I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Delicious. So How's That "Free Trade" Working Out For You?

This just in from the Department of Double Standards. The BBC reports that a massive contract to construct new KC-45A tanker planes has not been awarded to Boeing. And if you only read the lede, you might think that the contract had been awarded to Airbus in Europe. In fact, it was awarded to US defense contractor Northrop Grumman who will assemble the planes in the United States, but they constructed the bid using a consortium of global providers including Airbus. A similar situation arose here in New York recently when Lockheed Martin was awarded the bid for new "Marine One" presidential helicopters using a similar bid, with many key parts being manufactured in Italy.

So, how dare the US Government make such a decision? General Arthur Lichte of the Air Force offered an explanation.
"More passengers, more cargo, more fuel to offload, more patients that we can carry, more availability, more flexibility and more dependability," he said.

Those bastards! How dare they select a bid that was cheaper and resulted in a product providing better service! This is America, damnit! Several of the usual suspects in wingnuttia began stamping their tiny feet in protest immediately. But hold the phone just one minute here!

Let us recap, shall we? So when huge corporations like IBM, Sun Microsystems and H-P lay off American workers while issuing mandates to replace them with telecommuting "global assets" from India and South America, that's just "free trade" in the "global economy" right? When major manufacturing concerns move their facilities to other countries while still raking in their profits here at home, that's just the way of things in the new century, yes? And if you complain about it, you're living in the past. You're a flawed thinker pining away for the horrible days of protectionist policies and tariffs. And we all know that's evil, right? What would our global trading partners say?

But if one of these large companies gets beaten out by foreign competition which puts in a cheaper and better bid, and the ones taking the hit are the stockholders... hrmmm. Methinks I detect the faint stench of hypocrisy here. This is a global economy, folks! Remember? Perhaps Boeing should just figure out how to work smarter and cheaper to compete in the global market. Or maybe they should just get out of that business and we can retrain all of their workers to go into the health care and financial services industries?

But no, the protests here seem to be calling for Boeing to get the contract. But... but.. if we award the bid to a strictly American company who is charging more and delivering less, wouldn't that be a form of.... *gasp* PROTECTIONISM?!? Well, we certainly can't have protectionism, can we? Nope. Not in the age of NAFTA and "free trade." Suck it up, folks. You don't get to have it both ways.

(Cross posted at Open Left)