Wednesday, May 31, 2017
BOEING: CUT, COLLECT, CASH OUT
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing continues to cut jobs, citing need to stay competitive — The Boeing Co.’s workforce in Washington dropped by 1,582 in April. That is the biggest month-over-month decline for the airplane maker since January 2003, when the company was struggling through a downturn begun with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Company leaders have said they expect to reduce jobs at about the same rate in 2017. Through the first four months of the year, Boeing has shed 2,823 jobs around Puget Sound.
► In yesterday’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing’s Washington tax-break savings in 2016: $242 million — “We continue to be extremely concerned about these tax breaks and the fact that the company employment is going down. That’s not what the taxpayers of Washington expected,” said SPEEA spokesman Bill Dugovich.
► From Aviation News — Boeing profits rise, deliveries fall (May 3) — Boeing reported declining costs boosted earnings for the latest quarter. Net income for the quarter ending March 31 rose 19% to $1.5 billion. The firm has been trimming jobs in its civil aviation division and CEO Dennis Muilenburg pledged to have a “sharp focus on performance and productivity” to reach its financial targets.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Local reporters who cover Boeing need to dive a bit deeper rather than simply accepting the “need to stay competitive” talking points of Boeing executives. Buried toward the end of a story in The (Everett) Herald last month is this nugget:
“Boeing executives have promised to keep sending more cash to shareholders and to boost profits to about 15 percent of revenue, more than 50 percent above the company’s performance last year. They also pledged to continue spending billions of dollars to buy back issued shares, driving up the value of outstanding shares.“
The truth is, Boeing is conducting massive job cuts and layoffs that rival the post-9/11 downturn largely because they want to boost the stock price via buybacks. Learn more here.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Former Gov. Mike Lowry remembered as proud liberal, quietly generous — Hundreds, including Gov. Jay Inslee and a host of other current and former elected officials, gathered for the memorial at the Renton church where Lowry was a congregant and where he volunteered for tasks from raking leaves to washing laundry for homeless men.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Rep. Jessyn Farrell to resign from Legislature to focus on Seattle mayor’s race — State Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-Seattle) will leave her seat in the Legislature to focus on her run for mayor. The move will allow Farrell to raise money for her mayoral bid. State lawmakers are barred from collecting campaign contributions as long as the Legislature is in session. The King County Democrats will hold a special meeting next month with precinct-committee officers from Farrell’s district to discuss who should succeed her.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The M.L. King County Labor Council is hosting a mayoral candidate forum entitled “Who Will Work for Workers?” this Thursday, June 1 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Seattle Labor Temple, 2800 1st Ave. Get details here and please RSVP to email@example.com if you plan to attend.
► From the Public News Service — Small businesses cheer House plan to change B&O taxes — As budget negotiations continue in Olympia, small business owners are supporting House Democrats’ plan to restructure the business and occupation tax. The House has proposed raising rates 20 percent for businesses making more than $250,000 in gross revenue and exempting any business smaller than that.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Rep. Matt Shea makes a desperate and silly attempt to shield himself from defamation lawsuit (by Shawn Vestal) — Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) — point guard for Team Bundy and proponent of the silly, hypothetical state of Liberty — is defending himself in a defamation lawsuit. Shea wraps himself crudely and simplistically in the Constitution at all times, but there is something extraordinary in the degree to which he attempts to co-opt “constitutionality” as his defense for claiming a sheriff’s deputy was linked to a triple murder.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Sale of BPA lines would bring higher power bills (editorial) — There’s nothing to be gained for Washington state and Northwest residents by selling off the BPA’s power lines. In return for a brief infusion of cash to pay for Trump’s tax cuts, we all get higher electric bills.
ALSO at The Stand — America for sale — cheap! (Needs work.)
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — County plans lawsuit over Spokane Tribe’s casino in Airway Heights — Spokane County leaders plan to sue the federal government over its role in approving the Spokane Tribe’s long-planned $400 million gaming and retail development on the West Plains.
► In today’s Washington Post — Why Republicans won’t go nuclear even for Obamacare repeal (by )– Why is McConnell dead-set against widening his own party’s unilateral ability to pass legislation? Because he knows it would hurt Republicans in the long-term. And it wouldn’t help them that much in passing a health-care bill now.
