Business

Politicos Stop Competition For Motive Power

Boise choo choo train maker Motive Power will have the bid for locomotives in Boston all to itself thanks to a ruling by the Federal Transit Authority Friday.

Apparently the agency bowed to political pressure from Idaho politicos if a press release is accurate. The FTA has agreed to reject the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) waiver request of the “Buy American Act” to its federally funded procurement of at least 28 passenger rail locomotives. Idaho Senator Mike “Junior” Crapo, Representative Mike “Homer” Simpson and Boise Mayor David “Team Dave” Bieter had asked that the FTA deny the waiver request because it could cost hundreds of American jobs, not only in Boise but across the country.

A Spanish competitor wishing to build locomotives in Kentucky was denied a waiver for two prototype engines to be built in Spain. WABCO, the parent company of Motive Power, is an international company which markets to foreign countries.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. One recent Saturday morning, I was in the garage with my son and he pointed out that almost all his toys say “Made in China”. Now I consider myself a true American patriot, so when a seven year old kid made special note of all this stuff made in China, I felt a sudden blow to my sense of pride in the ol’ Red, White, and Blue.

    After a few minutes of pondering this tragedy, my pure-capitalist thoughts crept in and I started thinking… “if we can’t make it here and sell it cheaper than they can make it and ship it here, then we don’t deserve to have our junk ‘Made in USA’.” The recent Air Force decision to go with European-subsidized Airbus over Boeing comes to mind.

    Jobs going overseas or to Mexico don’t disturb me as much as it bothers most people. (It just bugs me when I call customer service and I can’t communicate with the person.) I suppose people that have lost jobs due to outsourcing would have a different perspective, like my uncle who worked at Novell for years and lost his job when it was sent to Asia for probably a tenth of the cost. Even still, I recall a John Stossel report that seemed to debunk the idea that we are losing net jobs to foreign countries. His report was that we are in reality creating higher paying replacement jobs here.

    I discussed my view with a few people at work and they immediately bring up the counter-argument that we need to have trade policies that allow the US to compete on fair ground. Is that really even possible? If businesses improve the economy and standard of living in any country, even if a person only makes a buck a day, more power to them! Now, if people, especially children, are being abused to provide goods and services, than I agree…we should not do business with them.

    Why is American labor so dog-gone expensive? Sometimes I blame unions. Sometimes I think the cause is just wage-creep and inflation. Our government has been self-destructive in our economic policies. Whatever the cause is…it is a problem.

    I love the United States and I love my fellow Americans. I want every American to have a fulfilling job that supports their families. I do feel a sense of patriotic pride when I buy products made here. Would it make me feel better if every product we had was manufactured here? Absolutely!

    What happened to the America that could whip the crud out of any other country when it came to resourcefulness, ingenuity, and efficiency?! We are more than what we have become. We just have to reach inside ourselves and pull it out. I just hope it doesn’t take a depression, an uglier war, or another catastrophe to remind us of the strength of our roots. If we are too lazy, expect more than what we are worth, have an enormous sense of entitlement, and aren’t willing to work for it, then again I say, we don’t deserve “Made in USA”.

  2. The Boise Picayune
    Nov 15, 2008, 1:39 pm

    This, along with recent events in the financial markets should dispel any delusions that America is an actual “Free Market Economy”.

  3. Yossarian_22
    Nov 17, 2008, 8:29 pm

    Maybe someone should go out to Motive Power and discuss this issue with the builders of these “choo choo” trains. They could bring up all of the arguments against having a manufacturing base here in the USA. You can throw John Stossel jingoism in their face and Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand. Better yet, they could tell the design teams at MP where they’re going wrong. They could ask the union workers to give up some pay and bennies. They’re all just a bunch of dumb asses anyway, right? Maybe the brilliant CEOs of the Wall Street financial community could go out there too and let ‘em have it. Whip ‘em into shape. Let me know how it turns out.

  4. This story sounds like its becoming a “red state free market economy” Idaho is not allowing “blue state socialist” Massachusetts buy on the free market… how ironic. I must side with the Boston clan on this one. Boston should be allowed to spend their money as they see fit, whether it was federal or not. I think it makes more sense to buy the best product available at the best price. Basically we are subsidizing the local railroaders. Thus, hurting competition and innovation in the long run. The true irony is the Massachusetts politico’s most likely helped pass the Buy American Act to begin with.

    By the way Picayune, America is not a true free market economy, we are a mixed economy. Many economists will label an economic system based on how it primarily acts, thus many consider us a free market when if fact there is really no true example in the world right now. It is more free market than socialist but definitely mixed.

    Issues such as this have to do with public policy. Protectionist policies tend to have some advantages in the short term but can have long term consequences. The debate will never end.

  5. In many cases the issue is health insurance. In most countries one’s health insurance is not tied to one’s job.

    If we had universal health insurance the automobile companies wouldn’t be in such bad shape.

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