The Front Porch: The Free Market Makes Three – Reprise

Air Force Tanker Deal Northrup Grumman EADSYesterday, the Government Accountability Office issued a recommendation that the much disputed, multi million dollar, Air Force Tanker deal awarded to Northrop Grumman EADS last February be re opened for a new round of bidding. Citing several reasons, most notably that the Air Force awarded Northrup “extra credit” for designing a plane that exceeded the requirements when in fact previous documents assert that designs exceeding those requirements would not be given special consideration.

TSJ readers will recall from our first post on the matter, The Bruce claimed that it appeared the free market had run its course and thus the best design at the best cost had been chosen. The GAO made its recommendation based on inconsistencies within the Air Force’s decision process, and in so far as I understand, not because of free market tampering. But this does bring up an interesting point, the market may be free, but is it ever truly fair? If a company, or in this case the Air Force changes the rules of engagement mid stream, can we still have faith in the free market? If not, is this a case for regulation? And if indeed we regulate, where do we stop? It’s a slippery slope, and one I’m not sure I can ascend on my own..