The Obama Administration’s Hypocrisy on Manufacturing Jobs
Hypocrisy: The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform
In President Obama’s State of the Union address, he spent a great deal of time talking about the need for what he calls, ‘insourcing’ jobs, particularly the “opportunity to bring manufacturing back.” And he received strong applause from both political parties for this comment.
The president argued, “It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.” And more applause ensued.
President Obama then went on to tell Congress they “should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing.”
What President Obama did not mention is that his administration recently disqualified an American manufacturer from competing against a heavily-subsidized and government-controlled foreign competitor, giving no explanation and costing hundreds of American jobs.
Hawker Beechcraft – an American aircraft manufacturing company – was abruptly barred from receiving a Department of Defense contract. The only company left to compete for the contract was Brazilian-owned Embraer – a government-subsidized foreign entity currently under investigation by the SEC for corruption and bribery.
In Defense Department terms, the contract is relatively modest at $1 billion, but for our economy and our national defense, losing this contract has steep repercussions. The contract would have provided hundreds of American manufacturing jobs in places like California, Connecticut, Kansas and Arkansas. It would have afforded 500 new engineering and 300 aircraft manufacturing jobs in Wichita, Kansas, where Hawker Beechcraft is headquartered.
In addition, by awarding the contract to Embraer, we are placing a critical Air Force program in the hands of a country that has been at odds with our military objectives numerous times over past decade.
Embraer will build these aircraft in its country of origin, Brazil, using their Brazilian workforce. Though Embraer touts itself as a private company, the reality is quite different. Embraer is subject to the control of the Brazilian government under a “Golden Share” provision in its governing documents, which gives Brazil the right to stop or meddle in production at any time for any reason.
Embraer will then fly the aircraft shell to a rented hanger in Florida, allowing 50 American workers to complete the final assembly. And there you have it—paint it red, white and blue and call it American made.
Given the President’s own words during the State of the Union, it is baffling to understand how this administration could trust America’s national security to Brazil instead of relying on a proven American company.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration still refuses to provide any explanation for their decision to exclude Hawker Beechcraft from this contract competition. What is blatantly clear, however, is that the administration made the wrong decision by choosing a foreign company rather than creating and sustaining jobs in America. This is particularly clear given the company will be tasked with building aircraft that are expected to protect our national security interests.
The Obama administration’s decision to discard an American company for a foreign company means our tax dollars will fund job efforts overseas instead of creating jobs at home. The applause-winning claims versus the actions of this administration do not align. The Obama administration should be focused on rebuilding America’s economy, not Brazil’s. American workers and their families deserve more from the White House.
Please contact your Member of Congress and tell them to let Americans build the planes charged with protecting our national security and learn more about the issue at www.saveusdefensejobs.org.
Stephen DeMaura is President of Americans for Job Security a non-profit, non-partisan pro-business issue advocacy organization which promotes issues that strengthen the American economy.