2008 March 15 Saturday
Boeing Furor Over Outsourcing National Security

If we outsource steel production, silicon chip production, flat panel display production, car production, software development, chip design, energy production (which is more important than the airplane that dispenses the fuel IMO), and thousands of other things and our elites acquiesce to this state of affairs while we run monstrous deficits and go into hock to the world why do our elites expect us to take them seriously when some of them try to draw the line at aerial refueling tankers?

But the hot rhetoric could sound overly nationalistic, and even hypocritical, once the real implications for jobs and national security become clear. Boeing, for example, would have made many of its own tanker parts overseas, and some experts say that claims of job losses to a foreign company seem exaggerated.

For now, though, the pro-Boeing, pro-America talk is showing no signs of letting up.

“We really have to wake up the country,” said Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington State, where Boeing is a significant employer. “We are at risk of losing a major part of our aerospace industry to the Europeans forever.”

Representative Todd Tiahrt, Republican of Kansas, said: “It’s outsourcing our national security. An American tanker should be built by an American company with American workers.” Boeing would have done some of its tanker assembly in Kansas.

I'm just asking.

Our elites are willing to fritter away a far larger competitive advantage and source of national security than the ability to do refueling tanker design in the United States (and EADS and Northrup Grumman will do tanker construction in Alabama anyway). We ought to try to hang onto more important advantages like sound finances and a smart populace. We do have one important advantage over East Asia that we ought to try to enhance rather than ruin.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 March 15 10:22 AM  Politics Grand Strategy

kurt9 said at March 15, 2008 11:48 AM:

A little history for you: Boeing lost the contract due to corrupt attempt to acquire this tanker contract several years ago. Two Boeing execs and two Air Force procurement officials went to prison for this. This corrupt deal would have gone through had McCain not found out and put a stop to it, and rightly so (this is the one correct thing that McCain had done recently). It disgusts me that the media and liberal left people like Pelosi are not whining that Boeing did not get the deal. Boeing lost this deal for a very good reason.

Also, the fact that Airbus got this deal does not mean it is a bad thing for American workers. In case you have not noticed, the dollar is very low compared to the Euro. Airbus sales are in dollars. This means that Airbus must manufacture in the U.S. to avoid going bankrupt. Airbus has already talked about manufacturing commercial airliners in the U.S. All of these tanker planes will be manufactured in the U.S. by airbus's partner, Northup-Grumman. So, we still get 25,000 American jobs out of this deal and the chance to bankrupt Airbus. As far as American industry and jobs are concerned, this is a very good deal.

Wolf-Dog said at March 15, 2008 2:33 PM:

Randall Parker: The web site that you mentioned about the importance of Verbal IQ as opposed to spatial (also spelled spacial) ability, is important, but the fact that the financial success is more related to verbal ability might be due to the superficial suggestibility of the modern nations. We are much better off with a whole bunch of scientists as politicians instead of lawyers. That Chinese American Nobel laureate physicist Steven Chu ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Chu ) is currently working on new methods for transforming cellulose into alcohol by means of new enzymes, and already there is substantial progress in this area. If Steven Chu succeeds in this project at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, then wood and wild grass will easily become alcohol, totally solving the energy problem of the United States. I am in favor of spatial IQ people instead of verbal IQ lawyers such as Bill Hillary who do less than nothing.

Note that thousands of years ago, paper currency was invented in China, and they were using gas for central heating, not to mention their many inventions such as advanced maps, gun powder, etc, at a time the Europeans were barely getting out of caves. I greatly benefited from the math courses I took from Chinese professors. America needs more nerds with high spatial IQs than orators like Bill and Hillary.

Wolf-Dog said at March 15, 2008 2:50 PM:

Kurt9 wrote: "Boeing lost the contract due to corrupt attempt to acquire this tanker contract several years ago. "

What you wrote is correct, but that was then and this is now: according to some recent articles, the reason Northrop-Airbus got the tanker contract is because their tanker was designed to carry 25 % more fuel than the proposed Boeing tanker. Boeing is trying to reverse the decision, based on the argument that at the time when the U.S. government started the competition between Boeing and Northrop, the parameters were made clear and that Boeing designed the plane to carry no less than the originally required amount of fuel, and that at the time of the new decision, suddenly the U.S. government changed its mind and insisted on more fuel capacity than when the original contract competition was formulated. Boeing says that had the new requirement for more fuel been known to it before, it would have designed a plane with more fuel carrying capacity. Boeing does seem to have a point here, and it is possible that Boeing might ultimately be given the contract.

