May 22, 2003

THE US House of Reps

THE US House of Reps awards a $2 million military contract - to the French! From Wyeth Wire:

WASHINGTON - U.S Representative Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) today announced that the House Defense Authorization bill contains nearly $2 million for a Michelin facility in the upstate area to assemble tires for the Marine Corps' Land Attack Vehicles (LAV). The House is scheduled to pass the annual Defense Authorization bill later this week and the funding is expected to be formally appropriated later this year.

UPDATE. An ex-Michelin employee writes:

Don't go to a liberal slanted blog for your information. Yes, technically, Michelin is French (although they've moved the "corporation" to Switzerland for obvious tax reasons).

But: Michelin has plants all over the South East U.S. (especially concentrated in South Carolina, and in Jim DeMint's district). These tires will be made in the U.S., the tire molds will be made in the US, and the rubber, steel and fibers will all also made in the US.

In fact, these tires were probably designed in the US (The Greenville, SC area also has the North American R&D facility.

The profits may benefit to Michelin shareholders (and that won't be significant in this "almost commodity business), but very little to the French government or government run business.

BTW - Almost all the top jobs in Michelin North America are held by North Americans (A few that I know personally are US Military Academy, West Point, grads).

And from Maureen:

Actually, I regard that piddling $2 million contract as an insult to the French. Last year the US spent $518 billion on the military (not counting intelligence operations), and I'm sure it's much higher this year and will be higher still next year. Add to that the fact that, while the tiny award went to a French-owned company, the work will be done in the US, so US workers at the tire plant will reap some benefit and the facility's local government will take in some tax revenue. It's sort of like leaving a penny tip to punish a bad restaurant experience, and I hope the Pentagon keeps it up whilst awarding juicy contracts to our friends.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 22, 2003 06:17 PM