Anyone watching Super Bowl XLVI last night was treated to a host of television ads singing the praises of America’s largest corporation, General Electric (NYSE: GE). The ad blitz, tied together under the umbrella/theme of “GE Works,” came complete with a website and ‘#WhatWorks’ Twitter hashtag.
The advertising campaign (~$10.5 million spent in one night, alone) would lead viewers to believe General Electric is single-handedly carrying our country out of the economic abyss by creating countless jobs and saving entire communities. In reality, #WhatWorks for GE is a longtime record of tax dodging that has lead to painful job cuts, service reductions and school closures – both in Massachusetts and across the country.
As the New York Times revealed nearly a year ago, General Electric has managed to avoid taxation altogether, despite the company’s incredible profitability. In 2010, for example, GE posted an enormous $11.6 billion profit, yet somehow managed to rake in a $3.2 billion federal tax refund. The direct loss in federal spending and aid totaled more than $140 million in Massachusetts alone – a figure that could have created or saved the jobs of thousands of construction workers, teachers, and firefighters.
Hundreds of demonstrators in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and elsewhere have already gathered to raise awareness of General Electric’s now-notorious tax avoidance. But with GE’s latest attempt to paper over its true record, we can expect to see much more citizen pushback on the company’s “#WhatWorks" campaign in the months to come. Stay tuned.