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