Letters to the Editor

Boeing jolt

January 11, 2012


To the editor:

Boeing’s sudden departure from Wichita brings to mind Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, but what he didn’t say was that when people lie, it usually doesn’t cost 2,200 decent jobs. He should know. He downsized companies that resulted in the loss of thousands of American jobs. It’s doubtful that either corporate brain gave much thought to those who were left without meaningful employment.

You don’t suppose Romney and Boeing are related, do you?

The decent business decision for Boeing would have been to move at least some of their 787 manufacturing jobs to Wichita instead of building a totally new facility in North Carolina. The Wichita community is stable, the skill factor high, and those workers enjoy a tradition of excellence in aircraft manufacturing.

Our senators appear to have suffered quite a jolt in their dealings with Boeing. Promises made are not necessarily promises kept, are they Sen. Roberts? He, Sen. Moran and the rest of the Kansas delegation are more than willing to sell our souls to the company store. Little did we realize that the corporation was not interested in our souls or our well-being. They just wanted to make a lot of money.

Next time our delegates rave about the virtues of an unfettered capitalistic system, let’s remember this Boeing fiasco. And when we step into the voting booth, remember how easily our representatives in Congress were led down the garden path to the detriment of hard-working Kansans.


jayhawkinsf 6 years ago

I don't want to minimize the loss of Boeing to the Wichita area and to Kansas as well. But saying "this Boeing fiasco" seems a little knee jerk. Boeing has been in Wichita for decades. They've provided jobs to many thousands over all those years. They've pumped billions into both the local and state economy. Where was all the condemnation of corporations all those years. Why was no one telling them to take their corporate welfare and shove it, go somewhere else and take your lousy jobs with you. I heard not a peep in all those decades. The fact is we made a deal for decades and reaped great rewards. Now we've lost them. It is a huge loss for the community and a loss to the workers that I can only imagine. I truly wish them the best. And as Kansans, we need to help our own. But we need to balance the loss we've suffered with the huge rewards we had for decades. Boeing moving does not negate all the good that was provided while they were here.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Boeing, and the aviation industry in general, are poster children for industries that could not have survived without corporate welfare.

But for you, the taxpayers who provided that welfare should be groveling at their feet and kissing their backsides because of "all they did for us."

There is no room in your world for taxpayers' rightful indignation at this latest example of corporate duplicity.

jhawkinsf 6 years ago

There were tens of thousands of people who were provided jobs. They were not entrepreneurs. They were as much poster children for the need for someone else to provide them with jobs as Boeing was a poster child for corporate welfare. They needed each other for decades and they fed off each other for decades and they benefitted from each other for decades. It was a classic example of a symbiotic relationship. I'll admit I'm wrong if Boeing leaving causes no hardships, no inconvenience, no loss of revenue stream either to the people who worked there or to the city, county or state.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

So when it comes to corporate welfare, it's the private businesses who get it that can do whatever they want. Screw the genetically inferior, pitiful, helpless workers who are just don't understand that it was a "bidness" decision.

jhawkinsf 6 years ago

Corporate welfare recipients don't get whatever they want. Requests for incentives are denied all the time. They should be given when there is an overall benefit to the people. That's what happened in Wichita. Were the mayors of Wichita for the past many decades calling for an end to Boeing's corporate welfare? Of course not. There was an overall benefit to the people. It was a good ride while it lasted, but it's over. As for the workers, we have a myriad of regular old welfare programs to help them. And we should. I said that in my original post and for you to suggest that I mean to "screw" them is another in your long line of inability to correctly interpret my comments, or a willful ignorance of the English language.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"Corporate welfare recipients don't get whatever they want."

They still have the contract for the tankers, don't they?

But what about the workers who were used as bait to get those contracts?

jhawkinsf 6 years ago

What do you think the employees are entitled to? A job for life?

jafs 6 years ago

If our representatives helped Boeing get a contract based on the promise of current and future jobs in KS, then those should have been honored.

jhawkinsf 6 years ago

And we're getting back to the discussion we had the other day. Was a promise made. Let's see it. Surely in a multi-billion dollar contract a provision like this would have been included. Right? If it wasn't included, then either we've hired ourselves some pretty poor contract writers, or perhaps the contract was not based on a promise as much as on a hope.

jafs 6 years ago

I imagine that these sorts of things don't usually include language in a written contract.

The promise would have been to our elected officials, who then helped them get to bid on a contract at the federal level. That contract would be written as they always are, and have no language relating to our state in them.

