The Bottom Line on ‘Earth Week’

Our good friend Tim Carney’s Examiner column this week connects a few very interesting dots – what, for example, does Alicia Silverstone talking about energy efficiency on NBC have to do with corporate welfare for one the nation’s largest companies? Tim puts it all together.

Earth Day was Tuesday, and NBC Universal has extended the celebration into “Earth Week.” Reprising its “Green Week” from last fall, NBC and its affiliates worked some sort of environmental message into all of its programming this week.

Amid its calls for individual sacrifices in the name of the environment and paeans to “green” legislation, the network once again failed to disclose prominently that its parent company stands to get rich off of “environmentalist” laws.

NBC Universal is owned by General Electric, which plays a regular role in this column because of how aggressively the company has hitched its profits to its lobbying successes. GE spends more than any other corporation in America on lobbying the federal government — more than $20 million annually over the past three years — and Green Week and Earth Week probably should be disclosed as lobbying efforts.

In many of GE’s businesses, the profit model appears to be: (1) invest in something for which there isn’t much demand; (2) then lobby to mandate or subsidize it.

This is all also part of of GE’s must discussed “ecomagination” campaign, which so far seems mostly to have produced ever more imaginative ways of getting U.S. taxpayers to pay GE to manufacture technologies consumers don’t want.