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Freedom's Frontier Stalls as Senator Brownback Fumes

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A March 1'st , 2008 article published in the Washington Times , entitled, "Boeing Loses Bid to Build Tankers to Its Rival" stated :

"The Pentagon yesterday passed over Boeing's bid for a $40 billion contract to build a fleet of refueling tankers for the Air Force, instead choosing a team that includes Boeing's European rival Airbus.

The team of Northrop Grumman and European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS), Airbus's parent company, will build an initial fleet of 179 tankers. The contract to supply the tankers had initially been awarded to Boeing, but was withdrawn in 2004 over a procurement scandal that resulted in officials from Boeing and the Air Force being sent to prison.

For EADS, Boeing's rival in the commercial aviation industry, winning means getting a foot in the door of the U.S. military aircraft business. For Boeing, losing means that its 767 line will probably be shut down at some point as commercial sales for the plane decline. "

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Great, just what this country needs, more jobs leaving during a time in which jobs are scarce and the dollar is falling.

Times have been especially tough for the aircraft industry, and it looks like times are going to be even tougher now that the EADS corporation has gotten their foot into the American military market.

A March 24, 2008 posting on Business News.Com ("Air Force tankers fly on borrowed time" ) stated that:

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"The tanker deal would have meant 3,800 jobs in Wichita { if Boeing } had won the contract. "He has made it abundantly clear that, if president, he would be indifferent to the outsourcing of American jobs, even at a time when our families and our nation's economy are hurting the most," said Larry Gates, chairman of the Kansas Democratic Party"

According to the March 18, 2008 issue of the Wichata Eagle, U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R) Kansas, told a group of Wichata business leaders that the EADS corporation has an unfair advantage in obtaining the tanker contract...

"Standing with a bar graph depicting billions of dollars in foreign government subsidies to a consortium of European aircraft companies, Sen. Sam Brownback on Monday stressed that a massive tanker contract must be overturned.

It was the latest in a string of harsh criticism of the Air Force's decision to award a $35 billion contract to the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., Airbus' parent company, and Northrop Grumman, instead of to the Boeing Co., to build the next generation of aerial-refueling tankers.

Brownback said U.S. government figures show the European companies received $5 billion in subsidies that were intended to jump-start their commercial aircraft program. Now that subsidy is undercutting an American company on a military contract, Brownback told about 150 people at a downtown Rotary lunch at the Broadview Hotel.

'Do you think Boeing could launch a good aircraft with $5 billion?' he asked.

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The crowd of business leaders and government officials applauded loudly when Brownback said the contract decisions should be overturned.

Brownback said the tanker deal 'popped us right in the jaw' in Kansas. He later noted that he is working with other officials to determine the full economic impact of losing the contract.

'I'm still mad about this,' he said"

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Clint E. Lacy is a friend of freedom and a Southern author and activist. He resides in the Ozark Foothills of Southeast Missouri.

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