Perhaps they could have had Boeing sign something promising the jobs if they got the contract, but I doubt they could have gotten them to do that. In the "business friendly" climate you seem to favor, businesses have a lot of power.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Like I said in a post below-- the smart move would have been to cancel the entire project for these tankers, and the closing of the Wichita plant would have been an entirely reasonable response from Boeing as they react to the dismantling of the military industrial complex.

And that would have freed up a lot of money and skilled workforce to do something actually useful.

jhawkinsf 6 years ago

Was the contract between Boeing and the state of Kansas or was it between Boeing and the U.S. government. I might agree with you if Boeing was in breach of some provision of the contract. Are they? Or was this contract passed with the hope that work would be done in Wichita. I have no problem holding Boeing to the terms of the contract. That's what contracts are for. Has there been a breach of contract or was the promise made with a wink and a nod? I'm not sure winks and nods are legally binding.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Sure, it was a promise between corrupt politicians and equally corrupt corporate climbers, so no integrity can be expected in whatever "deal" they made.

But that still doesn't make it right, does it?

jayhawkinsf 6 years ago

The politicians may be corrupt, but they're not stupid. The fact is that hundreds of politicians pass these bills hoping that some of the pork (work, jobs, money) will flow down to their district. This time it didn't come to Wichita. It's the way the system works. And it's our system. If we all want to blame anyone, look in the mirror.

jafs 6 years ago

You're the one who advocates for "business friendly" government - this is the outcome.

If we don't help them get contracts, they'll move their business elsewhere, so we'd better help them.

If we require them to sign something in order to do that, they'll take their business elsewhere, so we shouldn't do that.


jayhawkinsf 6 years ago

In a vacuum, you're system works. In the real world, it won't.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

" If we all want to blame anyone, look in the mirror."

Like jafs points out, you're the one who advocates for this system of crony capitalism, not me.

jayhawkinsf 6 years ago

You're both misrepresenting my position. I've said I'm O.K. with incentives if and only if there is a benefit to the political entity giving the incentive. And I've called for an independent analysis of whether or not an incentive will actually benefit the people giving the incentive. This is not the case here. I suspect that if an actual promise were made, in a contract, or on a napkin at a lunch, our two senators would be waving it in front of every T.V, camera in the state. Because that hasn't happened, I'm more of the belief that what really happened was that we hoped the jobs would come here.
Of course, IF there was an incentive given to Boeing by the U.S. government, AND if there is a net benefit to the people of the U.S., THEN I'd be in favor of it. But again, if we elect senators who can't even get a promise written on a napkin, then we need to elect different senators. That's on us.

Kookamooka 6 years ago

Funny how pro-business government gets screwed by big business....just like every one else. :)

Brock Masters 6 years ago

I think Anna would have been critical of the Congressional delegation if they didn't do anything to keep Boeing here.

One might argue if corporations are people or not, but you can't argue that they are not charities. They are businesses who primary purpose is to make money.

It sounds like Anna doesn't like capitalism and the ability of a business to move locations. Is she advocating for government control of the business? Yes, Kansas lost a company here and that is a terrible lost for our state, but two other states gained. It happens.

We need to move on, create an environment that is attractive to business (and I agree one in which we do not sell our souls) and realize that our current system like all others is not perfect, but it is the best.

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

Actually, all the letter writer is attempting to do (and very poorly at that) is link Mitt Romney with Boeing as part of "Corporate America."

As Romney's stature rises, liberal Democrat shills will increase their wailing and gnashing of teeth.

While Boeing's decision was an unethical betrayal to many Kansans who had dealt with Boeing in good faith, our future president had nothing to do with it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Romney is the candidate of the .01%, and he doesn't even make any bones about it.

Obama has done pretty well at representing the .01%, as well. But Romney is going to make it easy for Obama to once again make the case that he's the president for the rest of us (even if he isn't.)

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

You wish. Romney will clean Obama's clock, liberal Democrats know it, and the knives are being sharpened as we speak.

Rather than getting out the knives, your side would be much wiser to nominate Hillary, but it looks like that ain't gonna happen.

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

Bozo, did you ask that my comment be deleted? I should have thought that you would have recognized it to be in the best of camaraderie and good spirit, which it was.

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

It was in response to Bozo's assertion, "My mom can beat up your mom," and in my opinion it asked a legitimate question.

beatrice 6 years ago

It really is a poorly written, convoluted letter, but what do you expect. It is still early in the process. Attacks against Romney will get streamlined over time, don't you worry.

In the meantime cato, maybe you can help me out with this one. Is it fair to call Romney a "liar" since Gingrich calls him one, or is calling Romney a liar only reserved for fellow Republicans?

