A good example of Obama’s attitude towards business and the consequences.
By Tim Nerenz
Even the most cynical observer did a double-take last week when President Obama told Boeing it could not move its 787 Dreamliner production to South Carolina, making them build planes in Washington State instead.
No one could blame Boeing if they just keep right on going when they hit the Pacific and build their planes over in China. For that matter, no one could blame South Carolina if they secede from the union again.
On a personal level, I do not want to fly in a plane built by a second-choice reject workforce under the direction of an angry management team forced to live and work in a place they do not want to be. Let them build the President a new Air Force One out there and call it a day.
The International Association of Machinists has cost Boeing over $2 billion in the four strikes it has initiated at its Puget Sound facilities over the past 20 years. The AFL-CIO NOW! blog site proudly reports that Boeing’s attempt to move production of 787’s to South Carolina from Washington “followed years of production delays and an extraordinary round of mid-contract talks” that failed to reach any agreement.
Years of delays, excess costs, and extraordinary negotiations with knuckleheads who like to strike – oh yes, that sounds like the perfect spot to build things that can fall out of the sky over populated areas. Thank God we have our public servants to keep the private sector from making awful mistakes like hiring people who actually want to work.
It is possible – anything is – that a handful of political hacks appointed to reward powerful donor-constituencies know better than the world’s #1 airplane builder where to build airplanes. But perhaps the government should try to tackle a more modest aviation problem first – say, keeping its hands off of little kid’s privates or keeping its air traffic controllers awake – and slowly work its way up to the big stuff.
The head of the NLRB said that Boeing’s decision was a clear violation of the National Labor Relations Act – an open and shut case where he had no choice but to apply the law. Nice try. I’m sure he will tell us later why his only scruple came to him after he allowed Boeing to spend $2 billion on a new plant and hire 1,000 workers.
People with no understanding of economics and no experience in commerce firmly believe that every facility siting decision is made on the basis of labor rates and union status alone. And when I was three I believed my mom stopped where her legs met her skirt hem and some other lady popped out of the neckline – so what? “Believe” and “know” are two different things; and it is never a good idea to put people with no understanding and no experience in charge of anything.
Cheap labor hasn’t chased Boeing overseas, but cheap shots from partisan dipsticks might just do the trick. And when the unions are done high-fiving each other over the spanking their man delivered, they might want to check how much Boeing stock is owned by their pension funds. The right to be stupid is Constitutionally protected; but it is simply good manners to confine your idiocy to your own accounts.
Meanwhile, here in Wisconsin, conservatives are still angry at the loser of a recent Supreme Court race for her decision to waste a million dollars of taxpayers’ money and tens of thousands of man-hours to learn exactly how badly she got beat.
Libertarians come at it from a different angle – we are angry that someone so petty and vindictive got to be a career superstar in the Department of Natural Resources before anyone but us seemed to care. “You peons exist to satisfy me” – this is the basic mentality that governs all of the agencies that govern our daily lives.
It is an infestation, not a lone beetle. Whether is it the NLRB, TSA, FAA, or the state DNR, the problem with government is that it always – always – takes a good intention and runs it right into the dirt. Clean water turns into shutting down a lakeside restaurant; a bargaining right turns into telling a company where it can build things. If you have an uncontrollable urge to shut a business down, then by all means buy one and shut it down; but don’t wait to pass the civil service exam and then do it on our dime.
I don’t know if government makes petty tyrants or if it attracts them; probably recruits the talent and perfects it. Unlike the private sector, there is no competing brand of government to come in and wipe the floor with an organization whose core value is time off. Or so it thinks; China is doing a pretty darn good job, along with Brazil, Vietnam, India, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Colombia, and Peru to name just a few of the places that have welcomed the jobs that we have so callously tossed away as political pawns.
The Machinists Union called the NLRB sanction against Boeing a victory for aerospace workers – in South Carolina! There’s your moment of clarity: better to have no job at all than to have one where their union can’t steal a rake off your right to work. Tell me again why busting them is immoral.
What’s wrong with the President deciding where Boeing can build planes? Mr. Obama is not the President of Boeing; that’s what. And he is not the President of the AFL-CIO. And he is not the President of the Government. He is the President of the whole United States of America – all 300 million-plus citizens, the vast majority of whom choose to work and live free of union impairment.
His constituents include the non-union workers in South Carolina, the non-union employees of Boeing, the stockholders of Boeing, the customers of Boeing, the suppliers of Boeing, and the Americans who fly in Boeing aircraft each day, including those who pay through the nose for the privilege of sitting in Business Class, subsidizing everyone else’s affordable coach fares. You’re welcome; I’m sure the card got lost in the mail.
President Obama has no more right to decide where planes get built as he does to assign passenger seating based on campaign contributions and party affiliation. That was dumb of me to give him the idea, sorry. Probably have a Seat Czar appointed by Wednesday.
In business, we teach our young people that it is better to be humble than to have humility thrust upon you. Needless to say, our President has no business experience, so he hasn’t yet grasped that concept. The light bulb will go on for him in November of 2012 – little dairy queen kind that takes an hour to warm up and then shows up all your zits. I still hate those things.
“Moment Of Clarity” is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim’s websitewww.timnerenz.com to find your moment and watch for the upcoming release of his new book, “Capitalista!”