Common Sense: Big Bad Bullies

I feel sorry for GE’s Jack Welch.

It's hard enough getting U.S regulators to OK his big merger with Honeywell. Now he's burning up his frequent flier miles trying to get the Europeans to OK it as well. Good luck. He might end up having to give up so much, that he might wonder why he did the deal in the first place.

More than a few of you have claimed I'm a little insular on these matters, so please, tune out now. Because I'm getting on my soapbox again.

Here's what slays me: the Europeans claim that the deal is anti-competitive. You have got to be kidding. That would be like me lecturing someone for buying too many cannolis in a bakeshop!  Fat chance.

In what I can only describe as the highest case of international chutzpah, the Europeans are calling Jack, a bully. That GE and Honeywell together would dominate the aerospace and automation markets so much, that no one else would have a chance.

Please. What do you call Airbus?

Here's what I call it: a government program, fully subsidized and protected by Europe's strongest governments. When times get tough, Airbus gets help. Does Boeing gets breaks like that in this country? I don't think so.

We have this silly notion called competition. And I think some — not all, but some — in Europe are afraid of it. And for good reason. Competition strikes at the very chord of the cradle-to-grave protection many European workers are afforded by their governments. That kind of security is nice. I just don't think it's realistic or that we should pay for it.

I'm not saying this because I like Jack Welch or his Honeywell deal. I am saying it because I don't like hypocrites judging that deal. Just be honest when you say you don't like it. Admit that it threatens, scares and maybe forces you to change your ways.

For all I know, GE and Honeywell, might be a big bully. But I know an even bigger one. And Europe, so do you.

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