Goodbye to Waukesha

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>> John Schubert wipes a crankcase to a natural gas-fueled engine at GE Energy Waukesha. Credit: Mark Hoffman

350 jobs, and many more illusions, lost as GE plant closes … and here’s why no power on Earth could stop it.

By Tim Mahoney

Like a tsunami, the power of corporate economics is beyond human control.

Four-flushers like Donald Trump, and collaborators like Hillary Clinton, pretend otherwise. They lie and con and grift their way to power.

So it’s been in the news lately that 350 people are losing their well-paid jobs at GE in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Their unions were powerless to stop the GE Waukesha Engine plant from moving to Canada.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, in whose district many GE workers live, couldn’t stop them either.

Candidate Donald Trump threatened to punish companies that offshored US jobs with a 35% tax.

That’s just another politician’s lie.

“I would like nothing more than to see Donald Trump come into that plant … and say, ‘This is ground zero for job creation. Let’s fill my campaign promise of keeping jobs here,'” said Scott Schmidt, a 44-year-old who thought he’d be at the GE factory until he retired.

Joe Acker is losing his job at the same plant. “Everybody’s always trying to (ask), how can we make it cheaper and faster and put more money into CEO’s pocket. We’re the ones who are creating the product. We should have a piece of that pie too.”

When Joe said the workers should get a “piece of the pie” he was swinging from the lefty side of the plate.

That there is socialism, son.

Now, I don’t know how Joe Acker voted.

But it’s a sure bet that most of his friends and co-workers at GE voted for Trump.

Waukesha County voted roughly 2-1 against Russ Feingold and Hillary Clinton, the two left-leaning national candidates.

And Waukesha is the part of Wisconsin that spawned and still supports Scott Walker, the anti-union hero.

So workers looking for a “piece of the pie” sure didn’t vote that way, since Republican philosophy rests on the pillars of free-market philosophy.

Would Democrats Hillary and Feingold have kept those GE jobs in Wisconsin?

No way.

The manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back.

The three biggest employers in Milwaukee right now? They’re all health care systems.

As for GE, it’s a globe-straddling colossus that has been listed on the Dow for 121 years, employs 300,000 people and is valued by the stock market at about $250 billion dollars.

Its current revenues are $120 billion.

This makes GE a bigger financial power than the entire city of Milwaukee and all its suburbs, including Waukesha.

Think about that a moment. Every enterprise in the Milwaukee area, from the airport shoeshine parlor to the assembly line at Harley Davidson, all the income earned by a million-some people and businesses, just about equals the annual revenue at General Electric.

GE also spends more lobbying the US government than any other corporation, amounting to $28 million during the 2016 election cycle.

It’s just-retired CEO, Jeff Immelt, was the “jobs czar” for President Obama.

And Hillary Clinton was the top recipient of its campaign donations.

A long list of politicians own stock in General Electric, including Paul Ryan and James Sensenbrenner, who both “represent” the Waukesha workers in Congress.

David Price, EPA administrator, is a GE investor too.

John McCain took GE campaign money, as did Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and John Kasich.

The point is, the corporations have already won, and own the political process.

Own it entirely.

Joe Acker and his co-workers had only two real choices:

Hillary, who promised them “retraining” for new jobs.

And Trump, who promised to keep jobs in America.

Both candidates were lying.

Maybe the Waukesha workers know that, deep down.

Maybe they know the game has been rigged.

By corporations.

And maybe knowing that, they voted for the candidate of anger, Donald Trump.

We now live in the United States of Corporations.

Until we change the way politics is financed, we’ll be at the mercy of the profit motive.

But just try saying the words “campaign finance reform” at a gathering of your friends.

And watch their eyes glaze over.

So here we are.

Our voters cast their ballots on tribal instinct rather than reason.

And our Democracy has been sold out entirely.

So here we’ll be.

For a long, long time.


Sources for this story include: CNN, the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel, the Center for Responsive Politics, Yahoo Finance, and the U.S. Census Bureau.


See original story on CNN Money