Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Bend Over II

David Brooks this morning in the NYT takes on the asinine sweetheart deal that certain congressional Repugs are trying to ram through to force the government to pay billions more than the airplanes are worth to Boeing to lease (not buy, lease) 100 767 airliners to convert to Air Force tanker aircraft.

The main critique is that it is ridiculously expensive to lease planes, rather than buy them. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the leasing option will cost taxpayers an extra $5.6 billion, though scandal connoisseurs will appreciate that the deal also involves the use of "special purpose entities," the accounting mechanisms used by Enron executives in their glory days.

But the content of the legislation is as pure as the driven snow, compared with the way it has been pushed through Washington. The chief Air Force official pushing the deal was Darleen Druyun. As The Washington Post reported yesterday, Druyun has recently left the Air Force and gone to work for Boeing. She sold her $692,000 northern Virginia home to a Boeing lawyer. Her daughter works for Boeing. None of this may be illegal or even wrong, but is this what makes you proud to be an American?

This deal stinks like rotten meat, friends. Oppose, oppose, oppose.

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