GE's Immelt to college graduates: You're pretty much hosed.
Just so you won't think it's only me harshing all over Europe all the time, here's General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt offering some uplifting words for the Boston College class of '10 today:
"We are at an unprecedented moment in the history of our country. There is economic and social anxiety. Europe appears to be teetering on the brink of a financial disaster," according to Reuters.
Okaaaay, then. And if that wasn't enough to motivate the recent graduates, Immelt went on to say:
"Look, it's a mess out there. There are some real problems that need to be fixed. I could really bum you out if I wanted to." You mean there's more? You think you're not bumming us out now?
You can only imagine the poor president of Boston College having to follow that. "Um, all right. Thanks for those, er, illuminating remarks, Mr. Immelt." [Cut to a sea of silent, perplexed faces wearing mortarboards.]
On the one hand, what does Immelt care? He's about to get a $6.5 billion from Comcast for selling 51 percent of NBC Universal to the cable giant. (Plus, another $9 billion from NBCU.) On the other, more charitable, hand, GE does lots of business in Europe and can hardly afford for the Continent to collapse.
The concern in the U.S. about Europe now is that the debt crisis will turn into a financial crisis. That's different. A debt crisis can be managed with guaranteed loans. It's painful, but it can be handled. A full-scale financial crisis, as we saw here in 2008, is when the system almost stops working. That's why billions and billions of dollars in taxpayer money are required instantly to prop up the system and billions more must be printed to stave off a liquidity crisis.
The U.S. has the ability to print money. Sixteen individual European nations do not, thanks to the euro.
May 24, 2010; 3:08 PM ET
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Posted by: priv05242010 | May 26, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse
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