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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Susan P. Michaelson says Ed Rendell Is Full Of Soup

The Philly Inquirer is almost a wholly owned P.R. firm for the Democratic party and especially Governor Fat Eddie Rendell. Surprisingly, it printed a "letter to the Idiotor" that debunked one of its own front-page stories that claimed Fat Eddie made big money sellling a state plane. Below is the letter from one smart person named Susan P. Michaelson of Radnor (practically a next-door neighbor of my town).


Dear Idiotor:

The suggestion that Gov. Rendell is somehow a better plane salesperson than was Gov. Palin is nothing but hot air. Your front-page story ("Alaska, here's a tip on how to sell a plane," Tuesday) reported she netted $2.1 million for a plane that originally cost - it doesn't say when - $2.7 million. Pennsylvania will get $1.375 million minus the unreported cost for pre-sale maintenance, including a brake job, for a plane that cost "slightly more than a million" in 1992.

How about filling in some facts?

First, the sales and markets are not comparable. Alaska's plane was a 1984 10-seat Westwind II, nearly 21/2 times as expensive as Pennsylvania's 1981 seven-seat Beech King Air 200. The Westwind was an impractical vanity purchase by Palin's predecessor, Frank Murkowski, for which many suggest he overpaid. Outrage over that plane helped get Palin elected.

As any first-year Wharton MBA student can tell you, total returns are not comparable on two different purchases without taking into account a host of information you failed to address, including demand, operating and maintenance costs, and forgone expenses.

It took Palin nine months to finalize the sale for maximum return, eventually completed by a broker after numerous lesser offers were rejected. Alaska has its cash.

Rendell has been at this since April. He's taken the best of four offers, but still hasn't closed the deal.

Gov. Palin sold the plane and cut the best deal she could for the people of Alaska. Gov. Rendell is doing the same. That's all you can fairly conclude.

Susan P. Michaelson, Radnor

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