After the state legislature offered $3.2 billion in tax breaks for Boeing, even a mainstream columnist from the liberal Seattle Weekly demanded that Boeing be taken into public hands: “We could push to nationalize them. Boeing lives off the public dole anyway. We could either be done with their blackmail - which will only get worse - or take the controls of this flying porker ourselves.” (See Knute Berger, “Mossback: Boeing 7$7- The cost of keeping the company happy keeps going up”: Seattle Weekly, 6/4/03, www.Seattleweekly.com/features/printme.php3?eid=44618)
Public ownership is the only policy that has proven successful in controlling the activities of major corporations and industries.
At the end of the 19th century in the United States, we saw many utilities - such as electricity, gas, public transportation, and education - taken out of the hands of profiteers and put into public ownership. We can do it again. Under public ownership Boeing could be re-tooled. Production could be directed away from military contracts and instead toward providing useful products and services for public need. This would create a huge number of new jobs. The work week should be reduced to 30 hours with no loss in pay or benefits, in order to create new jobs at a time of very high unemployment in Washington State. This could easily be paid for by the tax breaks our State and federal governments are giving away to Boeing’s corporate executives. Corporate policies to maximize short-terms profits now mean cutting wages, shifting taxes from big corporations and their owners to workers, privatization of publicly-owned services, building up the US. military to defend its overseas operations, and cutting “unnecessary” social benefits like education and health care, etc.
These policies represent a massive attack on all working families. Most Americans are already feeling the effects and a growing uncertainty. We should end the bailouts and handouts to Boeing and to instead demand public ownership of Boeing. This demand is the only way to prevent further job losses and further losses to our community. By raising this demand, we will provide hope to hundreds of thousands of workers who are desperate to find work or who fear joining the ranks of the unemployed.
Boeing currently owes Washington state at least $45 billion in back taxes.
If we looked merely at Boeing income in 2018, their revenue was over $100 billion with about $10 billion in net profits. But Boeing also dodged the Washington state 5% sales tax ($5 billion on $100 billion in sales) and the 1% Washington State Business Tax ($1 billion on $100 billion in sales) and the Washington State 1% commercial property tax on $250 billion in stock worth ($2.5 billion) for a total illegal state tax evasion of at least $8.5 billion just for 2018. In addition, Boeing evaded at least $2 billion in federal taxes and other federal corrupt corporate give aways. In short, Boeing’s entire $10 billion profit margin in 2018 came from state and federal tax evasion.
The consequences for the one million school children in Washington state has been devastating. Not only are students in Washington state forced to endure the highest class sizes in the nation, they have also been forced into spending their school days in the most unsafe run down schools in the nation. In 1997, when the Boeing tax scams really took off, Washington schools had a $20 billion school construction crisis. One in four schools was more than 40 years old. Today, after 20 years of Boeing tax evasion, Washington schools face a $40 billion school construction crisis – rising at a rate of more than one billion per year. One half of all Washington schools are more than 40 years old. One half of Washington schools do not meet either water quality standards or earthquake standards. 550,000 children are forced to attend school in either unsafe schools or particle board boxes. If Boeing were forced to pay back the $45 billion they owe Washington children, we could launch the biggest school construction project in the history of the world, employing more than 100,000 people to build students the safe public schools they need and deserve. But Boeing does not care about the children or schools in Washington state, they are more likely to declare bankruptcy than to pay their fair share of state taxes.
We should offer Boeing a deal once they file for bankruptcy and no longer need their factories:
We will waive your back taxes in trade for your factories in Renton, Seattle and Everett. Then the people of Washington state can hire back all of the Boeing employees and build safe airplanes based on the Airbus A320 Neo design. We can finance the entire project by starting a Public Bank here in Washington state.
Our slogan can be “Putting public safety ahead of corporate profits.”
We can then employ thousands of former Boeing employees to build safer airplanes - and we can use the profit from the sale of safer airplanes to build safer and healthy schools here in Washington state.
There can be a silver lining to the Boeing murder of hundreds of people. But it will require people everywhere to wake up to the corporate crime wave that has been going on at Boeing for more than 20 years.
As always, I look forward to your questions and comments.
David Spring M. Ed.