Smart Ideas: Why Boeing Will Weather This Storm

Plus: The case against cheeseburgers.

A worker walks next to a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane parked at Boeing Field on March 14 in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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March 18, 2019, 8 p.m.

Don’t weep for Boeing

Jeff Spross, writing for The Week

The grounding of the 737 MAX is not likely to pose a mortal threat to Boeing, despite there being “4,600 outstanding orders for the Max 8 around the world—$550 billion in expected future revenue.” This situation is not permanent, and could be over by the end of next month, at an estimated total cost of roughly $5 billion. “Boeing's total revenue for 2018 was just over $100 billion and its total profits were just over $10 billion. You could double that worst-case scenario estimate, and you'd merely knock out Boeing's profits for 2019. And that hit won't continue year after year. For a company like Boeing, profits are gravy: They come after all operating costs, including wages and salaries and taxes, have already been paid. The only thing they fund are shareholder payouts. … Finally, assuming Boeing does fix the issue in the next few months, it's unlikely that customers will wiggle out of those 4,600 orders. Airlines usually pay 20 percent of the orders upfront, and getting out of those contracts is not easy.”

5G development must be security-focused

Jim Baker, writing for Lawfare

The widespread adoption of 5G “will bring with it substantial national security, cybersecurity and privacy risks” that are being put to the side in the race to implement the technology so as to not fall behind China. “Such features must be able to prevent malicious actors from stealing data transmitted, processed or stored on such systems; from using network-connected devices to attack other devices; and from degrading or disrupting the network itself. To do otherwise would be to let the race to 5G turn into a cybersecurity and privacy apocalypse.”

Liberals: Put down your cheeseburgers

Emily Atkin, writing for The New Republic

It’s time for America to reconsider animal rights—including the right not to be killed and eaten. Although many still sneer at vegans, leftists are beginning to see how the consumption of animals is intertwined with their dearest causes. For one, “the U.S. meat industry is one of the largest sources of water contamination in the country, and a massive contributor to drought in the West.” It comprises 20 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide. For another, the industry is unfriendly to labor. “Slaughterhouse workers—mainly immigrants and resettled refugees—often face lifelong injuries from their jobs, and likewise are denied the sort of disposable income necessary to treat them.” Americans could begin to address problems like these in one simple way: by "eating much less meat."

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