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TheStreet Open House

Kucinich to Immelt: Resign

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- General Electric (GE) chief Jeffrey Immelt should resign from his position as head of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness because many of his company's goals conflict with the council's goal of boosting U.S. employment and economic output, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) argued Wednesday in a little-noticed press release.

GE CEO Jeff Immelt.

"If he does not resign, the White House should remove him," Kucinich said in the statement.

Kucinich's statements came in response to a story in the Washington Post describing General Electric's transfer of sophisticated aviation technologies it has developed to a Chinese joint venture.

"American taxpayers subsidized the development of this advanced technology, but U.S. taxpayers' investment will end up creating jobs in China. In the short term, GE is selling products to the Chinese, which will help GE's bottom line. In the long term, the Chinese will end up manufacturing and selling products using the same technologies that were made in America," read the statement from Kucinich, a seven-term congressman who has run for President in the past, and who is known for taking positions that are well outside the politicial mainstream.

Responding to the Washington Post story on its website, GE argued, "GE started doing business in China in 1906; it's not a new direction for the company. China's civil aviation market is one of the fastest growing in the world and has enormous potential for continuing growth. It is a key imperative for GE and the U.S. to participate in this growth."

Kucinich also cited General Electric's low tax bill, which, when pointed out by The New York Times in March, ignited a furor that dominated the news cycle for several days.

Another statistic Kucinich plucked from that article is that GE has cut a fifth of its U.S. workforce since 2002--Immelt's first full year as CEO--while expanding overseas.

GE spokesman Andrew Williams would not respond directly to Kucinich's call for Immelt's resignation from the council, but sent the following statement.

"As the CEO of GE, an employer of 133,000 Americans, Jeff Immelt was proud to answer the President's call to chair this advisory board made up business leaders, including those from small business and labor. He is proud to be working with others to push forward plans to speed the creation of jobs in the United States."

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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