As an Air Force veteran involved in aircraft operations for most of my career, I have a lot of respect for Boeing. However, Boeing is not a U.S. government entity but a large and robust worldwide corporation. It’s in the business of making money whether producing aircraft for the U.S. Navy, McHale’s Navy or any of the foreign countries that currently possess the aircraft they produce.
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern started a column in the BND last week with national defense, then drilled his way down and finally arrived at the real burr under his saddle. Let’s cut to the chase. The Boeing manufacturing facility located at the county’s fiscally challenged MidAmerica Airport would be in jeopardy if production tailed off.
Determining the Navy’s actual requirements is a pretty complex and controversial process. Not only is Congress conflicted, but diverse opinions exist in that five-sided building known as the Pentagon, as well as in the aviation industry. It appears Kern is a bit off base when he writes that it’s “one of the easiest decisions in our military budget today.”
Funding would be a classic case of having to take from Peter to pay Paul. I’m not sure Peter, unless he’s a saint, is willing to volunteer to go without.
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Consider Kern’s situation. He’s accustomed to unilateral decision-making and throwing money around as if the taxpayer-funded stream will never go dry. Drumming up business for MidAmerica is his job. Attempting to wrap the airport’s fiscal woes in the American flag is not.