Hypocritical Boeing

by Don Boudreaux on May 7, 2011

in Trade

Here’s another letter to the Wall Street Journal on the current, obnoxious attempt by the NLRB to protect labor-union members from competition:

Boeing is justifiably upset that the NLRB seeks to prevent it from buying labor services from lower-priced South Carolinians rather than from higher-priced labor-union members in Washington state (Letters, May 7).

I’m delighted that Boeing now feels strongly that government has no business forcing buyers to spend their money in accordance with the wishes of whining suppliers rather than according to how those buyers freely choose to spend their money.  So I trust that Boeing will quit its long-standing practice of lobbying Uncle Sam for policies that artificially raise airlines’ costs of buying jetliners made by Airbus rather than by Boeing.

Donald J. Boudreaux

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John V May 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Now, now.

Boeing pays DC lobbyists a lot of money to why convince…er, explain…why those two ideas are not the same. ;)

Scott Murphy May 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Boeing uses washington like it was part of their marketing division.

amdeming May 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I found this letter from Boeing’s internal counsel to be a very interesting read:


vidyohs May 7, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Lobbying, lawsuits, countersuits, subsidies, scandals, lies, lawyers, governments, NRLB coercion and legal mapilulations, unions, wages, outsourcing threats, funding, history, lions, tigers, and bears…..oh My!

I understand there is 500 acres of river front land for sale in New Mexico at a fantastic price……..is it possible to dream of starting vidyohs Gulch there.

Tom May 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

But w/o Boeing, who would make military aircraft for the government?

Randy May 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Seriously. My first thought when I heard about this was that Boeing should simply ignore the NLRB.

E.G. May 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm

The airline business is one of those “natural monopolies” that is hard to simply sweep away with just saying “stop lobbying”. I’d expect a bit more rigorous analysis from an economist on what determines and “raises” prices of airliners. They are not like selling cars or computers. After all, there’s nothing stopping an airline from buying a Tupolev POS aircraft instead for 1/10 the price.

On the military side, the issue is that there is only one customer. This also requires a bit more rigorous analysis. There’s only a few options of what sort of market emerges when there is only one customer.

Interestingly, I was interviewing for a position at the new Charleston plant, but the process was unexpectedly cut short once all this mess started. Thanks Unions.

dsylexic May 8, 2011 at 6:38 am

nonsense.your attempts at bringing monopsony into this are as bogus as joan robinson’s attempts.the govt is not a market.it is a coercive monopoly

kyle8 May 8, 2011 at 8:16 am

I suppose that you say it is a natural monopoly due to the high capital cost of creating an airplane manufacturing plant. However, in this case there is a clear consumer choice between at least two competing products so monopoly does not enter into it.

E.G. May 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm

There’s clearly a choice between far more than 2 manufacturers. You can buy Russian, Chinese…and for regional jets you can buy from several companies. And yet airliners still buy Boeing or Airbus. And the reasons for this are far more complex than just attributing it all to lobbying.

muirgeo May 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Why is it any more obnoxious for labor unions and their representatives to petition the government in their interest than it is for their employers like Boeing to do so?

Marcus May 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm

If that’s what you got out of what Don wrote then I think you need to re-read it.

rmv May 8, 2011 at 12:15 am

You’re assuming he can actually read

brotio May 8, 2011 at 1:22 am

Since everyone here (except you) thinks it’s wrong for the government to grant special favors to corporations; why don’t you explain why you think it’s OK for corporations and labor unions to petition the government for special favors?

maximus May 8, 2011 at 2:14 am

He doesn’t know. It’s not part of the political party propaganda template.

MWG May 8, 2011 at 1:57 am

Reading comprehension FAIL.

Dan May 8, 2011 at 4:30 am

If employees of Boeing dont like expansion of a business into another region, simply due to not being compulsed into unionization, then quit and find another job. The unions have no argument.

Mark Anthem May 8, 2011 at 6:46 am

Like Peikoff’s Ominous Parallels, you are once again witnessing a complete dominance and destruction of trade by zealotrous hypocrites who wielding their state power with increasing belligerence.

Boeing, once a productive honeybee, is now the latest victim of a murderous swarm of africanized economic killer bees. There is only one reality, and each human being has a capacity to discover and know this reality using his senses and his reason. I must admit though, the modern proclivity to aggregrate people is a troublesome and possibly insurmountable barrier for my mind to overcome. A breakdown of the nouns in Don’s post:

I – the learned writer of this letter. A well documented thinker who captains an American website with the 50,000th most visitors.

NLRB – Is General Counsel Lafe Solomon & 40 unelected Administrative Law Judges, a 5 member presidentially appointed board, and 52 regional offices. Currently launching a full out war against the 22 right-to-work states.

Boeing – Chicago Defense Manufacturer with 160,500 employees, 3.3 billion annual profit and 2.7 billion in equity. All this wealth and effort is at the mercy of one tyrant: Lafe Solomon.

These sets of people below are such large groups, I don’t know what can be said about them objectively:

American labor-union members Richard Trumka & 16,100,000 others.

South Carolinians – Ben Bernancke & 4,600,000 others

Washington state labor union members – Wilma Liebman & 552,000 others.

American Government Barack Obama & 20 million others

Buyers – Lady Gaga & 115 million other households

Suppliers (does this mean money?) – 6.9 billion people generate 5 billion ounces of gold / 74 Trillion dollars in annual economic output.
Suppliers (power & energy?) –

Terrestrial Solar Power – 3,850,000 Exojules per year.
Wind – 2,250 Exojules per year
Biomass – 3,000 Exojules per year
Total annual primary energy use of 6.9 billion people – 500 Exojules

John D. McConnico May 8, 2011 at 8:01 am

Boeing is not being hypocritical.
The right to petition the gov is guaranteed in the Constitution for Boeing as well as the New England Textile Mills.
The problem is gov responding to small segments of the citizenry because they are so in bed with special interest who donate so much money to help them get re-elected.


kyle8 May 8, 2011 at 8:21 am

hhhmmm, petition the Government for redress of grievances. But is that a grievance against the government or a grievance against your fellow citizens?

muirgeo May 8, 2011 at 10:51 am

Boeing is NOT a citizen.

Marcus May 8, 2011 at 11:24 am

Neither is a union.

Ken May 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm


Tim May 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Boeing are citizens. People do not forfeit their rights by collaborating in corporation with one another.

Dan May 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Exactly! Incorporation is not a forfeiture of rights. Boeing has the rite to move operations to wherever it sees fit, and govt entities have no rite in creating obstacles to prevent Boeing from doing so.
This attempt by Obama appointees on the NLRB is political and a case of govt run amok. Like a diseased dog, govts ability to interfere must be euthanized ( not people or revolution but reduced capacity of govt by reformulation to the principles of limited govt.) .

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