White House defends embrace of G.E. CEO despite report company didn't owe taxes in 2010
In January, President Obama named General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, an economic advisory board focused on job creation. In his State of the Union address that same month, meanwhile, he called for the closure of corporate tax loopholes in conjunction with a lowering of the corporate tax rate, which stands at 35 percent. "Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries," he said. "Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense. It has to change." Mr. Obama's choice of Immelt came under scrutiny Friday in the wake of a front-page story in the New York Times reporting that despite $14.2 billion in worldwide profits - including more than $5 billion from U.S. operations - GE did not owe taxes in 2010. In fact, the story said, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.