Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Two for the price of one!

Here it is, folks; the day we've all been waiting for. Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines, both going bankrupt the same day!

I bet all those Northwest mechanics, striking from their $37/hour jobs, feel pretty stupid now. Yesterday they lost their jobs (Northwest began hiring permanent replacements) and today they will lose their pensions. Happy retirement job hunting!

Who would have predicted two of America's largest and best-known companies would become penny-stocks?

Plenty of people. At this point it is clear that the US aviation industry is an unmitigated disaster. United Airlines. US Airways. Delta. Northwest. Our biggest air carriers are completely and universally unable to turn a profit. Nor is this a recent phenomenon brought on by rising fuel costs, Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq, or the September 11 attacks. For decades, the airlines have been playing this game, blaming external events for their failure and getting bailed out by the US government.

There are two solutions for this problem. One is to nationalize US aviation. The other is to let the free market run its course. No more bail-outs. No more emergency federal loans. If an airline can't turn a profit, they go out of business. Anything less will just prolong the problem, and increase the cost taxpayers must eventually bear.

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