Tag Archives for " Boeing "

Jan 08

Happy Birthday Elvis

By kevin | Current Affairs

Attention numerology fans, Elvis would have been 77 today. In a weird coincidence, he died in 1977. Even weirder, during the 59 scheduled concert dates (9-5=2, 9-2 =7) in 1977, he wore the Mexican Sundial costume all but 17 times. And the world was created in 7 days (if you count God’s “personal day”). No wonder they called him The King! It’s true, you can look it up. 

And a warm welcome back to the Somali Pirates. Just when we thought you had abandoned the global stage back you roar with a fabulous guest turn on “When Navy Corpsman Speak Urdu.” To those who say that American education sucks, I say BAM. Gimme some of that Urdu smack down.

“I recommend and emphasize to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf,” Iran’s army chief, Major General Ataollah Salehi, said on Tuesday.”We are not in the habit of warning more than once.” Note to A. Salehi, crow is best served spit roasted over a bed of couscous with a balsamic drizzle and a light garnish or pan seared Brussels sprout leaves. While reasonable people can differ on this, I think it best pairs with an ice cold Miller Genuine Draft. Screw the extra calories.

Let’s see, extend and deepen tax cuts, make no meaningful changes to entitlement programs, get tough on yet another country in the mid-east, toss compassionate red meat to the base, excoriate a Democrat for being soft on North Korea . . . other than Candidate Paul, can anyone point out a single meaningful difference between the current GOP hopefuls and Bush 43? Note to candidates Romney, Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum, most of us don’t consider the eight years of 43 a success.

Perhaps of interest only to current residents of the Jet City, SeattleSouthside helpfully lists a number of truly enticing tourism promos, number one of which is surely the “Escape Romance Package at the Seattle Airport Marriott”. Please be sure and use the LVU (note, not LUV) promo code.

Not that I’m paying any attention, but the “play every night” death march and “debate every night” schedule the NBA and GOP have instituted has not improved the quality or relevance of either.

Just guessing here but you have to believe Karen Santorum, wife of Rick Santorum (R) “I hate black, gay polygamists” would probably like to reprint her homeschooling fave “Everyday Graces: Child’s Book of Good Manners.” I know, nothing says family values like a forward by Joe Paterno, right?

For those regular readers of this rant, yes I’m thrilled that DeMarcus Cousins has dropped his demands to be traded from the Sacramento Kings (Elvises?) now that Paul Westphal has been fired (again).

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the man who raised taxes six times, signed an illegal immigrant amnesty bill, compromised repeatedly with a liberal Congressman from Massachusetts, and signed a gun control bill when he was Governor (to keep guns out of the hands of black people, oops, I mean African Americans) . . . please give a warm, warm welcome to that great defender of conservative values, Ronald Reagan.

Help me understand this headline: “Romney’s rivals running out of time to derail him”. True, the candidates and corporate-person-super PACS have collectively spent the GNP of Greece, but really? 100,000 Iowans kind of had a primary except that it was really more like Wednesday night Bingo where nobody kept track and the results didn’t matter anyway and the fat lady is ready to sing? Really? Can we at least drag this out through South Carolina so that several hundred thousand other non-young, non-minority, mad-as-hell and not going to take it anymore, Boeing subsidizing voters can weigh the relatives merits of Charles Lindbergh’s foreign policy, Bush 43’s fiscal policy, and Savonarola’s rules for good government.

Can we all just agree that any headline that includes the words “New Orleans,” “Saints,” and “march” should be summarily banned (as in “Saints march to blow out win over Lions”)? I mean, like, totally, wow, how’d you come up with that metaphor? The mind staggers at the possibilities leading up to and following the Saints vs. 49ers game next week.

For those still contemplating the awkward “escape romance” phrasing, I too didn’t realize that Marriott was now renting rooms by the hour.

In the don’t ask me why I care category. In 2003, in the follow-on to moving its corporate HQ to the Windy City . . .

Boeing extracted a package of research & development tax credits and cuts in Business & Occupation taxes (the state’s substitute for a corporate income tax), sales taxes and property taxes that together were estimated to be worth $3.2 billion over 20 years. As a result, the aerospace industry, which had been the state’s biggest source of business tax revenue, would see much of its tax liability disappear. The state also raised gasoline taxes to fund transportation improvements, overhauled the unemployment insurance system to reduce costs for employers and tightened up on workers compensation claims . . . It later emerged that the state also gave Boeing $32 million for training costs plus other “sweeteners. (Hat tip to Good Jobs First)

In 2003, the Kansas legislature offered Boeing a half-billion dollars in bond financing to build part of the 7E7 at its Wichita facility. Boeing would then be allowed to pay off $200 million in interest by collecting personal income taxes collected from its 7E7 workers. Boeing agreed to the terms, but in 2005 sold its civilian Wichita operations to Onex Corporation, a Canadian private equity company (Hat tip to Good Jobs First)

South Carolina was one of the “losers” in the 2003 competition staged by Boeing for its initial production facilities for the 7E7 Dreamliner. But in October 2009 Boeing announced that it would spend at least $750 million on a new 7E7 production line and create thousands of jobs. The state’s subsidy package was initially estimated at $450 million, a large part of which reflected generous property tax abatements. In January 2010 the Charleston Post and Courier published an analysis of the package that concluded it could be worth more than $900 million. (Hat tip to Good Jobs First)

Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace and defense company, will have 2011 revenues of approximately $68 bn, roughly half of which will come from defense and aerospace, which if I’m not mistaken is paid for with somebody’s tax dollars.