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

When a liar calls someone else a "liar," I don't listen any further.

beatrice 6 years ago

Are you saying that if Gingrich wins the nomination you will oppose his election? Interesting.

beatrice 6 years ago

I have to agree. Only one I see winning, and possibly winning it all, is Romney. Don't think he will win it all, but he is the only one I see independents possibly voting for.

My prediction is that Obama will win re-election, it will be by a large margin than his past win, but there will be fewer people actually voting.

Who knows. I could be wrong. Even if we end up with President Santorum, I'll wish him well.

Jeff Zamrzla 6 years ago

shills? wow, that tells us you are a faux nues junkie. What did rush the limp druggie say about democratic party shills?

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

Don't know what you mean, but here's the Webster's definition if you're unfamiliar with the word:


jaywalker 6 years ago

"Next time our delegates rave about the virtues of an unfettered capitalistic system, let’s remember this Boeing fiasco"

'Cept it wasn't 'unfettered', now was it? Bureacracy in D.C. made that call that killed Boeing in Wichita. Pretty "fettered."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"Bureacracy in D.C. made that call that killed Boeing in Wichita. Pretty "fettered.""

No, the bureaucracy that killed it is in Chicago.

jaywalker 6 years ago

" Citing Pentagon budget-cutting, Boeing now says it’s shuttering the 92-building operation in Wichita and eliminating most of the 2,160 jobs now there." http://www.investorplace.com/2012/01/boeings-wichita-pullout-has-kansas-seething/

The Pentagon is in Chicago? Who knew. And wasn't it the feds that said no to Boeing's plant in SC due to union issues as well?

yourworstnightmare 6 years ago

This is what federal budget cuts will look like. Get used to it.

jaywalker 6 years ago

Thanks for stating the incredibly obvious. The merely obvious will do.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"Boeing now says"

Note carefully who was doing the saying and the shuttering. Their headquarters are in Chicago, not Washington. And last I checked, Boeing still has the tanker contract they got to a large extent because they were promising that much of the work would be done in Wichita.

Now if the smart thing had been done in Washington-- canceling the entire tanker project, saving taxpayers/cutting the deficit by many $billions-- then closing the Wichita plant would be entirely justified.

jayhawkinsf 6 years ago

I wonder where you're getting your information that the contract was signed "to a large extent" because work would be done in Wichita. A contract like this would have been worked out using thousands of people in many different fields. I find it unlikely that the votes of Congresspeople from around the country based their vote on the work being done in Kansas. The same is true for the Senators. True again for the many in the military and true again for the many contractors and sub-contractors. All their work just to make sure the work is done here? I doubt that.
What is far more likely is that you're opposed to much of the military spending and that part about "to a large extent" is something you just made up.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"I wonder where you're getting your information"

From our legislative delegation.

Where are you getting yours?

jaywalker 6 years ago

Aaah. We're in the familiar bozo "make things up to fit my position" zone.

"to a large extent because they were promising that much of the work would be done in Wichita."

How brown are your eyes? Seriously?

And yes, of course you're right, what does the military need tankers for?

What a maroon.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"What a maroon."

What is a "maroon," and exactly what part does it play in constructing and adult-level argument?

Jeff Zamrzla 6 years ago

huh? do actually do more than read these posts? what bureaucracy are you talking about? It was a corporate decision, based on maximizing returns to investors. Gordon Gecko said it, "greed is good," the ethos of business doesn't care about people, it cares about maximizing profits.

jaywalker 6 years ago

Do your own homework, yellowdog. Of course the corp. made the move, but only after being hamstrung by the good folks in D.C..

yourworstnightmare 6 years ago

Capitalism is not at fault here, rather cronyism.

Boeing was given special incentives to stay, and had the Kansas governor and congressional delegation doing their bidding in order to secure a $35 billion defense contract.

Boeing made the best decision based upon its mission, to make money.

It is naive to think that a corporation is going to go against maximizing profits to keep some promise.

The sooner all politicians realize this, the better off we will all be. Corporations need to be treated like professional self-interested parties, and states and governments also need to behave as professional, self-interested parties.

The corporation is not your buddy.

yourworstnightmare 6 years ago

Do you favor cuts to the federal budget? This is what they will look like.

yourworstnightmare 6 years ago

Corporations create jobs because they must in order to turn a profit.

They do not create jobs out of the goodness of their hearts.

Jobs cost corporations money and take away from their bottom line. Jobs are in the corporate expense column as a cost of doing business.

When there are no consumers for a corporation's widget, the corporation will stop making that widget and will lay off widget makers and certainly won't create any new jobs making widgets.

