Yep, you can take the boy out of the country (in my case Custer County), but you can’t take the country out of the boy. I come proudly from farm stock though I’ve spent most of my adult life residing in such major metropolitan areas as New York (Queens), Los Angeles, Chicago (17th floor on LSD between Erie and Ontario, with decadent Treasure Island Foods in-house), Detroit and Philadelphia (Bala Cynwyd, with a special howdy to Bryn Mawr).
That snooty urbanization certainly doesn’t keep me from enjoying, via cable, one of the most down to earth undertakings in all the land; bull riding. After the life insurance is paid up, give me a full skipped bull rope with a couple of slide keepers and a 5 musky tail, throw in special spurs with nasty rowels and tell the hand to pull open that gate. I’m ready to give up my well being to a beast whose one goal in life is to throw me off its back and stomp and gore my pitiful frame into little broken pieces.
Excuse my flight of semi-retirement fancy. I’m not really ready to ride bulls and I never again will be, though, when a callow youth, I did give some of the younger stock a try. It didn’t take more than a handful of 2 or 3 second dirt journeys (never the full 8 second pro requirement) to deed my imaginary bull riding exploits to the truly great and courageous practitioners like current Professional Bull Rider (PBR) champ, J.B. Mauney, a 26-year-old Moorseville, North Carolina cowboy, who unseated (pardon the pun) the world’s top bull rider, and two-time defending champion, Silvano Alves. And don’t forget the Rodeo Clowns, who, with little credit, save more lives per year than almost any other professionals.
I’ve taken this circuitous route as an introduction to a ‘sport’ that resembles the excitement and dangers of bull riding. I call it Corporate Bull-S**t riding. The bulls are huge corporations. The riders are naive, greedy and desperate states that jump aboard for the riotous few seconds of a promise to locate in their state. Like their human counterparts, most of the states will eventually end up being tossed painfully aside with the same degree of conscience that a bull possesses. In a word; zero. And while I feel distressed for the pain and suffering of the valiant cowboy riders, my sympathy for the states involved barely registers.
The latest bull(censored) corporation is a grizzled veteran of the BS’ing game, good old Boeing. Countless states are falling all over themselves to give away taxpayer money, approaching and often exceeding a billion dollars (one offer is 9 billion), to a hugely wealthy airplane builder with a dollar backlog of orders exceeding the economies of many small countries. But that doesn’t stop Boeing from hustling masochistic states for every tax break, incentive and infrastructure tidbit they can get for the glory of putting together something called 777X. These same states are unable to dig up even a few hundred bucks a month for minorities, the poor, disabled, sick, elderly and all others who don’t have the ‘right’ political connections.
States that purportedly can’t even expand a Medicaid program that is currently free and the expansion, at most, will never cost more than 10% of the nut, suddenly have an enormous warehouse full of greenbacks totaling whatever amount is necessary to lure yet another giant, anti-union, low-wage, multi-billion dollar mooch across their borders.
Our local paper, in response to FedEx establishing a distribution center in our county, blared out the front-page headline “Delivering Jobs.” FedEx joins Amazon and their giant local center. You know the Amazon drill: Get the box, fill the box, carry the box, walk 10-15 miles daily, stick the full box somewhere; repeat. And they call these, “fulfillment centers.” Yippee ki yay!!!
Fedex is bringing in a grand total of 22 full-time jobs and 219 part-time jobs. Of course, part-time is the latest scam to keep corporate job costs at a minimum. So the consumer benefits from those lower costs, right? Ironically, in a separate financial page story a day later (teeny tiny article; buried deep in the wood pulp with but a few lines), we learn that Fed Ex plans to raise ground and Home Delivery rates by an average of 4.9% come January 7, of 2014. UPS,jacks ‘em up December 31st of this year. That’s for openers; the heavier the package over 30 lbs, the higher the rate. Read more about the rates here. All of this while the politician-benefactors of the FedEx and UPS PACs continue their dismantling and weakening of the United States Postal Service.
The free market working it’s magic.
Back to “a fine a day keeps pulling time in the joint away” Boeing. The nation’s largest aircraft manufacturer continues its Hatfields and McCoys relationship with its Machinists’ Union (the nerve of these union bastards not wanting Boeing to renege on its pension promises). Instead, Boeing wants a defined contribution plan. No guarantees for the employee, just a guarantee that investment companies can get their hooks into workers money and maybe lose it all.
The free market working it’s magic.
Miffed, Boeing is again fleeing union worker expertise, dangling the next generation of the 777 Jetliner in front of the mostly ‘right to work’ states for the privilege of assembling the new 777X, or at least some segment of parts contracts.
Alabama is a dirt-poor state except when it comes to giving corporations whatever they ask for. Last year, ‘Bama started construction on a facility for Boeing rival, Airbus, with tax breaks of $158 million for bond expenses plus free infrastructure improvements and something euphemistically called “building costs.” Does that means taxpayers are going to pick up a substantial portion of the estimated $600 million tab for the assembly plant in Mobile? The state is estimated to gain $409 million annually. Those dollars, if even remotely accurate, can go to incentives for yet another corporation..
Property tax revenues will increase by $126,000, a pittance for a project of this magnitude. I also wonder if fed-hater Alamaba, realizes how much these major aircraft manufacturers rely on orders from THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!!! In fact, the Mobile Airbus facility would have been a fait accompli years earlier had it not been for Boeing winning a huge government tanker contract.
In any event, Washington (a glutton for punishment), Kansas, Texas, North and South Carolina, Utah, Missouri, where the progressive Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, in approving substantial Boeing tax breaks, reluctantly bows to a witless bunch of Republican super-majority, super-radicals in the General Assembly, and yes, there’s Airbus Alabama, in the Boeing mix as well.
The best selling point of all is voiced almost universally by the individual state power-players, “Don’t worry about how you treat your workers. We’ll see to it that no unions will look out for their financial interests, safety, hours, overtime, supervisor maltreatment, maternity leave, pensions, reasonable and effective health insurance or humane breaks. You’ll make billions and, by the way, that dinner last night was delicious and I think our son is leaning toward Yale!”
Will your state be next to mount the corporate bull(y)? One second, two seconds, three seconds…!