The projects that got past Senate pork hawks like Tom Coburn were a $200 million bailout of Northrup Grumman for indemnifyng the defense contractor against losses that its insurers refuse to cover. Coburn faced stiff opposition from Trent Lott, the man who apparently wants to make a career out of defying voters on earmarks, and Thad Cochran. Both Republicans insisted that the government needed to replace the loss, even though Northrup made a 7.1% operating margin in 2005, up from 6.7% in 2004 and 5.6% in 2003. That represent $2.4 billion in profit, an increase from $2.3B in 2004 and $1.9B in 2003.
Why does a corporation that made $2.4 billion in profit need another $200 million from American taxpayers to cover a loss they've absorbed in that same year?
Rather than focus resources on the truly needy and on real emergencies, Lott and Cochran have manipulated the relief bill to stick money into Northrup's pockets. Perhaps folks from Lott's home state of Mississippi should ask themselves why Lott seems more concerned about the travails of a corporation that had its best year ever than those who had their entire lives wiped out by Katrina. No wonder Lott proclaimed himself "damned tired" of constituents who question his pork-barrel activities -- who'd want to keep explaining this? . . .
Congress has a rather narrow view of profit in a free-market society. When ExxonMobil makes 10.7% profit, they decry the "windfall profit" of a corporation. When Northrup Grumman makes 7.1%, they qualify for a bailout.
It's as if there's nothing going on but graft and shakedowns.