But the latter situation is far more sinister than one might think: why is the U.S. government suddenly insisting on higher fuel carrying capability? The answer might be that the U.S. is in danger of losing many of the friendly countries where its bomber fleet can get refueled during future wars, and hence we need a lot more tankers with more fuel carrying capacity for long range bombing missions. This is because the current war is a "long war."

JSBolton said at March 15, 2008 7:03 PM:

Or more likely, it is because lobbying got the specifications changed.
This is a chance to disqualify McCain, who is believed in congress to be at the center of this probably criminal lobbying effort.
Interestingly, the democrats seem now to be willing to join or lead an effort to indict McCain
for this of all things.
Their loyalty to the union workers may be getting activated, if ours is to America, though, we need to get McCain disqualified by this or any better method.
If McCain is successfully charged with being an unregistered agent of foreign governments, and you get a regular republican in his place, the election could go well, especially if the revolution of rising expectations brings the disadvantaged out in riotous
Each superdelegate who buckles under to threats or actuality of riots will hugely encourage more of the same.
In 1992 the congress had given in to minority threats of riots, and passed the restoration of disparate impact.
What happened next back then, mollification and quiet, or miles of business districts put to the torch?

Gary Glaucon said at March 15, 2008 9:23 PM:

I read an article on Spiegel about Airbus and its problems that included declining revenues and layoffs. The decline of the dollar- a result of deliberate government policy- has killed airbus. This contract was delivered as an attempt to reconcile the EU's concern.


HellKaiserRyo said at March 15, 2008 10:10 PM:

And China needs more people with high verbal IQs. In addition, every needs high "g."

Wolf-Dog said at March 16, 2008 5:30 AM:

"The decline of the dollar- a result of deliberate government policy- has killed airbus. This contract was delivered as an attempt to reconcile the EU's concern."

Excellent point. And we might also speculate that maybe such contracts to EU would substantially mollify and attenuate the European anti-Americanism, providing more European support for the American military posture in the future. I was told by a Greek friend that the word diplomacy has two Greek roots: "diplo" = double and "matia" = face. Maybe it was a joke, but it makes perfect sense. But seriously, in a few years, when the U.S. dollar declines another 50 % from the current level, to an exchange rate of $3 per Euro, then most of the Airbus manufacturing might be transfered to the United States.

Anonymous said at March 16, 2008 6:08 AM:

And we might also speculate that maybe such contracts to EU would substantially mollify and attenuate the European anti-Americanism, providing more European support for the American military posture in the future.

You're joking, right?

Wolf-Dog said at March 16, 2008 6:31 AM:

"You're joking, right?"
It was Karl Marx who said that for the right price even the those people who fiercely value their prestige can be bought. After World War II, with money, the US certainly did buy the loyalty of both Germany and Japan, and recently, as the financial power of America declined, the loyalty expired. The current anti-Americanism is only superficially fueled by the military situation, the real issue is that the dollar is losing its power. However, the intrinsic value of America (its territory and hard working people), can still be sold.

Mr3dPHD said at March 31, 2008 12:06 PM:

The Northrop Grumman contract will provide roughly 4000 MORE jobs in the US than the Boeing contract would have. These numbers are straight from Boeing and Northrop Grumman press releases:

This is straight from Boeings website...

"This KC-767 Advanced Tanker will support more than 44,000 American jobs and 300 suppliers," said Mark McGraw, vice president, Boeing Tanker Programs.


And this is straight from Grumman's website...

LOS ANGELES -- March 11, 2008 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) announced today that as a result of winning the KC-45A tanker program, its 230 suppliers, located in 49 states, have completed a careful review of their employment projections and determined that America's industrial base will expand by 48,000 direct and indirect new jobs. None of these U.S. jobs will move to Europe. This total does not include additional jobs that will be created in the U.S. with the future production of commercial A330 freighter aircraft in Alabama.


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