Dreamliners Equal the American Dream for Thousands of South Carolinians
By Robert. E. Freer, Jr. and Michael S. Smith II
As just about anyone who has read a newspaper published in the Palmetto State knows, South Carolina – North Charleston more specifically – is officially set to become the home to a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft assembly facility. Winning the bid for Boeing’s business, a victory fought for fiercely by elected officials and various organizations representing the economic interests of South Carolinians, translates to one of the biggest business deals closed in the state this year.
This big news arrived on the heels of recent announcements regarding two other important big deals reached in our state.
One: Tire Kingdom, North America’s largest tire distributor, will soon become the anchor tenant of a soon-to-be-constructed shipping and logistics hub, a facility whose owners intend for the venture to help South Carolina’s seaports expand their volume capacities as a transshipment point for container cargo.
The other: Denmark-based Maersk Line, the State Ports Authority’s largest business partner, despite foundering negotiations with the International Longshoremen’s Association late in 2008, recently formalized a new contract to continue calling on the state’s seaports through 2014.
Boeing’s recent announcement has made 2009 the most exciting year for business development in our state, period. With the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country, this is as good a “get” as it gets and the timing couldn’t get much better.
This wonderful news comes at a point in time when the global economy, in its contemporary form, is confronted by the most challenging atmosphere it has ever encountered. While it is in a state of contraction, South Carolina’s economy is poised for expansion.
There is much lauding one could do in terms of issuing praise for the indefatigable efforts put forth by the people who made the deal with Boeing a reality. But there is not enough room in this space to adequately thank those movers and shakers who successfully closed this deal for their hard work, work that will ensure some 3,800 (plus) new jobs will be created in the state. Not to mention hundreds of more jobs that will likely be created when affiliated companies whose products and services will augment output at the new 787 Dreamliner assembly facility open offices in South Carolina. Not to mention the thousands more jobs that will be created when non-aircraft industry affiliated businesses take note of just how attractive a place in which to do business South Carolina truly is.
At The Free Enterprise Foundation, Charleston, S.C.’s own think-tank housed at The Citadel, our vision statement is: “Creating enterprise excellence consistent with the highest standards of ethics and civic responsibility through best practices.” To that end, and as both our organization’s name and its mission imply, we are ever-pleased to celebrate the successes like the one North Charleston has realized through its bid for Boeing.
Boeing’s decision to make North Charleston the home of a new 787 aircraft assembly facility is truly a testament to the exceptionally pro-business atmosphere one finds in South Carolina. The uniqueness of that atmosphere becomes most pronounced when ours is compared to states with rapidly growing tax-rates, unions’ interests-driven employment policies, and far too few steps made in terms of tort reforms which are protective of both small and large businesses’ interests, as well as their sustainable productivities.
On behalf of our organization’s esteemed board and supporters we congratulate the policy-makers, the business organizations and the citizens from our state who have lobbied for and formalized the policies that have made a truly free enterprise-focused economy the type of economy one finds in South Carolina. Without it, our futures would not be nearly as bright as they appear to be today.
Simply put: Thank you, and congratulations, South Carolina. Job well done!
Robert E. Freer, Jr. is president and founder of The Free Enterprise Foundation and a visiting professor at The Citadel.
Michael S. Smith II is executive editor of The Ethical Standard: Official Publication of The Free Enterprise Foundation.
For more information about The Free Enterprise Foundation, please visit www.free-enterprise-foundation.org