Obama’s risible dance with corporate America

President Obama’s new pick for his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness — Steve Case — is even more ridiculous, and less qualified, than his previous selection, the hapless Jeffrey Immelt, the inadvertent downsizer of GE. It’s hard to imagine that anyone has forgotten, but Case was responsible for what is generally agreed to be the worst business deal of all time — the $350 billion merger between AOL and Time Warner in January 2000, the largest in American business history.

At least Immelt’s GE is still worth, ahem, about half of what it was 10 years ago. The combined value of AOL and Time Warner (which separated at the end of 2009) is around one seventh of what they were worth together at the time of the merger.

Of course the council has no real power. But it’s hard to imagine two corporate leaders, if that’s the right word, less qualified than Immelt and Case to advise anyone not in elementary school, let alone the president, on either jobs or competitiveness. The president’s choices suggest either ignorance or a lack of seriousness.

Or perhaps Obama is just thumbing his nose at business, the voters, and anyone truly interested in the economic health of the nation?

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