Seattle Outlaws Boeing and Starbucks

Boeing threatens to leave Washington state because of the new Socialist council member’s policies. The socialist’s answer? Forbid them from leaving.

During a rally for unionized Boeing workers, Kshama Sawant, a recently elected Seattle City Councilmember and self-identified socialist, told her supporters that Boeing workers should consider taking over the factory.

Kshama Sawan, who ran on a platform to raise the Seattle minimum wage to $15 per hour, unionize Amazon and Starbucks, increase rent control, and “reduce the unfair tax burden on small businesses, homeowners, and workers,” has been making big headlines for her electoral victory earlier this week. She is one of the first Socialist party candidates to win a major city’s election in decades. Now, just days after entering office, she is stirring crowds with radical declarations.

The Boeing Machinists Rally was held on Monday in response to contract negotiation disputes between Boeing management and union representatives. The union rejected a contract proposal that would have guaranteed workers jobs for eight years to build the new 777X airliner in exchange for new employees giving up their company pensions.

Boeing representatives responded that the company does not plan to reopen a conversation with the union to renegotiate. Instead, representative Raymond Connor said that the company would consider moving its operations out of state and possibly out of the country. Angered by Boeing’s announcement, supporters of the union gathered to hear Sawant speak.

Sawant told the crowd: “[If Boeing leaves], that will be nothing short of economic terrorism because it’s going to devastate the state’s economy.”

Her solution? Simply don’t allow them to leave.

[Source:, 11/21/13]

One of the most common things I hear from people who support government intervention in the economy is, “It’s not force.”

Isn’t it? What do you call it if Boeing is forced to stay in Washington state, simply because the socialist council member and her constituents demand it? If what she’s threatening is not force, then what is it?

What you see happening with Boeing, Amazon and Starbucks is the dead end of government intervention in the economy.

In the beginning, a private economy is unencumbered. Then governments begin to intervene. Democrats and Republicans act on behalf of their constituent groups and claim it’s for the “general good.” The more they intervene, the more problems it creates for the opposing groups who are the victims of these interventions. More interventions, often contradictory ones, follow, in the form of taxes, regulations, subsidies, exemptions and the like.

At the dead end of this road, an all-out socialist finally steps up and says, “Guys, this is ridiculous. Simply make these companies do what we want them to do.”

And what they’re obliged to do. According to the moral code of socialists, that is.

I’d love to know what conventional Republicans and Democrats think of all this, particularly Obama supporters. Obama supporters believe in extensive regulation and control of the private (or semi-private) economy.

How far is too far? Or is there no “too far”? According to Kshama Sawant, and the majority who elected her in her Seattle district, there is no too far. It’s simply command and control, stripped bare and exposed for the dictatorship it literally is.

If Obama supporters think Sawant is too extreme, then where do they draw the line, and why do they draw it there? If the employees are the moral owners of the business for which they work, why should they not be the legal owners, as well?

How is Sawant’s attitude and ideology any different from Obama’s? Or from RINO Republicans who support government intervention in the economy, for that matter? The fact that they don’t extend the principle as far, nor as fast as Sawant, does not change the fact that it’s still their principle.

So what are Boeing, its employees and customers to do if business shuts down? In one of her most revealing statements of all, Sawant says:

“The only response we can have if Boeing executives do not agree to keep the plant here is for the machinists to say the machines are here, the workers are here, we will do the job, we don’t need the executives. The executives don’t do the work, the machinists do,” she said.

Now let me get this straight. The owners, stockholders and managers of Boeing will leave. The machines and equipment which are legally theirs will be expropriated by the government, on behalf of the workers.

Let’s say Boeing lets the equipment, which is legally and morally theirs, go. They’ll set up business elsewhere, and they will find employees, because their reputation precedes them. The country (and world) is full of people who want to work, because they will make more money than the government dole will ever provide, and because they have pride and self-respect.

But the Boeing workers will stay behind and … run the company themselves? Even if this happened, what about the workers who now rise to the task of running the holdover company, assuming they could? They would now be the new executives. Sooner or later, because of the added risk and intellectual efforts required to do their jobs, they’d expect more money than they received from doing labor tasks. Would the socialists and other advocates of state intervention in the economy have to send them away next?

A business with workers and no executives would be like a human body with all limbs and no brain. The brain matters. The intellect matters.

I’m not saying that factory workers have no brains; but they are not the brains of the company. The people who start and run businesses take risks and hold responsibility for the decisions that end up affecting every single employee. If those executives and owners make the wrong decisions, they harm their own profits and jobs are lost. Without the jobs, there is nothing for any union or employee to negotiate or demand.

Workers who side with socialists—or any advocate of government intervention, including Obama—are harming themselves, most of all. They are the first to falter or suffer when profit is removed from the world of business. When you remove profit from business, you get Soviet Russia. Or Communist China before the fascist government permitted some for-profit enterprise. Or Communist Cuba. Are those situations actually in the best interest of workers? Or is it only a nihilistic hatred of profit, success and productivity that motivates socialists like Sawant?

If you think that Sawant is a nutty extremist and doesn’t matter, then ask yourself how she managed to win an election in a major American city. Perhaps such ignorance is forgivable in a third-world country where free elections never existed. But in twenty-first century America?

If you think Sawant is an aberration, then try to identify exactly how her premises differ from Obama’s of “spread the wealth” and coercion of business on the implied assumption that it has nowhere else to go? How is it any different for Sawant to claim the workers own Boeing than it is for Obama to say that the 51 percent of voters who support socialized medicine own health care?

When you destroy the capacity to make wealth and prosper from one’s choices in business, you’ve destroyed the capacity for the workers to have jobs, including benefits or the other things that go with the better jobs.

No boss? No owner? No job; no employee.

If your heart bleeds for the “little guy,” then try to figure out where that little guy would be without the bigger guy to take the risks and run the enterprises those little guys require.