From 2004-2009, Boeing made $17.5 billion pre-taxes. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But they only paid $796 million in taxes, thanks to tax breaks on sales made outside the United States, and a full 38 subsidiaries in tax havens outside of the US. One estimate has the company’s 2007-9 tax rate at -0.8%; its tax rate since 2004 has hit a maximum of only 4.6%. Add the recent $35 billion federal military contract to the cockpit, and Boeing has a mighty sweet relationship with the government. (Hat tip to Business Pundit)

Viva “free” enterprise!

Oct 23

Has Conservatism Become the New Moral Relativism?

By kevin | Current Affairs

Some interesting articles in the Seattle Washrag this morning having to do with South Carolina.  Normally 47 people give a rip but for two factors:  Boeing is threatening to move more production there and the political leadership of the state, and I’m using that term loosely, can’t seem to stay out of the news.  So here’s what’s stuck in my craw.

Their idiot governor was part of the famous class of ‘94 that swept into Washington DC during the early stanzas of the Clinton opera.  Among their many accomplishments were shutting down the government (over Medicare among other things, something that conservatives are fiercely defending these days by the way) and impeaching the President.  As a sideline, a noticeable percentage of them subsequently specialized in every imaginable form of moral turpitude.

Mark himself rode into town on the strength of his piety and cost cutting ways.  He has worn both of those credentials with pride up to the present day.

So what has the conservative darling accomplished recently?  Well for starters, he shut the state down over his grandstanding about not taking $700 million in federal stimulus funds.  By the time that was litigated and slammed back down his throat the legislative session was toast.  They got nothing done.  On the heals of that he decamped to the Appalachian trail, and who knew that it ran all the way to Buenos Aires, and you know how that one played out.  Given that all things government are presumptively evil, some I’m sure find at least the first part of this agreeable in the extreme.  But what about the second bit?

The pious one is now barnstorming the state on what is described by many as a “reconciliation tour.”  Or to put it bluntly, he is giving his personal testimony to every Christian with an ounce of power and the time to listen.  This is standard fare for besmirched believers and serves all players in the drama well.  The forgiver accrues political power and the forgiven gets to return to the playing field.  It’s political kabuki at its finest and as long as everyone plays the part correctly, all is forgiven.  This will be true for governor Mark, just as it has been true of a long, long line of politically powerful and politically useful sinners for lo these many years (even mass murders are washed clean in this life if they confess according to the formula to the right people).  The fact that his wife wants nothing to do with him and is writing a tell-all is another thing.

So now, the man-who-won’t-resign is holding secret negotiations to shower Boeing with huge financial benefits, benefits by the way that will exceed the financial value of the stimulus money he so roundly rejected, to entice the company to come on down and give 3000 jobs to all those non-union workers who have no experience building airplanes and no education in what it takes to do so. 

(As an aside, given Boeing’s recent and appalling record at doing just about anything right, particularly delivering the 787, I can see why they would want to have even more work done in a part of the country best known for the Confederate Battle Flag on the State House Building and that last enjoyed a strong economy in the 1860s but that’s another matter.  Attention management.  Your problem isn’t cost control. It’s competence.)

So my question is, what does it mean anymore to be a conservative? 

Mark Sanford’s pecker problems have more to do with hubris than religion, so I’m not generalizing based on his fine example.  No party or political belief system has a lock on stupidity, hubris, and especially falling from grace, but American conservatives have turned the whole fall-forgiveness-redemption-back to work thing into high art.

But how do you square the part about handing Boeing massive chunks of the tax payers’ money other than it’s expedient?  Is that not a shining example of the moral relativism that conservatives bleat so loudly about when it comes to liberals?  Giving money to taxpayers who are down on their luck is bad.  And let us be clear that the reasons people like Sanford believe this are a toxic mix of big-business capitalism and a perverse 20th-21st century Calvinism.  But giving equal or greater sums of money to a large enterprise whose leadership has eviscerated one of the greatest engineering and manufacturing companies in the world and whose competitive strategy is based on taking work from people who know how to do it and give it to firms and people who don’t is a good thing?

None of this is surprising or even noteworthy other than it’s such a stunning example of what the GOP has become, at least on a national scale.  There, in the span of a single narrative it is: Big Business socialism wrapped in a thin free-market candy coating joined up with a fervent religiosity where anything goes as long as its done by the washed.

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