► In today’s Washington Post — The GOP hates red tape — except when it comes to poor people (by UCLA School of Law professor Noah Zatz) — Republicans revile bureaucratic rigidity when it inconveniences businesses or the wealthy. Yet they embrace it when it hurts the most vulnerable. We’ve seen this Republican red tape with onerous voter-ID requirements. The American Health Care Act passed by the House to repeal Obamacare is the latest example. Now pending in the Senate, the House bill would authorize states to impose work requirements on low-income adults who access health care through Medicaid. Adding these requirements was one of several sweeteners for the GOP’s reluctant right wing. Largely a legacy of 1990s-style welfare reform, stringent work requirements currently apply to federally funded safety nets for cash, food and housing, but not health care. Two decades of experience show why these rules are an especially poor fit for Medicaid.
ALSO at The Stand — Unions to McMorris Rodgers: Shame on you — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the six-term Republican representing Spokane and surrounding counties in Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, was the only member of Washington’s delegation who voted “yes” on the American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed 217-213 on May 4.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Congress ignoring Medicaid’s vital role (editorial) — The bill’s total changes to Medicaid would cut $834 billion in federal Medicaid spending between 2017 and 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office. An estimated 14 million Americans would be removed from Medicaid rolls. Like it or not, Medicaid is a critical component of the health care equation. Cutting it would cause real suffering and merely shifts costs elsewhere.
► From The Hill — Poll: Most disapprove of ObamaCare repeal efforts — A new poll finds that 55 percent of the public has an unfavorable view of the House-passed AHCA, known as Trumpcare.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump poised to pull U.S. from Paris climate accord — President Trump is expected to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, making good on a campaign pledge but severely weakening the landmark 2015 climate change accord that committed nearly every nation to take action to curb the warming of the planet.
EDITOR’S NOTE — If Trump pulls out of the Paris Climate Accord, the only nations not participating will be Nicaragua, Syria and the United States.
► In today’s NY Daily News — President Trump helps Republicans revive House bill that weakens unions — A new administration in America’s White House has fomented a revival of old legislation in Congress. Some of the bills introduced to the House recently have been on the Republican wish list for years — like the Employee Rights Act, which was resurrected by lawmakers last week. Among other things, the bill would require a union trying to organize a workplace to win a majority support of all eligible voters — not just the majority of those who actually vote — and require unions to regularly hold re-certification votes.
► From Politico — Poll: Support for Trump impeachment rises — Forty-three percent of voters want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings, up from 38 percent last week.
► From AP — Labor activists probing Ivanka Trump brand in China arrested, missing — The arrest and disappearance of three labor activists investigating a Chinese company that produces Ivanka Trump-branded shoes in China prompted a call for her brand to cease working with the supplier and raised questions about whether the first family’s commercial interests would muddy U.S. leadership on human rights.
► In today’s NY Times — Gov. Scott Walker would drug test the poor (editorial) — As he prepares to run for a third term, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, ever the devotee of low-road, right-wing politicking, is hoping the Trump administration will allow his state to be the first in the nation to mandate the drug screening of childless individuals who apply for Medicaid help. The politics of sloganeering that blames the poor for being poor did not get far with welfare officials in the Obama administration, who cautioned that the Walker initiatives violated federal law. But Walker obviously sees better prospects in trying again with the Trump administration.
► In the WSJ — New York fast-food, retail workers get more scheduling, pay protections — Fast-food and retail employers in New York City will soon be required to offer more predictable work schedules and other protections for employees, under legislation signed into law Tuesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
► From Rolling Stone — The Democrats need a new message (by Matt Taibbi) — “Republicans are bad” isn’t a message or a plan, which is why the Democrats have managed the near impossible: losing ground overall during the singular catastrophe of the Trump presidency. The party doesn’t see that the largest group of potential swing voters out there doesn’t need to be talked out of voting Republican. It needs to be talked out of not voting at all. The recent polls bear this out, showing that the people who have been turned off to the Democrats in recent months now say that in a do-over, they would vote for third parties or not at all. People need a reason to be excited by politics, and not just disgusted with the other side. Until the Democrats figure that out, these improbable losses will keep piling up.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.