Boeing Ripping Off Taxpayers Despite Corporate Media’s “Fake News”
Despite corporate media “fake news” reports Trump is right about Boeing ripping off taxpayers for Air Force One.
The corporate media continues to unleash an avalanche of attacks against President-elect Donald Trump over every decision he makes.
Just a few days ago he was blasted for making a deal with Carrier to keep a U.S factory up and running while save up to 2,000 jobs.
Then they blasted him for making a deal with a Japanese company to invest $50 billion in the U.S. alongside a commitment of creating 50,000 jobs inside the United States.
Then they blasted Trump over Apple deciding to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States.
Despite the corporate media trying to defend globalism in each of these instance, solely for the financial benefit of their multi-national parent companies, polls have repeatedly shown U.S. voters overwhelming favor these deals across the political spectrum, such as in the case of Carrier.
In their latest round of “fake news” the United States corporate media has decided to blast Trump for calling out Boeing for massively over pricing U.S. taxpayers for the next generation of Air Force one.
For example The Washington Post points out: not only did Trump’s tweet about canceling the contract with Boeing cause the stock price to drop but they even go further with their “fake news” asking if he did it out of bad temperament
Did Donald Trump tank Boeing’s stock because he was mad about a news article?
Shares of stock in aircraft manufacturer Boeing fell nearly $2 a share before markets opened on Tuesday.
The reason? A tweet from the president-elect.
Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
Were Boeing to lose a $4 billion contract, that would certainly cause people to be skeptical of future earnings. But this, as seems always to be the case with Donald Trump tweets, is not the full story.
As our Christian Davenport reports, the contract with Boeing is currently $170 million. The government’s plan to replace Air Force One actually involves two different planes which would serve future presidents for years to come. Boeing won the contract in 2015; the new planes are expected to be operational in about a decade. The $170 million isn’t for manufacturing, after all. It’s for Boeing’s work “determin[ing] the capabilities” of the planes they will eventually produce.
Despite the Washington’s Post’s lies which convinces readers that the contract is only $170 million, when in fact that is what U.S taxpayers have already spent they double down on their fake news claim this amount is just for “discovery” of what the “capabilities” or what we call in my line of work “functionality requirements” should be.
Of course, to any educated reader there should be immediate projectile vomit at the though to $170 million being spent to determine what the functionality requirements of the next generation of Air Force One should be.
That is an absurd amount of government waste, more than enough to give thousands of homeless veterans a home and fix Flint Michigan’s lead problems while fixing Lake Okeechobee’s overflow problems in Florida among a myriad of other things.
But the even sicker part about Washington Post’s latest “fake news” article is that $170 million isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.
In fact, there is $2 billion budgeted for Research and Development for the next generation of Air Force One which most Americans probably wouldn’t even hiccup about if it weren’t for the fact that the next generation is in fact nothing more than a minor upgrade on an obsolete design of an obsolete aircraft.
There will be no major improvements. No major upgrades. The existing design will only have minor upgrades of an inefficient commercially obsolete model Boeing design over 30 years ago that they no produce commercially.
Here’s a better explanation via Zero Hedge:
The designation/callsign “Air Force One” has been around since around the time of WWII, with FDR being the first president to fly while in office. Since 1943, with only a couple exceptions, the Air Force has been flying custom versions of Boeing commercial airliners for the presidential flight mission. Most recently replaced in 1990, the president currently flies in a modified 747 with the military designation “VC-25”; two copies were produced for a cost of $325 million apiece, and the callsign “Air Force One” is only used when the president is onboard.
Even though it is still extremely advanced, Air Force One is due for a replacement. Currently, the operating cost for each VC-25 is $210,877 per hour; an extremely high figure, likely because of the dated nature and high maintenance costs of both the airframe and the avionics suite.
However, with a total program cost estimated to be around $4 billion dollars, Boeing is clearly gouging the taxpayer. The newest derivative of Air Force One will end up being over six times as expensive as the last one, which was built on the same airframe. I guess Boeing just thought the higher price tag was going to slip through the cracks of a bloated DoD budget?
