Bush Hands Out New Jobs...Overseas


So, Bush's Defense Department gives a massive tanker contract to Northrop Grumman and the European firm EADS. In doing so, it shunned Boeing, which bid on the contract.



This action is perverse on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin.

In handing out the contract--worth between $40 billion to $100 billion--for the construction of Air Force refueling tankers, the Bush administration claimed that 25,000 jobs would be created in Alabama and other southern states.

That assertion obscures several key points: Far more jobs--44,000--would have been created had Boeing received the contract, with more than 300 suppliers in 40 states benefiting, according to Boeing. At Boeing plants, those jobs would be highly paid and the workers would be members of unions. The 25,000 jobs Bush claims the contract creates involve far lower-paying jobs assembling parts made overseas. And they're not union jobs.

Since he's taken office, many of Bush's attacks on unions have been overt. But far more insidious are moves like this one, that surreptiously undermine the fundamental premise of the union movement: People who work should earn wages that support themselves and their families.

And look who was instrumental to pushing through this un-American deal: the senator from Arizona, John McCain. Time magazine reports McCain wrote letters and pushed the Pentagon to change the bidding process so that EADS's government subsidies could not be considered when deciding to whom to award the contract. This placed Boeing, which receives no subsidies, at a clear disadvantage and conflicts with U.S. trade policy.

Defense expenditures are supposed to comply with federal Buy American law provisions, which require purchasing certain products from American companies when possible. But this administration has granted more waivers of the Buy American provisions than any administration in history.

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