BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, July 07, 2012
7/07/12 at 3:32 AM
Thanks to a federal government grant to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, seven modestly sized state manufacturers, including four Tulsa firms, will be able to participate next week in the Farnborough International Air Show southwest of London.
Those companies will be among some 50 Oklahoma firms that will participate in the show, along with Gov. Mary Fallin and other state, chamber and business-group officials.
The federal grant involved is through the State Trade and Export Promotion Program, or STEP, and is intended to help smaller firms that otherwise might not be able to participate.
The Farnborough air show is one of the two most important aerospace industry trade fairs in the world and there is great potential value to the state by having a presence there, in terms of new business for Oklahoma firms large and small. Aerospace, after all, is a big part of Oklahoma's economy and Tulsa's in particular.
The use of federal funds to pay for at least a part of Oklahoma's delegation raises a question. Why is it OK for the state to accept government money, from the Obama administration, to pay for this trip when it is not OK - as far as the governor and many state leaders are concerned - to accept federal money to extend Medicaid coverage to 200,000 uninsured Oklahomans or to set up health care exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?
Why is the anti-federal government element in the Legislature and the state leadership not railing against the use of this federal money, demanding that we refuse to accept it and insisting that we can do it by ourselves?
What is the measuring stick by which we judge that this federal money is good while that federal money is bad?
Make no mistake, we believe that Oklahoma participation in the big air show is worthwhile. But we wonder about accepting federal money to pay for it while we refuse to accept federal money to improve the health care of thousands of Oklahomans.
Dare we call this Obamatrip?