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, said in a telephone interview. “It costs nothing to issue, so why would they use cash on hand” to pay off maturing obligations?

GE borrows at lower rates than the average for U.S. investment-grade issuers, whose bond yields dropped to an unprecedented 2.85 percent yesterday, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. That compares with 2.62 percent for GE, which includes yields on obligations of its finance arm GE Capital.

See if you can guess how that happened!

General Electric, the world's largest industrial company, has quietly become the biggest beneficiary of one of the government's key rescue programs for banks.

At the same time, GE has avoided many of the restrictions facing other financial giants getting help from the government.

The company did not initially qualify for the program, under which the government sought to unfreeze credit markets by guaranteeing debt sold by banking firms. But regulators soon loosened the eligibility requirements, in part because of behind-the-scenes appeals from GE.

As a result, GE has joined major banks collectively saving billions of dollars by raising money for their operations at lower interest rates. Public records show that GE Capital, the company's massive financing arm, has issued nearly a quarter of the $340 billion in debt backed by the program, which is known as the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, or TLGP. The government's actions have been "powerful and helpful" to the company, GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt acknowledged in December.

GE's finance arm is not classified as a bank. Rather, it worked its way into the rescue program by owning two relatively small Utah banking institutions, illustrating how the loopholes in the U.S. regulatory system are manifest in the government's historic intervention in the financial crisis.

Jeff Immelt is also one of the people pushing for the Grand Bargain. Isn't that nice that someone so compassionate is looking out for us?

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