The older 747-200 the current VC-25s were derived from has been out of production since 1991, with the 747-8 being the current variant under production. Boeing has considered ending production of the 747 altogether, once its current backlog of 21 aircraft orders (including the VC-25 replacements) is fulfilled.
The relative inefficiency of the 747 is the top reason for its decline. It has lost the highest trafficked overseas routes to the Airbus A380, which the 747 once dominated. Also, commercial and cargo airlines have largely switched to more efficient Boeing 777s and 787s, as well as the Airbus A340 and A350, with twin engines and newer, more efficient designs cutting their costs far below that of the 747. While it could be argued that the Air Force should modify a twin-engine Boeing jet such as the 777 or 787 instead, their desire for a larger four-engine jet to transport our nation’s leader is understandable, given the dangers the jet could face.
Which one of the two pictured is “Air Force One”?
Critics have come out in force to justify the ridiculous cost of the Air Force One program, though they seem more interested in criticizing the president-elect than they do in explaining the aircraft’s price tag. In a USA Today article detailing Trump’s attack on the cost of the AF1 program, aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia didn’t provide any evidence to support an increased cost for the jets, instead choosing to criticize the president-elect for daring to mention that the aircraft is grossly overpriced.Richard Aboulafia, aviation analyst at the Teal Group, said the current Air Force One planes were made in the 1980s and have become obsolete. The planes are equipped with state-of-the-art communications technology and defense mechanisms to survive nuclear war or terrorist attacks, he said.
Anything in the $3 billion to $4 billion range would be reasonable, and a belief otherwise is “completely ignorant,” he said.
“This is the wrong place to talk about cost control,” Aboulafia said. “People aren’t upset in Washington about a relatively small program being canceled. They’re upset we have a president who doesn’t understand what is needed to be president.”
Aboulafia wants you to believe that not only has the cost of replacing Air Force One gone up so drastically due to inflation, higher materials costs, redevelopment of an existing airframe, or whatever ridiculous expenditure he didn’t cite, he seems to be implying that the current VC-25s don’t already have similar EMP and nuclear/biological/chemical protections built into them already. Of course, AF1 has all of that and more, and it is by far the most sophisticated VVIP transport plane in the world, even at 25+ years old. Even the aircraft’s maintenance crews know that despite its age, it is anything but obsolete.
There was no mention from USA Today that even the original contract estimation of $1.65 billion dollars for the pair of VC-25s was already a significant markup upon an airframe that had been previously modified by the Air Force for the AF1 role, and should not have been nearly that expensive to do again in the first place. Bear in mind, as USA Today stated, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently reappraised the program’s cost to the $4 billion dollar figure, noting it would be “including $2 billion for research and development”. How exactly is this price tag considered “reasonable”?
For reference, the other “most expensive” airplane in the Air Force’s inventory, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, is estimated to cost about the same $2 billion per copy as the new VC-25s. However, the high per-unit cost of the B-2 is due to the buy being cut from 132 to 21, after the end of the cold war, averaging a high R&D cost across a much smaller number of aircraft. Had the Air Force bought even another 20 of the planned units, they could have been purchased for $566 million each. Coincidentally, the Air Force’s new stealth bomber, the B-21, is estimated to cost about $511 million a copy (before the appropriate cost overruns, of course).
So the MSM, and our government for that matter, is OK with a replacement Air Force One being six times as expensive as its predecessor, and about as costly as four new copies of already ridiculously overpriced stealth bombers. And the MSM is also somehow critical of the president-elect for bring this to light. Is it any wonder they feel the need to defend their bias by calling alternative coverage “fake”?
Trump is correct to call out Boeing for this injustice they are doing to the taxpayer. Not only is he calling attention to another runaway military expenditure, he is putting all government contractors on notice. Whether the MSM believes the president should be focusing his attention elsewhere or not, he is demonstrating that he is not afraid to call out any contract size or any contractor for gouging the taxpayer.
Hopefully, Trump’s conduct will keep government contractors’ heads on swivels, and wary of the repercussions of overbilling on government contracts for as long as he is president. Still, our government spends close to $4 trillion annually, and Trump cannot be everywhere at once. Don’t be surprised when reports of more over-budget, behind schedule government programs appear during his presidency.