Good morning, all. Perhaps-not-so-Loyal-Reader Garth Blacker refers to my last Saturday's post when he points out (in this Seattle Times Article
) that the tiny peninsular emirate of Qatar has decided to go with Airbus, rather than Boeing, and how the American economy is "dependent on foreign investment". Far be it from me to claim any kind of specialized training in International Economics, but I feel it important that I clear up a misunderstanding. A huge
trade deficit with France existed long before this crisis - on the close order of $10.54 billion for 2001 (the latest complete year for which figures were available) - and while airplanes (and airplane parts) are one of the largest trade surplus items in the economy, even combined, it still only makes up only 7% of the total "Manufactured Goods" category of exports, and the (approximately) $20 billion surplus it brings in is a proverbial drop in the bucket to the $411 billion trade deficit the nation is operating under.
That works out to better than $1,128,400,000
per day. Every
day - rain, shine, or Federal Holiday. So the trade surplus brought into
the United States by the aviation industry is used up (and then some) in less than 2 1/2 weeks by all of the other trade deficit items. Such as fuel to push all those aircraft through the skies.
I also need to point out that much of the damage being done to the French economy is not through the aviation industry but in the high-end luxury items (such as wines and cheeses), and tourism. Another item worth pointing out is that the Paris Air Show is not the only marketplace for Boeing, and, further, that Boeing was having troubles before the no-show in Paris.
However, the troubles in France have very little to do with Boeing's troubles, and more to do with the fact that their economy has been shrinking for quite some time, as this report suggests
, and this BBC story from last November
also speculates. They have their own troubles with labor unions who make it almost impossible for their industries to lay off workers in slack times, and general strikes for increased benefits.
Here in the US, more companies are starting to see how unions can cause more problems than they solve, but in Europe (especially France), they have almost become a fourth branch of government, demanding mandatory retirement benefits after 37.5 years of work, full medical care by the government, and many other benefits that would seem extraordinarily excessive by American workers, including the ones up at Boeing. More information can be found on Steven Den Beste's site: here
, and here
. I agree with him, I just can't write as well as Mr. Den Beste does...
In other news, I note with extreme sorrow the passing of yet another screen legend, Hume Cronyn, of prostate cancer. He was 91. While his film career started almost 60 years ago, he is perhaps best known to modern movies audiences as the crazy great-uncle to Richard Pryor in the remake of Brewster's Millions
, as the diner owner in *batteries not included
, and as one of the senior citizens who were rejuvenated by the aliens in Ron Howard's Cocoon
and Cocoon: The Return
. (Those last three were alongside his then-wife, Jessica Tandy, before she died.)
He will be missed. May his family be comforted in their time of grief.
I've got to run, because I have an appointment in about 45 minutes. Have a great day!