Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Benevolent Government Saves Airline Passengers From Evil Capitalists ! ! ! !

This is from CNN, reporting on how the government is preventing those mean ol' airlines from keeping you stranded on the runway....

Washington (CNN) -- In what one advocate called "a Christmas miracle for airline passengers," the Department of Transportation on Monday announced a rule prohibiting U.S. aircraft on domestic routes from remaining on a tarmac for more than three hours with travelers aboard.

"Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

That sounds good, doesn't it? One of the instances where we would want government to intervene. But hold on a minute....
This is from a book by Michael Cloud. This little essay is entitled "How Government Blames Business". I just happened to read this last night.

Our United Airlines flight had been sitting on the runway for 40
minutes. Boston's Logan Airport is notorious for delays. The people
behind me and in front of me were grumbling.

"I hate these *$*%+*#*! airlines," said the guy behind me.

"They ought to do something about these fat cats," said a man across
the aisle.

"The Government ought to do something about it," said the woman in
front of me.

While pretending to talk to the person next to me, I spoke loud enough
to be heard 4 rows back, and 4 rows up:

"There must be 10 times as many flights today as there were 22 years
ago, before we deregulated the airlines. Probably 10 times as many
airplanes in the skies. Free enterprise builds the planes and puts
them in the air.

"But Big Government runs the airports. Big Government controls the air
traffic. Are there 10 times as many airports as there were 22 years
ago, when we deregulated the airlines? Are there 10 times as many
gates at the government-run airports? Are there 10 times as many air
traffic controllers?

"Government's causing this bottleneck. Free enterprise is generous
with airplanes, but Government is stingy with airports, gates and air
traffic controllers.

"Then Government plays the Frame and Blame Game against the airlines.
Government tells us it's United's fault. Or Delta's. Or American
Airlines'. The airlines have solved their part of the problem: getting
us planes and getting us seats. But Government can't deliver the
airports, the gates or the air traffic controllers needed to fly us
safely and on time. We're stuck on this runway because of
Government-created scarcity.

"What do you think?" I asked the person I pretended to be talking to
privately... while making a statement to the people around me.

"Gee, I've never really thought about it," he said. "But you know, the
Government hasn't made Logan Airport much bigger in the last 20 years.
It's kind of like the Big Dig, isn't it?" [The Big Dig is a typical
Government highway project in Boston: way over budget, late and a

The people in the seats in front of and behind me started discussing
who caused the delays in our flight. These Massachusetts flyers openly
discussed how much Government was at fault.

Here's the Big Government Frame and Blame Game:

First, government frames business for the crime. They frame free
enterprise for causing the problems created by government. Then they
blame business and free enterprise for the consequences.

For example, government frames responsible gun manufacturers for gun
crimes. Then government blames the guns for the violence caused by the
Drug War. Gun violence has doubled since the War on Drugs. Need
another example? Compare gun violence during Alcohol Prohibition to
gun violence before and after Prohibition.

Government frames and blames HMOs. But the government created HMOs in
1974 and mandated their use in the early 1980's. Further, government
spends 52 cents out of every health care dollar in America and
regulates 100% of all health care services. Health care is the most
heavily regulated industry in America.

Yet in 1999, the Amherst, Massachusetts Town Government passed a
resolution to "end the free market carnage in health care." And the US
Congress regularly subpoenas and interrogates health care providers in
front of television cameras... blaming HMOs for the crimes of

Libertarians need to think through and explain the following:
* How does Government increase the cost of the business you're
* How does Government regulation create scarcity and reduce consumer
* How does Government red tape drive small businesses out of
* How does Government increase the cost of everything you buy?
Taxes, restrictions, zoning, unfunded mandates... and what else?
* How does Government slow down service and reduce staffing?
* How does Government cause or contribute to the very problems they
blame business for?

To be effective, we must be well-informed. We need to read books like:
The Great Libertarian Offer and Why Government Doesn't Work by Harry
Browne; Freedom in Chains and The Fair Trade Fraud by James Bovard;
Losing Ground and What it Means to be Libertarian by Charles Murray.

As Huxley said, "A beautiful theory, slain by a gang of facts." The
facts are friendly to Freedom.

Sometimes no persuasion is necessary. We merely need to inform and

To show how, where and why Government has caused certain problems, or
made them worse.

Sometimes all you need is a captive audience, a voice that carries,
and a few thought-provoking facts and explanations.
It's funny how the perspective changes, isn't it?


