I understand this intellectually. I understand it strategically. But emotionally, it's not playing well in the least. President Obama plans to appoint GE chief Jeffrey Immelt to head a new White House panel on job growth.
President Barack Obama will announce Friday that Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric Co., will head a new White House board aimed at finding ways to foster private-sector job growth.
The board will replace an existing panel called the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.
The name of the new panel stresses competitiveness and job creation, which are expected to be themes of Mr. Obama's State of the Union Address next week. It will be called the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
Mr. Immelt also served on the previous panel. Mr. Volcker will not join the new council.
Putting a prominent chief executive atop a panel is the latest gesture by the White House toward strengthening ties to business.
So I put my logic and thinking cap on for a minute, and I think to myself, "well, it neutralizes Immelt's past role as Obama administration slanderer, right? It would be pretty difficult to be the head of this panel and head off to pal around with his buddies and badmouth President Obama like he did last time, right?"
And of course, jobs are the big issue for this year. Jobs, jobs, jobs. We need them yesterday. So I suppose having a corporate CEO with all those other corporate contacts is a good way to start pushing growth.
All fine and well, as long as I keep my heart out of it.
What bothers me, though, when I step out of the analytical and into my gut is this: Immelt might be able to create jobs, but it will be on Big Biz terms with little to no worker protection. The jobs will be filled because people are desperate for them, and we will all serve the bottom line, because that is what employees of public corporations serve -- one bottom line to rule them all. These are not places with heart or a care for their employees, because they cannot be. They must be always mindful of and servant to the profit margin for the quarter.
Fine. That doesn't mean they still shouldn't have a seat at the table. But where I get completely lost is here: Who is sitting at the table and speaking for us?