Ex-Im Bank Backs Boeing, But Plane Nowhere to be Found - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Ex-Im Bank Backs Boeing, But Plane Nowhere to be Found

Several of our bloggers have written extensively on the Ex-Im Bank, so I probably don’t need to rehash their arguments. Suffice it to say, when it comes to crony capitalism, the Ex-Im bank’s customers are some of the worst offenders. We may talk about how the state siphons off millions to pay for things we don’t need, but through the Ex-Im bank, some ostensibly American companies have receved millions – even billions – of dollars in corporate welfare, all paid in full by taxpayers, without much benefit flowing back to the Americans who pay the bills.

Boeing, the aircraft company, is one of the largest recipients of Ex-Im bank funds, getting nearly $7.4 billion in taxpayer-funded guarantees in 2014 alone. And the U.S. taxpayer gets nothing for that $7.4 billion in risk we assume. So you’d think that when we employ Boeing to build, say, the the KC-46, a military refueling jet designed to replace the KC-135, an aircraft that was first introduced in 1956, that they’d jump at the chance to do as good a job as possible.

You’d think wrong.

What the US has actually gotten in return is something a rendition of “Yakety Sax” performed by Boeing’s executives. Just last year, the company discovered a “wiring problem” that added massive delays – and costs – to the project. KC-46 test flights were initially scheduled for 2014, but as a result of these delays, Boeing will not be able to test the KC-46 until this month – at the earliest. According to a GAO report, the KC-46 project will now have “significantly less testing” over three test months, compared with a plan of 13 test months at the start.

But, critically, the U.S. Air Force will have “less knowledge about the reliability of the aircraft,” potentially resulting in higher than expected costs and a “reduction in mission readiness,” the GAO said. At a time when the globe is more uncertain – with Russia invading neighbors and ISIS terrorizing the Middle East – men and women in uniform need to rely on their equipment. Real lives are at stake.

Maybe it’s time that we start getting a bit of return on our taxpayer investment.

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