Midday Scan: Boeing and union together again; Nick Hanauer on the rich as squirrels

Gregoire won't let the 737 MAX deal keep her from pushing an incentive package to expand aerospace training. Nick Hanauer mocks the pretensions of the rich who think they are the sun kings of job creation. The governor gets set to toss a curve at the feds on medical-marijuana prosecution.

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Gregoire won't let the 737 MAX deal keep her from pushing an incentive package to expand aerospace training. Nick Hanauer mocks the pretensions of the rich who think they are the sun kings of job creation. The governor gets set to toss a curve at the feds on medical-marijuana prosecution.

On Wednesday, cognitive dissonance found expression as the 99 percent Boeing machinists made common cause with the 1 percent Boeing elite. (In anticipation, God noted in Isaiah 11:6, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.") 

"A potential union strike averted. Production work on Boeing's 737 MAX secured. An ugly labor lawsuit likely resolved," the Everett Herald's Michele Dunlop writes. "Any one of those alone would be considered a huge feat." The landmark agreement signals a sea change in labor-management relations at Boeing. It's also a case study of what the numinous-minded would term a miracle. "Under the agreement, Boeing will build its re-engined 737 MAX jet in Renton, where the existing single-aisle aircraft has been assembled for decades. It will also help make Boeing's troubles with the National Labor Relations Board disappear. And the two are expected to sign a four-year contract extension that eliminates the possibility of a labor strike until late 2016," Dunlop writes.

What, then, of Gov. Chris Gregoire's incentive package, a $10 million plan to expand aerospace training and education? Gregoire will continue to elbow.  "Let us not fall asleep here. Let us wake up tomorrow morning and remember that with international competition we've got to fight for it every single day," Gregoire said.    

Most rich folks don't want to be taxed unless perhaps those rich folks (think Bill Gates, Sr.) are from the Pacific Northwest. As Seattle's Nick Hanauer writes in Bloomberg Businessweek, "I’m a very rich person. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I’ve started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software." Hanauer effectively debunks the Republican myth that the wealthy spur employment. "When businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it is like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it’s the other way around," Hanauer writes. Hanauer underscores the grotesque, unfair nature of the income gap. "Since 1980, the share of the nation’s income for fat cats like me in the top 0.1 percent has increased a shocking 400 percent, while the share for the bottom 50 percent of Americans has declined 33 percent. At the same time, effective tax rates on the superwealthy fell to 16.6 percent in 2007, from 42 percent at the peak of U.S. productivity in the early 1960s, and about 30 percent during the expansion of the 1990s. In my case, that means that this year, I paid an 11 percent rate on an eight-figure income." (Note to self: Become pals with Nick Hanauer). It's a trenchant, persuasive argument scribbled by yet another progressive, Occupy-friendly Northwest millionaire.  

Reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug seems like a sensible, overdue reform. In Washington, re-classification may be the shrewdest way to minimize federal blowback to the state's medical-marijuana law. As the AP's Rachel LaCorte writes, Gov. Gregoire is approaching the question through a lawyer's lens and taking action. "Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee have filed a petition with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration asking the agency to reclassify marijuana so that doctors can prescribe it and pharmacists can fill the prescription," LaCorte writes. "The governors said Wednesday they want the federal government to list marijuana as a 'Schedule 2' drug, allowing it to be used for medical treatment. Marijuana is currently classified a 'Schedule 1' drug, meaning it's not accepted medical use for treatment in the United States and can't be prescribed, administered or dispensed for medical use, according to the DEA."

Does Gregoire's petition foreshadow her future support for I-502, Washington's pot-legalization effort? Probably not. I-502 will be a question during the 2012 gubernatorial race, however (along with the tiresome but news-generating,  "Have you ever inhaled?").

The Washington Post's Keith Richburg has a sweet intro in an admiring portrait of former Washington Gov. (and current U.S. Ambassador to China) Gary Locke. "At a recent Asia Society forum showcasing American culture for Chinese audiences, the most sought-after celebrities for a quick handshake or a random cellphone photo were the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, actress Meryl Streep, filmmaker Joel Coen and, of course, Gary Locke. Gary Locke?" The Chinese are enamored by Locke's ordinary, unpretentious style. "The reason for the fascination, many here posit, is that when Chinese look at this backpack-toting American envoy with a Chinese face, they see everything their own leaders are not — leaving authorities struggling for how best to respond to his increasingly evident popularity," Richburg writes. Perhaps Locke hobnobbing on the street and flying economy class are the best way to advance human rights in China?      

Lastly the Seattle Times' Joni Balter noodles the disconnect between what Americans feel about Congress in the aggregate (hint: it's not warm and fuzzy) and how they think about their own member of Congress here in Washington (hint: overall positive). The general goodwill extends to Republicans in the delegation even though, "All four Republican members of Congress in our state signed the absurd Grover Norquist pledge to never raise taxes under any circumstances, even if it means harming the country." Any chance of a realignment or a throw-the-bums-out mindset taking hold? It's happened before. "Washington voters occasionally toss out political lions — former House Speaker Tom Foley of Spokane, former Sen. Warren Magnuson and former Sen. Slade Gorton were among the casualties," Balter writes. "But only rarely do we eliminate these folks en masse."  

Link Summary

The Herald, "Boeing settles labor case; new 737 going to Renton"

Bloomberg Businessweek"Raise taxes on rich to reward true job creators"

Tacoma News Tribune, "Gregoire wants DEA to reclassify marijuana" 

Washington Post, "Gary Locke is star in China as first U.S. ambassador of Chinese ancestry" 

Seattle Times, "Will low approval ratings for Congress mean a shake-up in state's delegation?"


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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson