Robert Novak reports on a sweetheart deal whereby the Air Force is leasing planes it doesn’t need from Boeing at an exorbitant price. The reason? Politics: The project is spread out over 17 states and was able to garner the support of the Speaker of the House, President Pro Tem of the Senate, and several other key congressional figures.
While this deal smells bad and, unless there is substantial information missing from Novak’s piece, I oppose it, we shouldn’t be too shocked. Indeed, arguably, this is what Congress is elected to do. While we have come to think of the United States as a unitary actor, it never has been. Instead, it is a collection of 435 Congressional Districts and 50 states, each with elected representatives vying to maximize the interests of their little piece of the country. And, while John McCain is painted as a hero in this piece, it is my guess that Arizona is one of the states that doesn’t benefit from this arrangement.