In post-World War II America, the role of the federal government in subsidizing research and development had become almost an article of faith. The debate over the supersonic transport (SST) airplane, which in its early stages was centered on questions of technology, soon encompassed many more issues, from the environmental to the defense related. The Boeing Company was, in a sense, bred and spoon-fed on government contracts. From the start, it has been a creature of corporate subsidy. Boeing was founded by a wealthy young Yale dropout named William E. Boeing, who left his native Midwest in the early twentieth century to seek his fortune in the Pacific Northwest. Thus the Boeing Airplane Company, as the firm was known by 1918, solicited government contracts from almost the very moment of its birth. In fact, the very next year, 1919, Boeing "had an office in Washington, DC, seeking airplane contracts with the Navy".