Dr Ralph said...

Your faith in Big Business looking out for our interests is really very touching, and I'm sure they appreciate it. Do you still believe in Santa Claus, too?

RDCushing said...

Dr. Ralph:

Rather than berating what was written, why don't you just supply a cogent argument that suggests that the problem is with the free market and not with the government's management of airports and air space?

Oh, never mind! I remember now. Leftists gave up trying to argue rationally against free market economics about 15o years ago. Now they just rely on character assassination and attacks against the persons who do not support their ambitions.

I'm sorry. I never should have asked. Chalk it up to old age.


Dr Ralph said...

RDCushing: you consider what I wrote "berating?"

I said less about the holy Free Market than I did Big Business, which (based on my observation) is quick to flip between wanting to be regulated and unregulated, depending on which best suits their strategy at any given time. Even our mutual host, the Whited Sepulchre will acknowledge that not all businesses see a free market as serving their interests all the time, especially when it introduces competition.

As to character assassination, you label me a "leftist" based on what evidence? Given the fact you know even less about me than I do about you, that's rather surprising.

Do you automatically assume anyone who disagrees with your views *must* be a "leftist" (whatever the hell you think that means).

RDCushing said...

Dr. Ralph:

Okay, I confess, I jumped to the conclusion that you were a Leftist based on the absence of a cogent argument in response to what was presented in the original post.

I'm sorry for making that leap of logic. I could be wrong. There could be other reasons.

So, I'm still awaiting your cogent argument showing clearly how the free market (or "Big Business"), as opposed to "Big Government," is the culprit here.


Dr Ralph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr Ralph said...

Cogent argument?


This is so straightforward I can't believe I'm even bothering to reply.

We have a new regulation now because another business (in this case the airlines) has yet again shown it has to be forced to do something that by all logic they should have done without being told in the first place.

All that jazz about the Gummit running the airports, and whose fault it is: bullshit and blame shifting. The airlines are the ones with the planes sitting on the tarmac, no matter who owns, runs, leases or controls that tarmac. Wrapping this up into some anti-government rant is horseshit.

If in your view forcing people to be trapped on a runway in a sealed metal tube for an indefinite period of time without remedy supports a free market, you've made a better argument against the free market than I ever could.

Dr Ralph said...

PS -- Are you familiar with the phrase "Please Don't Eat the Daisies?"

I think it is applicable in this situation.

RDCushing said...

Dr. Ralph:

I do appreciate your enlightening us all through your brilliant and unassailable argumentation.

Until next time....


Dr Ralph said...

RDCushing: thank you for your kind and sincere words of encouragement.

I look forward to more such enlightening exchanges in the future.

My best to you and your family over the Christmas holidays.

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

I just remember a film called "Don't Eat the Daisies" with Doris Day being on TV when I was a kid. I loved Doris Day so much... my first crush. But I didn't know what the phrase meant... only that Doris Day was smokin' hot.

Secondly, it's a combo Big Bidness + Gummint problem. They both fuel inefficiencies when they work together and both trample rights and both do not serve their constituents/customers... There are a few big bidnesses and a few instances of gummint working to the benefit of us 'end users'... but when they work together, we almost assuredly get sitches like people sitting on tarmacs for 4 hours (I've been there several times!!!!)...

The Whited Sepulchre said...

(Sigh.... I go away for 24 hours and this breaks out.)

Ok, imagine that you work in the airline industry, and you're desperate to keep customers. You spend jillions per year, trying to attract customers.

Do you keep customers cooped up on the runway because:

1) Doing so gives customers a warm, fuzzy feeling about your airline, and makes them want to fly with you again?

2) Because spending an extra three hours with your inflight junk catalog increases sales of stuff?

3) Because this generates overtime for pilots and stewardesses, creating and saving one job per flight ?

or could it possibly be because

4) The government runs the system?

Whether or not people should be allowed to get off the plane is not the point of this post.

The point is, who or what is to blame when the the planes delayed?

Dr Ralph said...

What? You expect us to respond to what *you* think is the point of the post?

What happened to:

I own me.
You own you.

AMIT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Whited Sepulchre said...

Ok, the floor is open to any and all topics.

How 'bout them Cowboys!

I think it's gonna rain.

Here's one other....thank God the hard-working regulators, elves and munchkins with Janet Napolitano's Department Of Homeland Security were on the job and prevented a terrorist from blowing up another airliner. Oh....wait a minute....

How 'bout them Cowboys ! ! !