Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Corporate Welfare: Good for you and me!

I'm too tired to tie these articles together, but these three recent pieces all offer interesting perspectives on the operation of American "free enterprise."

1. Air India is buying 50 jetliners from Boeing after "U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta visited New Delhi and said relations between the United States and India would benefit if Boeing gets the order. The French government has been lobbying on behalf of Europe-based Airbus."

2. Congressional meddling in the American shipbuilding duopoly may make it impossible for the Navy to get its fearsomely expensive "next generation" warship, the DD(X) destroyer: " The Navy wants a winner-take-all competition to build the destroyers. But Congress wants to give one to Northrop Grumman's shipyard in Mississippi, the next to General Dynamics' yard in Maine, to share the wealth and ensure more money for the yards. The dispute drags on. The Navy says the two-shipyard approach will add $300 million or more to the cost of each DD(X). The Navy now hopes to build five DD(X) destroyers, one a year, at a total cost of $20.6 billion, including research and development. But those plans are shaky."

3. Wal-Mart's success is due in substantial part to its ability to work around "free market" ideals at home and abroad: "By ignoring free market principles... Wal-Mart reduces its procurement costs by 10-20 percent, primarily by taking advantage of the artificially suppressed labor market in China. One can’t help note the delicious irony that Wal-Mart’s 'free market' leadership is powered by an authoritarian regime that still refers to itself as communist. Back at home... Wal-Mart has pulled in $1.5 billion dollars in taxpayer funded subsidies... Wal-Mart is happy to cash in on government largess like property tax abatements, infrastructure support, free land and just straight-out cold cash—all of which are the antithesis of 'free market' ideology."


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