WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2015 – Wall Street apparently decided to open Q4 2015 with another bout of selling Thursday. After a bullish opening fusillade of wasted buying power, the bears have come back in to gang tackle the few remaining bulls, taking all major averages down over half a percent as of approximately 11:15 a.m. EDT.
Not helping matters are unpleasant unemployment numbers—what a surprise—led undoubtedly by Hewlett-Packard’s latest bloodletting, plus news overhanging from yesterday concerning poor, hapless GE’s need to ship more American jobs abroad because… well, because of those nasty, nasty Republicans in Congress, that’s why.
Tuesday and Wednesday, the media widely reported that GE, a badly fallen former American blue-chip company, tearfully claimed it was being forced to ship some 350 Wisconsin-based jobs to Canada because the evil, mean-spirited Republican-led Congress was on the verge of terminating big corporate America’s favorite petty cash pool, the Export-Import Bank.
When reading this news in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, the Maven immediately knew this story was bunk at best and propaganda crap at worst, with the strongest likelihood in favor of the latter choice.
GE’s disastrous CEO-for-Life, Jeff Immelt, has been buddy-buddy with President Obama since forever. He’s another one of those big business CEOs who habitually denounces Republicans while shoveling corporate support and obsequiousness to Democrats to keep those crony capitalist U.S. taxpayer dollars flowing their way, the better to squeeze out competition, increase corporate profitability and export American jobs by the boatload.
In this case, it’s clear GE intended to pink-slip those Wisconsin employees a long time ago. That’s because the jobs are being shipped to a new Canadian factory GE’s been building on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes—a plan that has to have been decided on and put in motion well in advance of those feeble Republican attempts to put an end to one of the more egregious examples of corporate welfare for the rich.
Blaming this shift on the Republican Congressional desire to terminate the Ex-Im Bank—effectively Big Business’ taxpayer-subsidized petty cash drawer—is quite simply a politically motivated lie to further two of Immelt’s personal and corporate ends: first, to provide a cover story for what’s only the latest in GE’s long term effort to offshore what were once good, reasonably well-paying jobs to avoid taxes and increase his own bonus check; and second, to stick it to the currently thrashing House Republicans while keeping his political buddy, Barack Obama, at a public distance from this administration’s own job-crushing socialist agenda.
Need proof? Try this snippet by Chuck Ross, posted in Wednesday’s online Daily Caller:
Scott Allen, who represents the 97th Assembly district, issued a statement on Monday following GE’s announcement that it is cutting 350 jobs from its Power & Water plant in Waukesha. The jobs will be shipped to Canada, where the company will build a $265 million plant within the next 20 months.
In an official statement, the company tied its decision to Congress’ refusal to re-authorize Ex-Im, the U.S.’s taxpayer-funded export credit agency. The GOP-controlled House of Representatives has declined to take up a vote on re-authorizing Ex-Im’s charter, which expired July 1.
“We believe in American manufacturing, but our customers in many cases require Export Credit Agencies financing for us to bid on projects. Without it, we cannot compete, and our customers may be forced to select other providers,” GE vice chairman John Rice said in a statement announcing closure of the Waukesha plant.
Ah, but here’s the good part:
Allen, who is in his first term in the state assembly, issued a press release casting doubt on GE’s rationale. In the statement, he indicated that a GE corporate spokesman wanted him to pin blame for the plant closure on Congress. But according to Allen, the flack later said that the decision to move the Waukesha jobs to Canada had already been in the works.
“[GE corporate spokesman Patrick] Theisen was eager to connect me with his public relations department to help me gin up a press release blaming Congress and demanding they act,” Allen stated.
“In the same conversation, practically in the same breath, he told me that the decision on the Waukesha plant was made some time ago and that it was irreversible. I have played a few games of chess and I am familiar with the role of the pawn,” Allen said, adding later in the statement that he will consider personally boycotting GE products and divesting his stock portfolio of GE shares.
In other words, Ex-Im Bank renewal or not, GE is shipping American jobs to Canada, just as we noted earlier without even having this info at hand.
What makes this particular political charade even more galling is the fact that Immelt once chaired President Obama’s do-nothing President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, tasked with, well, boosting American jobs and competitiveness. As Sarah Palin famously asked, “How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for ya?”
Immelt’s Potemkin President’s Council did absolutely nothing, as it was designed to do, quietly fading from memory once the media had touted it to create the impression Obama was actually doing something about the nation’s continuing high unemployment. More grimly hilarious: even as Immelt ostensibly headed up this bogus council, he continued to ship U.S. jobs abroad. What a joke.
On another front, while Immelt throws bombs at American workers and supposedly heartless Republicans, Vladimir Putin is throwing bombs at CIA-supported anti-ISIS forces in Syria while someone, somehow is running a rather spectacular and rather under-reported bombing campaign in China.
Vlad, of course, has been having nothing but fun since Obama’s second term telegraphed to this latter day would-be Peter the Great (or Ivan the Terrible) that he’d have free rein to re-establish Soviet Era hegemony over the areas the former U.S.S.R. had either owned or influenced before.
Putin knows there are zero consequences for anyone who flips the bird at Barack Obama (except for Republicans and people who believe in God), so he’s flipping away, further destabilizing yet another region of the world while courting the Iranians that Obama is so eager to placate. Sure, the Russian economy is imploding. But Putin cares about as much for his own people as Obama does for his, so what the heck?
Meanwhile, in China, it’s clear that a particularly violent and allegedly mysterious mass bombing campaign has been underway for some time, with new blasts going off in another pair of restive Chinese cities. The Chi-com government may know who’s doing this. If they do, however, they’re not letting us know.
Here’s a graphic tweet describing the ongoing horror:
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) September 30, 2015
But on top of China’s sudden economic implosion, this ongoing Chinese violence, like Russia’s ham-fisted move to support its longtime Middle Eastern ally Assad in Syria, simply adds to the sense of hopelessness and frustration that in turn negatively affects our uncertain stock and bond markets.
The world is really beginning to look like it’s spinning out of control. Is it any wonder that America’s current Blusterer-in-Chief continues to prosper in the Republican presidential polling despite a concerted effort on the part of the establishment to knock him out? Americans—at least quite a lot of them—have been driven to the point where someone like Trump, who puts on a great, pro-American show (and likely means it) has gained support over the elite cadre of wimps who’ve been driving our once-great country into the ground.
Against this backdrop, no one knows where this asinine stock market will actually close, although it certainly looks wobbly right now. Tech and biotech are tanking again after Wednesday’s respite, with Apple (symbol: AAPL) leading the way, off nearly 2.5 percent at the moment.
If the market is confused, so are we and so is everyone else except for the fat cats who’ve gone short and are scaring the bejeezus out of everyone else so they’ll sell, sell, sell and make those shorts even more profitable. Add to that the obviously QE-inflated average stock prices as well, and you begin to see why 2015 has become the Year of Our Discontent.