It always amazes me that those who most enshrine capitalize understand it the least.

beatrice 6 years ago

Sorry to correct you, but jobs do not cost corporations money. Corporations hire people to fill specific needs in order to profit further from the hiree's labor / time / knowledge. They make money off of their workers. Corporations could not practice business and would not turn a profit without workers.


(the above is a worker's fist held up in solidarity.)

jafs 6 years ago

ywn is pointing out, quite correctly, I think, that corporations simply exist to make money.

In their efforts to do that, they have to hire people, but if they could figure out a way to profit without hiring anybody, they would probably stop hiring.

This is an attempt to counter the "job creator" rhetoric that is so prevalent on the right, if I'm reading it right.

A more correct term for a corporation would be a "profit maker", or something like that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

And the fact is, many equity firms make money precisely by eliminating jobs, not creating them (and Romney's Bain is a prime example of this.)

Brock Masters 6 years ago

beatrice, not so sorry to correct you :) but jobs do cost corporations money. Yes, they make money because of the jobs, but the salaries are expenses, hence they cost the company money.

For example, a steel company makes money off the iron ore it turns into steel, but the iron ore costs the company money. Employees are resources that can be used like the iron ore, but they do indeed cost the company money.

beatrice 6 years ago

Nope. You are looking at it from the wrong direction. Jobs make corporations money. Without someone there to extract the iron ore (your example), to process it, to sell it, to do all the stuff that needs to be done for the iron to reach the end consumer, the company isn't going to make a dime. The jobs people are doing make it possible for the corporation to turn a profit, thus the jobs make the corporation their money. There is a cost for those jobs, of course, just as there are costs for equipment, but that doesn't negate the fact that the jobs people do are what make money for the corporations. If they didn't ever have to hire anyone in order to make their money, they wouldn't. They do hire people because they know people doing the necessary work will make them the money the corporation desires.

That doesn't mean each worker doesn't have to have a specific task or that redundancy in the work force will add to the bottom line, just that without jobs being done by workers corporations aren't making anything -- not a product and not a profit. Corporations need to offer jobs in order to make a profit. They rely on the worker to make their money.

Power to the worker! (I swear, I'm ready to march!)

Brock Masters 6 years ago

I understand what you're saying about a company profiting from its workers, but the salary they pay them is an expense. It does cost the company money to employ workers. You can't deny that it does.

If a company automates and can lay off workers then it is cutting costs isn't it? Ergo, workers do cost companies money.

Yes, workers can make money for a company, but they are still an expense.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

The salaries paid to workers is definitely an expense.

But part of the reason we now see a real unemployment rate approaching 20% is that the modern capitalist mindset has reduced workers (humans beings) to nothing more than expenses that need to be eliminated.

With that line of thinking, will capitalism only be seen as truly successful when the real unemployment rate exceeds 99%?

beaujackson 6 years ago

The "handwriting" was on the wall for Wichita when the sign changed from Boeing to Spirit.

lucky_guy 6 years ago

Here is another angle: This is from today"s KC Star The understandable ire in The Star’s Jan. 5 editorial, “Shame on Boeing for deserting Kansas,” is misplaced. It was reported a few weeks ago that Boeing had cut a deal with the machinists union and the National Labor Relations Board. My first question was, what was the payoff extracted from Boeing?

It’s now obvious that the price was to throw another right to work state, Kansas, under the bus, at the demand of the union backed up by the Obama administration.

Boeing had to agree to put additional work into its Renton, Wash., plants to placate the machinists. The cost in not doing so would have been an inability to start production in a new billion-dollar plant in South Carolina, which produces the 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing has its entire future and survival bet on this. To stand firm against the blackmail of the government could very well have been betting the company on the administration actually following the law.

It’s a shame, but they succumbed to the blackmail because they couldn’t count on the law being followed. More than 2,000 Kansans lose good jobs, and an almost 90-year, quality corporate citizen no longer makes airplanes in our state." Did you get that "throw another right to work state under the bus". If I was a Democrat in Wisconsin or Indiana I would blow this up and post it on the Legislature's door. Ks had no recourse and so was vunerable, we brought this on ourselves.

jayhawklawrence 6 years ago

We have no in depth understanding of what prompted Boeing to have to leave town but already people are trying to score political points with it.

What a bunch of crap.

This is a good example of why our political system has become completely dysfunctional.

People are ready to take sides already without understanding how brainwashed they are by the politics, BS and propaganda they keep feeding us through the media.

If you want to become anti-business and be a left wing liberal that is a choice. If you want to be anti-labor far right wing wacko that is a choice.

However, most Americans are simply caught in the middle and are frustrated by a loss of confidence in our leaders.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

Boeing's going, and LearJet's growing.

Did anyone else read the news?

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