GE got caught with its pants down. It over leveraged itself like much of Wall Street before the 2008 Crash and then begged Hank Paulson in Bush’s Treasury to save the company from its bad bets. Which Paulson did – or rather WE did. Now, fully indemnified and then some, GE is getting rid of its financial division. Exiting the scene free and clear. No problem. No pain. Everything’s fine. No Thank You to the taxpayers.
Hunter Lewis, the co-founder of Against Crony Capitalism dedicated an entire chapter of his book Crony Capitalism in America to GE and its shenanigans.
So in the fall of 2008, the US supposedly stood on the edge of an abyss, with a likely shutdown of the entire financial system, and a Depression from which we might never emerge. But this was actually just hyperbole, a way to scare President George W. Bush and members of Congress. No wonder the former said that “I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.” To say something so foolish in public in a television interview, he must have actually believed it.
Secretary Paulson is also alleged to have said, after receiving Immelt’s desperate call in September 2008, that he realized the crisis had now spread from Wall Street to Main Street. But he must have known that GE was, by that time, the very embodiment of Wall Street, despite being headquartered nearby in Connecticut. No doubt “helping Main Street” provided good cover for, among other things, saving Paulson’s