Friday, October 30, 2009

Crazy Crackers

Let’s see if you’ve been paying attention.

Boeing Selects S.C. for Dreamliner Plant

”CHICAGO—Boeing Co. on Wednesday announced it would build a second final assembly line for its troubled 787 Dreamliner jet in South Carolina, a move that spurns the powerful aircraft machinists' union that had been negotiating with Boeing to locate the work at the current factory in outside of Seattle.“

Who would you say has been Boeing’s largest customer over the years ? At least the one that is paying for all the R&D ? B-17, B29, B-47, B-52, KC-135 -- any of these ringing any bells for you ? Not to mention this one:

So, here comes South Carolina -- land of the MIA Governor, the Congressman with political Tourette’s syndrome and the Senator that thinks he’s the Republican Duke of Wellington -- and they want to throw even more tax dollars -- South Carolinian tax dollars -- at Boeing to move to Charleston. And just to seal the deal, they not only prove they’re easy but that they’re crazy too.

Bravo for bigger Boeing

”Unions have delayed production at the Boeing factories near Seattle. In contrast, unionized Boeing workers in North Charleston recently opted out of the International Association of Machinists.

But a world-class company like Boeing needs additional reasons to choose a site. Assets like quality of life, work force training programs and financial incentives are almost assuredly considerations. It is encouraging that the Lowcountry measures up on those fronts.“

I’ve been to South Carolina. As a matter of fact, I was born in South Carolina. Trust me, “quality of life” is not why Boeing is coming to South Carolina. Neither is “work force training programs.” That leaves, “almost assuredly”, “financial incentives”. Well, that and no union.

Let’s go back to the Wall Street Journal:

”On Wednesday the South Carolina legislature moved to offer Boeing a variety of tax incentives to lure the company to build a massive new factory on the site of an existing facility it owns in North Charleston. Those incentives include issuing new bonds to help Boeing defray construction costs and waiving sales tax for jet fuel on test flights and some construction materials.“

Joe Bageant -- the guy that wrote Deer Hunting with Jesus -- has seen this type of behavior before.

”For decades, Virginia has hemorrhaged manufacturing and textile jobs to foreign shores, the flow increasing after NAFTA went into effect in 1994. But long before NAFTA, we had a history of state leadership hiking its skirts and winking at any miserable Yankee sweatshop coming down the pike on its way toward Alabama or Mississippi or Latin America. The big shots make a mint selling property to the northern manufacturers, and the state and local governments make speeches about how many new jobs they delivered. “

But make no mistake about it, this isn’t the textile industry we’re talking about here. This is a company -- really an entire industry -- that was bought and paid for by the taxpayers. It’s the military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about. Take a look at the example in Wikipedia.

”It is difficult to estimate the degree of dependence of the U.S. economy on its military and defense spending, but it is clearly enormous, and legislators fiercely resist defense cuts that affect their districts. In Washington State, an economist estimated in 2002 that in Western Washington 166,000 jobs, or about 15% of the workforce, depended directly or indirectly on military installations alone, not counting defense industries. In Washington State overall in FY2001, about $7.06 billion arrived in U.S. Department of Defense payroll, pensions, and procurement contracts—and Washington State was only seventh among the fifty states in this regard. Overall, U.S. spending on defense acquisitions and research is equal to 1.2% of the GDP. “

I guess they’ve decided they don’t won’t to pay union wages anymore. And they are going to use your money -- your taxes -- to make sure they don’t have to. If you’re unfortunate enough to live in South Carolina (and half my family was) you get to pay twice for the pleasure of working for low wages -- Federal taxes and State taxes. Thanks goodness your Governor wanted to turn down the Federal stimulus money. But that’s the South Carolina I know. Full of crazy crackers that will vote for politicians that will help keep them down and against a union that could help them get ahead.

Congratulations, South Carolina. You’ve replaced Mississippi and become America’s third-world country.

Don Brown
October 29, 2009


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