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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

October 22, 2009 at 9:40 AM

These Boeing jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back

Top of the News: When Boeing executives announce a second 787 line in North Charleston, S.C., it will be the biggest non-surprise of the year. They’ve got the union in the Puget Sound region over a barrel, and secret talks for a “no strike” clause ultimately won’t change minds in Chicago, even if they succeed.

Does this mean the aerospace industry will begin a slow death here? Perhaps. Capital and ownership are in control in today’s economy, and workers have little bargaining power. Consider the thousands of highly skilled airline mechanics that have lost their jobs as American air carriers have outsourced their maintenance to Third World Countries. A riveting NPR investigation shows the safety hazards involved. But no matter. Make sure your tray tables are stowed and seat backs are in their full, upright and locked position.

Did the union over-reach? Did the state of Washington do too little? Is the cultural poison inside Boeing too deep to heal? Did Boeing executives need a scapegoat and and excuse? Did they leave their roots and loyalties behind long ago? There will be plenty of time to assign blame. I hope I’m wrong. But the new Dreamliner work will be done elsewhere. The next 737? Maybe in El Salvador?

The Back Story: The effort to sustain the unsustainable has meant making trillions of dollars available to Wall Street so the banksters could get back to the swindles that led to the great crash. But average Americans catch on fast, as investigators say tens of thousands have defrauded the government with the first-time house buyer program.

This is further evidence of a misguided stimulus program. Too little money is going into forward-leaning infrastructure investments, research and seeing promising new industries. In other words, the kinds of things that would rebuild a real economy, rather than one that makes money off money, often by using complex, dangerous frauds, or reviving an unsustainable housing market. Capping the pay of a few executives at welfare-queen banks is a weak answer to a much broader problem.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Another point rise

for Leading Indicators

Where’s my job leading?

Comments | More in Aerospace/Boeing, Bailout

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