Monday, August 29, 2005


Perhaps I haven't read the Los Angeles Times in great detail lately but I was under the impression that its editorial page, which is now edited by liberal ex-Crossfire host Michael Kinsley, was, well, liberal. However much to my great surprise I found today's editorial on the airline industry a breath of pro-capitalist free-market air. Here are some relevant quote:
MORE THAN A QUARTER-CENTURY after the deregulation of the airline industry, the nation's most successful airline is inexcusably barred by the government from flying to Southern California from its home base.
Wait, it gets better:
[The restriction]costs California hundreds of millions of dollars in lost economic activity, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., which is lobbying for its repeal. It also illustrates a larger problem: government intervention that is hobbling the nation's dairline industry, which is projected to lose $5 billion this year. [emphasis added]
Admittedly not a moral argument but better than I've come to expect from the usually regulation supportive LA Times. The editorial continues:
Although the industry would be far healthier if some money-losing carriers simply folded, the federal government is overly protective of failing airlines. The abuse of bankruptcy laws, for example, is becoming routine in the industry — United now has been flying under Chapter 11 protection for nearly three years — but the government allows failing airlines to continue in operation without needing to pay all their bills.
And finally this:
Outdated restrictions on foreign ownership of U.S. airlines are another impediment to needed consolidation, investment and innovation. Northwest is showing welcome signs of surviving a strike by its mechanics union, but there still is a need for Congress to consider changes to the Railway Labor Act that would make airlines less hostage to big labor.[emphasis aded]
A liberal newspaper supporting changes in government support for the unions. Simply amazing! Of course, if it were up to me, all those acts placing the power of government force behind union, would be abolished, since they constitute an initiation of force against employers. Still, it's great to see that at least some free market principles seem to be less controversial in some previously less than favorable quarters.

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